In the immortal words of Freddie Mercury "And bad mistakes ‒ I've made a few." I don't have many regrets but I have a few. Most of my regrets are relational - if I'd only loved harder or if I had put more into it, then maybe.... I still think I can step up my game with my friends and family even today.
This post is, however, about a regret that is completely out of my control but it haunts me often. What's in it for you the reader? I hope that I can share this and it will help someone change course or at least cause someone to be grateful that there was someone in their life that invested in them. Let me expalin.
Ready? Here it is.
I never knew that I could have gone to school to learn music.
Sounds silly and ignorant but let me explain.
I was raised mostly by a single mother who worked sixteen hour shifts just to keep a roof over our heads (and sometimes she failed at that). So there was never talk about me going to college except if she was overwhelmed, stressed and angry and told me she "… shure as hell wasn't paying for it." So I never imagined myself going to school after high school. Even during my high school years, when a teacher or counselor would mention college they would only talk about engineering degrees, law degrees or medical school never a mention that a person could go for music.
To top it all off the time I spent in high school was hell on earth. Depending on the year I had little to no friends was constantly being picked on and bullied, all to the point of near suicide. Why would I ever want to experience three or four more years of that - all the while having to PAY to do it? So as soon as I turned sixteen I dropped out and got a job.
Here's my point. If I had known that I could have gone to school to learn to play a musical instrument and/or sing - I would have persevered. I would have applied myself and made better grades, I would have dealt with the little assholes that pushed me around - just a little longer. I would have worked closer with my counselors to ensure that I was taking the right classes - I would have given a shit. Why? Because making music is all I have ever wanted and all I have been able to think about for as long as I can remember. Are you kidding me? I could have gone to school and the majority of my classes could have delt with the intricacies and theories of music? Oh how my life could have been different.
If someone in your family or in your circle of friends has a child that shows an interest in music, make sure they know that they CAN go to college and there are many programs that can get them there. Don’t assume that they know, give them a nudge, a glimmer of hope. Kids from middle class and lower class families sometimes they spend their entire childhood without the subject of college even spoken about in the home. No one is telling kids about the myriad of programs that can help them through college beyond the loan process. Every kid needs a champion!
Also, if you are one of the lucky ones who got to go go to a music school or whose family could afford lessons - please take a moment and thank whoever it was that got you there - don’t take it for granted.
I got the following statistics from Tarpley Music Co.
77% of Teachers, and 64% of Parents say access to music and arts education is "extremley" or "very" important.
71% of Americans say that music education equips people to display enhanced comunication, problem solving, creativity, and leadership skills in their careers.
80% of Americans believe that thier music education has contributed to their level of personal fulfilment.
But it's all for nothing if there are kids out there that don't know that it's a possibilty.