As most of you know, I recently returned from a three week trip to England, Scotland and Austria. This was the result of a year of following research, many months of dreaming, and quite a substantial time creating a proposal of my own. I do not believe I’ve ever thrown myself into pursuing a field with quite a force, and I was always one to take studies seriously in college. I feel, as I have never quite before, that I’ve simply found my niche.
It was nearly one year ago that I learnt people were actually utilizing music in the furthering of neuroscientific study. I had been in dialogue with several friends over a period of six months or so in the personal battle as to whether to pursue vocal performance or possibly existential psychology in grad school. Because in the end I could not bear the thought of leaving music behind, I had previously quite grudgingly prepared to enter a MMus voice program at either TCU or UW. However, at the end of my auditions for these programs, I was miserable. All I wanted to do was read and be exposed to new things. To put it bluntly, I was a singer and didn’t want anything to do with it. For this, I decided to take a year off, teach piano and voice to support myself, and kind of “figure it out from there.” It was about this time last year that it all clicked (like nothing ever has in my life) as I was shown a way to reconcile the two. It was through the camaraderie of a couple of professors, my mother and late father, and a young intellectual working in a pizza place that I finally stumbled my way into something that would very possibly consume me for years to come.
I went abroad to accomplish one thing and many things, but most importantly to realize if the logistics of this aspiration were realistic. I have accomplished this goal first and foremost, and learnt a great deal more. For someone who holds an undergrad in music, absolutely no background in neuroscience or statistical method, and hadn’t the foggiest as to how to use APA, I’ve come quite a distance.
My next steps are to follow up on the many contacts I made whilst in London and Vienna, prepare for my pilot study for ASD and music in January, and apply for Goldsmiths MMB programme. As I have yet to compile my massive collection of notes, photos, and recordings into EndNote (and recover from being ill and jetlagged), I felt it necessary to at least take a moment in gratitude for everyone who has been so very supportive over the past few months. Without getting too sentimental here, I want to thank Cooper for his endless patience and genius in helping me craft my proposal, Cory for his constant ‘tech-support’ and creating a way to fund the conference portion of my trip, the former two as well as Bonnie, Brenda, Thomas, Pamela and the others who selflessly made donations to make it possible, Luca and Austin who gave me a place to stay, my dear friends Andrew, Jonathan and Josh who have listened to my hair-brained schemes from the very beginning, and my ‘blogosphere big brothers’ here and here who have been so encouraging in academic advice. Also, thanks to Pravin for the lovely article he’s written on me and my process of raising funding. I feel a bit silly, as I act as if I’ve just accepted a Grammy or some such nonsense; all the same, I feel it very important to acknowledge what everyone’s support and encouragement has meant to me. Thank you all, and I shall work to produce some type of fruit of your labor soon!