Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Next Step

For those of you who don't know, I am moving to Colorado tomorrow (I currently live in Missouri). I graduated with a degree in music technology last fall and have been living with my sister and working at a bank for the past eight months. Now, I'm someone who loves school. So, I took a few extra classes, spent a little extra time, started college when I was sixteen and with a year off, finished when I was 23 with over 200 credit hours. Now that I'm done I just keep asking the question: Now what?

I try to keep a level head and keep reminding myself that I cannot predict the future. I just have to find the next step. So I went backwards. Why did I go into music in the first place? Sure, my sister and I thought we would be this Christian-pop-sister-duet sensation so we did little concerts and recorded albums and wrote music and waited in anticipation for the Dove Awards each year. That was fun for a while but it eventually sizzled out. I really didn't enjoy performing and I've never enjoyed words. I can never say what I want to with words. The songs I wrote were never enough and I was never satisfied. Then a glorious thing happened. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings was released in theaters... and my sister bought the soundtrack. Here it was! The answer to my problem! Let the actors speak the words, I'll create the music behind them that gives them meaning and connection and beauty! Sure I had heard classical music before, and I always made up stories to go along with any piece I played for piano lessons, but it wasn't until I heard that soundtrack that I realized how much music can inspire one's emotions. It was then I decided that I wanted to write film scores.

My life has been dictated by fear. My college choice is one example. Instead of working hard and going to school for composition, I decided I would go for a back-up plan. "Annie," I said, "it's really hard to become a film composer. Why don't you learn how to do something behind the scenes so you can still work with film scores even if you can't make it as a composer." I went to school for music technology and was very open with everyone, this is my back-up plan. I just want to work with film scores and if producing is all I can do, I'll love it. Tech really isn't my thing though. It fascinates me and I'm glad to have the skills because I'm sure they'll come in handy one day, but it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life. Once my degree was wrapping up, I started thinking, ok, what next? Composing? "No, no, no," I said. "We'll save that for last. Let's look for a second back-up plan. If I can't compose, I can produce. But if I can't produce, I can play in the orchestra." So I started working towards getting my master's in percussion performance. I applied, I auditioned, and I didn't make it in. Maybe it was nerves, but I really think it was God who made my auditions the worst I've ever played in my life. So I went back home, found a boring job, and did nothing.

A cold November slides into bitter December and I'm now one year older. Listening to the hundreds of film scores on my iTunes, I think, "I'm gonna compose film scores one day." One day. One day?? I've been saying that for nine years and what have I done for it? Nothing. The answer is completely nothing. So I start composing again. Just a little bit every day. I start praying for guidance. I start going to daily mass, talking with friends, and looking for possibilities. But I feel suffocated here. I feel stuck. I feel like life is way too easy right now and I have no drive and no fear to get me off my butt and really work towards something. What's wrong with living a slow life, living with friends or family, working a silly job, eventually get married and that's that? I need to force myself out of my comfort zone. I don't want to get stuck! I want one day to be today. Why not? What's holding me back? Fear? Not anymore.

There are a couple of great film score programs out there, but they're way to expensive. Besides, I don't have a big enough portfolio to even be considered yet. So what's another option? I have an aunt in Myrtle Beach and friend in Colorado. Both of which I can live with until I get settled in my new place. Both have great the 'great outdoors' for inspiration and solitude. In the end, I decide to go for Colorado. I love the mountains, I love the rivers, I love the atmosphere, and there are so many opportunities. CU is close by with some fabulous composition and percussion faculty (I'm still in love with percussion, but mainly just for myself to enjoy; I'm not still not too fond of performing) and there are lots of great connections to be made in Colorado.

So there it is. My next step. It's probably the scariest thing I've done in my life. I still can't predict the future. I have no clue if I'll be crawling back home in just a few short months, unable to keep afloat. Maybe I'll get there and realize I don't have to be a composer, I'd rather be a ski instructor. Although I doubt that last one, nothing is impossible and only God knows what's in store for me. But if I don't go and see what I can make of it, I will end up at another birthday with the same feeling, the same thought. Where has the time gone? What have I done with all that God has given me? Every minute, every breath, is precious. Do what you want to do and don't let anyone, especially fear, hold you back.


  1. Keep that last sentence in mind, always. And don't worry about tomorrow, always think about what you can control today. :o)

  2. i am so proud of you. and happy for you, regardless of the fact that i miss you so much already. you are doing what needs to be done. and you are doing it well.

  3. AMEN! I'm proud to be your friend Annie! I can't wait to see what amazing things are before you :)