ruhroh_raggy

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Hey, all, I'm about to start M1 (orientation this week! :eek: ). I consider myself to be a pretty serious musician: classically trained soprano, did tons of solo/arranging/direction stuff in college, and hoping to teach myself the basics of piano/songwriting. Although I have no doubt that medicine is what I want the most, there's always a tiny part of me that wonders if I would have been just as happy as a music major. It's inevitable when you have two passions that don't overlap, one of them has to take priority careerwise and the latter will be put on the backburner to some degree, and I'm wondering if this frustrates anyone else out there.

The auditioned chamber choir at my school will conflict too much with my schedule, and while I'd rather join the all-university chorus than nothing at all, I'm worried that the level of music will just drive me crazy. Thankfully I've also got a smaller church choir that I will greatly enjoy. I know a couple of potential voice teachers and while I can make time to practice and sharpen my skills, I wonder to what extent I'll ever actually get to use them. It doesn't help that my boyfriend is a voice performance major and is continually getting involved in things that I'd never have the time for, though I'd have the talent (NOT trying to sound arrogant, btw). I'm aware that this is something I'll have to lay aside for a while and that medicine is well worth it for me, but it's still a bit hard sometimes since I'm exposed to the music world more than normal. I know how to handle the issue and I'm sure that once school kicks in I'll hardly have time to think about it; I'm just looking for a little commiseration. Does anyone else struggle with this, or am I just freaking out over nothing?

---------------------------------
Emory University School of Medicine Class of 2010
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Sondra

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I understand. My boyfriend is an oceanographer/marine biologist who travels the world doing dive research and spending time aboard research vessels with exotic destinations. I love being on a boat and doing research, and I may never get the opportunity to do it again now that undergrad is over :(
 

Colba55o

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Hey I'm a rising M2 at emory and there are more than a few serious musicians in our class so I know what your talking about. As an accomplished singer I can't say you won't be bored by the university chorus, but like you said it is better than nothing and it only meets once a week I think.
I' along with another M1 (both string players) did the university orchestra this past year. It was challenging, I thought to fit it into my schedule but I did what I had to. Med school will take up a lot of your time, but you will also def have free time to devote to singing. I just found that I had to be more productive when I practiced, (ie not wasting time playing pieces straight through for fun)
Ultimately a lot of us have passions in non-medical pursuits that we can't devote as much time to as we could before starting school. But don't worry, you will be able to keep doing those things, and they will be esp important as a break from all the studying.


ruhroh_raggy said:
Hey, all, I'm about to start M1 (orientation this week! :eek: ). I consider myself to be a pretty serious musician: classically trained soprano, did tons of solo/arranging/direction stuff in college, and hoping to teach myself the basics of piano/songwriting. Although I have no doubt that medicine is what I want the most, there's always a tiny part of me that wonders if I would have been just as happy as a music major. It's inevitable when you have two passions that don't overlap, one of them has to take priority careerwise and the latter will be put on the backburner to some degree, and I'm wondering if this frustrates anyone else out there.

The auditioned chamber choir at my school will conflict too much with my schedule, and while I'd rather join the all-university chorus than nothing at all, I'm worried that the level of music will just drive me crazy. Thankfully I've also got a smaller church choir that I will greatly enjoy. I know a couple of potential voice teachers and while I can make time to practice and sharpen my skills, I wonder to what extent I'll ever actually get to use them. It doesn't help that my boyfriend is a voice performance major and is continually getting involved in things that I'd never have the time for, though I'd have the talent (NOT trying to sound arrogant, btw). I'm aware that this is something I'll have to lay aside for a while and that medicine is well worth it for me, but it's still a bit hard sometimes since I'm exposed to the music world more than normal. I know how to handle the issue and I'm sure that once school kicks in I'll hardly have time to think about it; I'm just looking for a little commiseration. Does anyone else struggle with this, or am I just freaking out over nothing?

---------------------------------
Emory University School of Medicine Class of 2010
:D :D :D
 

Ezekiel20

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There is a guy in my class who is in his late 30s.

He was a professional musician for 20 years, and then decided to pursue his other dream.

He is doing extremely well, and sometimes I wonder how he manages to squeeze in study among his kids and family.

There is a disproportinate number of doctors who are amateur musicians. There's probably a good explanation for that - maybe playing music makes you smarter?? :)
 

G'ville Nole

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Ezekiel20 said:
There is a guy in my class who is in his late 30s.

He was a professional musician for 20 years, and then decided to pursue his other dream.

He is doing extremely well, and sometimes I wonder how he manages to squeeze in study among his kids and family.

There is a disproportinate number of doctors who are amateur musicians. There's probably a good explanation for that - maybe playing music makes you smarter?? :)
My own story is very similar; I started school as a music major, and played professionally for 10 years. To answer the OP (and echo Colba), it's definitely possible to keep pursuing music as a hobby in med school. Depending on how well you are able to manage your time, you can likely do so in an organized group. That will go by the boards once clinical rotations have started, obviously, but it should remain possible to find some outlet for your music.

Remember, med school IS a huge commitment, but it need not (and SHOULD not) be all-consuming. The folks who usually are the most well-adjusted are the ones who attain a good balance with other interests outside of medicine.
 

CoolCucumber3

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Yeah a lot of medical students are musical geniuses. Playing or composing music uses the same part of the brain and logic that you need to become a successful doctor, lawyer, scientist, engineer, or computer programmer. There are many correlations and also, men and women process musical information differently, which is why most men like hard rock or aggressive rap more than women (but not true for me). I have always wanted to be a female rock star myself :horns: but it looks like the hot, sexy brain surgeon thing is gonna come first :D
 

OddNath

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I think the transition was easier for me since I quit piano right after high school, so I've had time to get used to not being a serious musician anymore.

It was my life, my identity, my every free moment, everything. Practicing, competing, rehearsals with orchestras, performing concertos (I guess all in that order), but then I realized that all the focus on competition was cheapening the value of the music for me, and that my identity [subconsciously] depended on me having to be better than other people at something, which just didn't seem like the way I wanted to live life. So I quit, had fun in college, and am still finding ways to keep active in my life the introspection that comes from a long afternoon analyzing a passage.

There was quite a bit of withdrawl, and it is frustrating now when I'm not physically able to play pieces from 10 years ago. But I think the clean break worked for me b/c 1) it forced me to forge an identity based on my personality and outlook on life (and not the pettier aspects of competing), and 2) like the OP, I didn't want to spend time with projects at a lower quality of playing. Like it didn't help when my mom would tell me "oh you can always come home and teach piano here." I guess I kind of had an all-or-nothing way of dealing with this.

But if you'd like to keep up your skills and stay involved in some repetoire that you're passionate about, you could probably find a serious pianist in your class (or somewhere else) who you could sing with and work on some quality pieces. And take lessons whenever you have time. It is frustrating to not have time to be a part of awesome projects that you're totally qualified to do (and that your boyfriend tells you all about), but hell, the trade-off is that you get an MD. And a fulfilling career that keeps going even after your vocal prime is long gone. You'll have been a part of the best of 2 very different worlds during your lifetime, which alot of people never get to do.
 

Brickhouse

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I sympathize OP - I was incredibly involved in music in college and when I came to med school I tried to get involved with the campus symphonic band and was disappointed since their level of performance was so much below what I was used to with my college wind ensemble. My one outlet was playing in the med school follies last spring, but still it wasn't the same. I think I may never be able to play with a group of serious and talented musicians ever again. I have found the med school experience to evoke similar feelings of comraderie however that I experienced as an ensemble musician, maybe you will feel the same.
 

Nerdoscience

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I am a violinist, and really had no outlet for playing. Then, I joined a med school jazz band. I even bought an electric violin. Being a med school thing, everyone understood if you couldn't make rehearsal because you were on call, or you had a test the next day. Now, I'm not saying that we were very good. And yes, that was frustrating at times. But it was way better than nothing.

I recommend making time for music in some way. Figure out what works for you. It's not like you'll have time to do everything you want to in both music and medicine, but you will really get a lot out of nurturing your other interests.
 

lobster M.D.

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i consider music/music playing a very important part of my life, but with med school, i have decided to focus mainly on music listening, its been very satisfying, sold my instruments and dj equipment for fantastic stereo equipment and i dont regret it at all, i miss playing the piano occassionally, but it really does take a constant practice and many hours to maintain and excel skill, so by focusing on the listening, when i am not studying it is much more relaxing and i have found the same amount of joy through music, granted it has cost me several thousand dollars
 

somewhere2010

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i can totally relate to you guys! music and medicine/science have been my two random passions throughout life. played piano since age 6, studied through college, gave recitals...and been singing in choirs since i was 10, now professionally. i knew i could do music on the side while being a doctor but clearly not the other way around...but it's still hard sometimes to push my musical life more into the background.

my solution: during my 2 years off after college, i invested in a clavinova-type piano (basically a piano/keyboard hybrid) that i'll be taking to school with me. it's got headphones, so i can play loud crazy stuff and not bother anyone! i'm hoping to find some accompanying opportunities in NYC as well. as for singing, there are like 394857348 choirs in the city, and most churches pay a pretty penny for a good experienced choral member. fellow singers: don't rule this out as an option! it can be very fulfilling and help fund your social life :)
 

SwineLake98

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People don't believe me when I tell them that med school vs. persuing theatre was actually a really difficult decision.
I feel like I have 2 incompatible halves of myself -- the part of me that loves talking about research but also being around the clinic and the part that loves singing/dancing/acting and is obessed with musical theatre.
A lot of the decison had to do with witch career path better suits my personality, and a lot of times I feel like I'm taking the safe way out. As pysched as I am to finally be a med student, not having time to perform is my what is upessing me most about starting. I'm keeping up with one of my dance classes for sure even when the semester begins, and I'm actually in a play right now. I'm aslo giving myself one night a week to hang out with my theatre friends to help me keep my sanity...I'm not discounting a breakdown at some point, however!
I'll never be too old to sing and act. There will still be opportunities in out there when I'm done with my training.
 

avenue

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I understand what you're saying also. I've been into music production for a while (about 5 years). I applied to medical school this year, so I decided to stop producing/composing. I've been 'sober' for 8 months now. But I'm going to start back, because its a stress reliever and keeps me thinking. This 8 month period has taught me how to control myself.

Ave.
 

flipflopsnsnow

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Continue singing!!
I too had similar experiences. I have sang in all sorts of choirs since I was little. The year before medical school I sang with this amazing choir, so my standards were pretty high when looking for another one. I ended up finding a choir that was close by, and the schedule was "convenient." But I ended up never really wanting to go to rehearsal, and not having the same enjoyment that I had always had when singing.
I then did a mad search on the internet for choirs. I found one that sounded like it would be a big time commitment and I was worried, but a friend encouraged me just to go check it out. I did, and joined a professional women's choir that is amazing, full of smart and talented women, is challenging, and it has been the best thing for me. I even had time to join the executive board as the VP of fundraising and organized a silent auction for one of the concerts.
Yes, sometimes rehearsals come at not the best times, but really medical school is less of a cramming-type of learning and studying, its quite difficult to have big conflicts.

My advice: CHOOSE THE ONE CHOIR THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY. Even if it keeps you busy, its okay, you'll find that you need to be doing something other than medical school and it feels good to work hard at something other than science every so often.

Medicine and medical school does require you to make some sacrifices in life, but it shouldnt require you to give up on another passion of yours!!!

Best of luck!!! ;)