Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Music City

Today I woke up at 8:00 AM, and headed to breakfast at 9:00 AM. We had SOFT time from 10-12, and various church services were offered. During SOFT time, I decided to go to the gym. After the gym, I took a shower, and attempted to do laundry. There were 10 people in line, so I decided to do it later in the week when it is less busy. After lunch, we went on a tour of downtown Nashville. Instead of being lead by a tour guide, it was text passed. A website told you were to go, and had a question for you to answer at each destination that had to be answered before moving on. This also turned out to be a house point competition, as each completed task was worth points. As far was we know, our proctor group got the most points. There were lots of sights to see, from a globe supported by running water, to boot stores to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville really is the Music City. At almost every bar and restaurant, there were live performances. There were also many guitarists performing in the streets. After the tour ended, we got ice cream at "Mike's Ice Cream," the oldest running ice cream shop and expresso bar in Nashville.
The globe, supported only by running water.
The Country Music Hall of Fame Building. Do you see the piano keyboard design? (It's upside-down.)
Once we got back, we had free time until dinner, so we played cards. Dinner was excellent today. There was rice, stir fry chicken, stir fry vegetables, and delicious vegetable egg rolls. After dinner, the proctors hosted three informations sessions. They were entitled "First-year Adjustments," "Institutional Diversity," and "Beyond the B.S." (Graduate School). We had a two hour time frame, and each seminar was an hour, so we got to attend two. I went to "Beyond the B.S." first. The seminar was run by Jennifer Pitts, who used to work in graduate admissions at Vanderbilt. She explained what types of graduate degrees are out there, and what jobs each degree prepares you for. I did not enjoy it as it did not pertain to me: She did not even say the word engineering once during her hour presentation. Her presentation was mainly focused on becoming a doctor/nurse, becoming a lawyer, or getting a Master's Degree in something like Public Health or Social Work. 

I enjoyed the second seminar much more (First-Year Adjustments). This was really just a big question and answer session, but what really interested me was that one of the proctors, Kathleen, is double majoring in Bassoon Performance and Biomedical Engineering. For those who don't know, Vanderbilt has four undergraduate schools: the School of Engineering, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Blair School of Music. The fact that Vanderbilt offers music and engineering is very appealing to me. In high school, I have and continue to have problems balancing band and engineering courses, as I want to pursue both. I first heard about double majoring in music and something else from Dawson, but now that I have talked with a current student who double majoring in engineering and music, I definitely want to go to Vanderbilt. When I talked with Dawson, I thought it was cool, but I did not know how feasible it was, but now that I have talked with a current student about it, I really want to do it. The info session was pretty standard. People asked about sports, clubs, Greek life, the hardest part about transitioning, etc. Since my questions were very specific, and could only be answered by one of the six proctors, I asked her after the session ended. 

My main concern about double majoring in Music Performance and Civil Engineering is the amount of time left over to practice. Kathleen told me she barely practices, and her professor is ok with that, but there are much stricter professors. I got the impression that like everyone who plays music, she could find more time to practice, but does not. Every musician I know is guilty of this. I also asked about the application process, and how hard it is to get in. She told me that you submit a regular application, but that you also have to audition or send in an audition tape, with the specific pieces they ask for. She also said that I should definitely apply through Blair, because it is the "Backdoor into Vanderbilt." She says she would not have gotten in to Vanderbilt without going through Blair, and that once you are in Blair, you can pick up a second major and/or minor(s). Blair is easier to get into, because they are looking for very specific people. Lots of people want to become engineers, but only a handful want a degree in music performance.

After talking with Kathleen, I want really want to go to Vanderbilt to double major in Civil Engineering and Piano or Saxophone Performance. (I have not decided on which instrument yet, but I'm leaning toward piano right now.) That way I can continue to pursue music, but still be employable in at the same time. (Musicians don't get paid much, but engineers do.) Vanderbilt offers a wide variety of Engineering Majors (more that UPenn,) so I can easily change my engineering field and stay at Vanderbilt. All of the proctors also mentioned that Vanderbilt is a good balance between academics and leisure. The classes are hard, but not cut-throat like other universities, and there are plenty of activities/events to give you a break from school work. They say Vanderbilt has a strong sense of community, and I believe them. I have felt this throughout VSA, and I've only been here a week. I also like the location. It is also located in the Music City, and Blair helps you find gigs nearby to earn some money. I also like being in a city, so you have easy access to restaurants, stores, museums etc., without having to drive far, if at all.

Tomorrow we are back to a regular class schedule. I have no idea what Dawson will teach us this week, but I assume it will be a new topic. I also start a new Arête class tomorrow (Martial Arts.) Read more tomorrow to find out...

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