The College Papers: Musical Experience Essay

It’s hard to fathom five months have passed since I published my last post on this site. In some ways, it feels like five days; in other ways…well, as I told a friend recently, “It’s been a long year this week.”

The past few months have been filled with many personal changes, some fantastic, others gut-wrenchingly awful. In the “fantastic” category, I count my return to the realm of higher education. After a 10.5 year college hiatus, I am officially a college junior at the University of Southern Mississippi, pursuing a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies with a combined concentration in religion and philosophy. The first semester is in the can, and I am ecstatic to announce I finished with a 4.0 GPA and a 99.89 average score. 

Since I spent much time these past months writing papers for school, I’ve decided to slay two avians with one small, dense, portable geological formation and publish my college writings on this site. Not all of the works lend themselves to general reading (for instance, I’ll spare you the Legal Drafting binder full of mock case documents based on the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme, although I found them a blast to write), but other writings, such as those I completed for The Enjoyment of Music, will fit nicely here. I may also pull a few projects from Human-Computer Interaction, as I’m a bit of tech nerd at heart (and actually hold an associate’s in computer technology).  

Without further ceremony….


 

Course: MUS 165 Enjoyment of Music.

Instructor: Professor Reyelt

Date: January 20, 2021

Score: 100

Music Experience Short Essay.

Some of my earliest memories involve listening to music. Between the ages three and five, I spent many hours per week riding in the back seat of our giant family van listening to the likes of Elvis, Roy Orbison, and The Everly Brothers. I knew if someone would “just give me a guitar,” I could play like Chuck Berry. It took another nine years to convince my parents of that, but they eventually made the right call, buying me my first six-string. 

As a child, I was also exposed to a plethora of classical, jazz, folk, and show tunes through classic television and film. As a young teen, I took a deep dive into rock, exploring the genre from the late ’60s through then-current 2000s. My favorite artist became John Fogerty, and my favorite song “Long As I Can See the Light.” Armed with this musically diverse upbringing, I started making a serious effort at songwriting at age seventeen and began building a catalog of original material.

Although my desire was to make a living in the entertainment industry, ultimately, I opted to pursue a non-art degree and career. Five years and multiple health issues later, I decided to quit the day job and “chase the dream” of being a singer/songwriter.

Over the next five years, I was able to cross a few things off my musician bucket list. My sophomore record charted in the Top 100 of an iTunes chart. My music received press coverage in three countries and two continents. I had the privilege of opening for two top Nashville acts and appearing on television, radio, and web. I performed from the Alabama line to the Delta and became a voting member of The Recording Academy. I also garnered airplay on commercial terrestrial radio, the indie artist “Holy Grail.” 

But continuing health issues and the rise of other personal opportunities prompted me to take an extended hiatus from “the biz” in 2016. Since semi-retiring, however, I’ve continued to find musical success. One of my 2019 releases of remixed songs won EP of the Year at the 2020 Josie Music Awards, and I was also asked to provide a new original song for an upcoming independent film—a tune I recently previewed live on statewide radio network Supertalk Mississippi. I also have fun blogging about music on my artist website.

Today, I listen to music (usually my “All-time Favorite Oldies” playlist) whenever I have a chance, and I enjoy introducing songs to my children. Although I have yet to (and may never) achieve fame and fortune in the music industry, I continue to write songs, and at this point, I am simply grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and look forward to music, in one form or another, being a part of my life for many years to come.


 

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