Bach to Health

I once heard Harold Best, for many years the Dean of Music at Wheaton College, say “a degree in music is the best preparation for anything.”  There is often a lot of legitimate hand-wringing and sleepless nights experienced by would-be music majors and their parents.  Same thing applies to theater majors and anyone else in the arts.  (Or Classical Studies or English Literature or you name it.)

A long time ago, I read that over 70% of people end up having a career in something other than their major in college.  It was in an article by a syndicated columnist, so I can probably track it down (although it was pre-interwebs).  The statistics would be easy to find.  It was the columnists advice:  study what you find most intellectually stimulating.

These thoughts are prompted by my recent discovery (via Google Alerts) of cellist and emergency-medicine physician Eric Roter (“E.R.”), who attended both Juilliard and the  Manhattan School of Music.  He’s made videos of himself playing all 36 movements of the Bach Suites as a fundraising project for various medical charities. He calls it the Bach to Health project.

My advice to young people with artistic talent and passion who are worried about making a living is this:  get the best training you can.  Commit yourself to using your artistic abilities to making a difference in the world.  You may or may not make your living (or all of it, anyway) from a traditional job in that field.  How many full-time cello jobs are there?  (Even fewer if you play, say, the oboe, as a friend with one of the few full0time oboe symphony jobs pointed out to me the other night.)

But who cares?  I don’t think “E.R.” sees his years studying the cello as a waste of time.  They prepared him not just to play the cello, but also to be the person he is.



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3 responses to “Bach to Health

  1. Pingback: Sound Advice at oboeinsight

  2. Pingback: “A degree in music is the best preparation for anything.” | Eric Edberg

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