Lessons From A Class Outside Your Major
If you haven’t had to already, eventually you will have to take a class or classes to fulfill a degree requirement that is outside your major. For example, I’m a communication major and currently I’m taking a classical music class.
I’ll tell you up front, I can’t sing, I don’t play any instruments besides a little drums, and I’m not planning on going into any career involving music anytime soon.
I do, however, have to obtain credits for fine arts. Since my artistic ability is far worse than that of my musical abilities, I decided to take a classical music course. But I didn’t know what to think.
I figured, as most people my age would, that this was going to be a boring class about music that’s before my time and I wasn’t going to get much out of it. But as it turns out, and this is going to be a shock to my generation, it actually IS possible to gain satisfaction purely from learning new things and gaining more knowledge.
Obviously, whether I enjoy the class or not, I’m going to have to pass it to fulfill the degree requirements, so I might as well try to get something positive out of it.
Once I understood this, something strange happened. The class suddenly wasn’t so boring.
I’ve learned that almost all of the music we listen to today is derived from Western European Art Music, or WEAM, as my professor calls it. Basically, what that means is that we wouldn’t have all of today’s popular genres of music, such as rock, pop, hip-hop and country, if it weren’t for WEAM and the composers of its time (roughly 1550-1900) such as Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and many more.
These old guys composed pieces dealing with themes not so different from those we see in music and movies today, themes like love, life, death, sex and violence. Maybe their thoughts and emotions weren’t so far off from those we have today.
My point is, you will eventually have to take a class you don’t necessarily want to take. When that time comes, I’d encourage you to not just make it through the class but to try to actually absorb some information. You might be surprised at what you learn.
My dad always used to say, “You can learn something from everyone.” While you may think you don’t care about the information, it’s there, and information leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to wisdom. And we all want to be wise someday, right?