Change: Part I

hey friends, Nathan here

Change — generally, it’s something I’ve welcomed — getting out of high school or starting a job; incorporating new habits, new friends, and new classes; passing through big place markers such as a junior recital, turning twenty one, being a leader, or getting a raise at work. I had wrapped change up in this blanket of goodness and happiness. For musicians, and for myself, that was dangerous.

Fun fact: while all change is given to strengthen us, change can hurt as much as it comforts. And apparently I’m really good at ignoring that aspect. When my grandmother, who lived with our family for ten years suddenly died, that change hurt. So I blocked it out — this change is not what I’m used to, I don’t want to process this, I want to hide it.

And this is why junior year felt so hard. It was like I was tied to a wall, being held back — because of a constant and ever growing amount of change that was given to me to carry.

I started the year a bitter person instead of my usual cheerful self, hurt from the relationships of the previous year. My niche of friends who I had given two years of my life to had crumbled, leaving me lonely. The gym that changed my life closed, showing me how hard it is to motivate and keep myself healthy without any coaching or accountability. The conservatory moved buildings, and while the new building is amazing and beyond anything we could’ve asked for, I left behind 20 some years of memories from the previous. Work went from becoming a place of escape to a place of labour and frustration, with a difficult turn of coworkers. School took the absolute forefront of my life, loading me with more assignments than ever, making it particularly difficult to be the person I wanted to be for my friends. Financially, my bank account really started to suffer, as I had far less time to work, far less motivation, and was burying a lot of my emotions in late night burritos…

Hard change.

Hard enough to make me forget or miss all the positives that accompany each negative. Suddenly, change ONLY hurt — and I forgot to look at the positive. The pain of a constant year of change felt like a burden, and I failed to see it as a preparation for my future.

Scary story time: I’m applying to SIX (omg help me) GRAD SCHOOLS, and possibly a seventh in England (prayers accepted, please and thank you). One is in Chicago, the rest are out in Rochester, Michigan, Indiana, Boston, and Connecticut. Growing up in the Wheaten area my whole life has given me room to grow, but maybe not enough room to be prepared for a complete move away from my entire life thus far. Unless I go to DePaul, I will be leaving behind twenty two years of memories and people.

That’s a lot of years

That’s a lot of memories

That’s a lot of change

Will I be able to find a place to live? Will I find work? Will I be able to maintain my relationships from college? Will I find new friendships? Will I be able to stand firm in my faith in the face of those who oppose it? Will I be lonely? What will I eat? How will I eat? How will I afford to eat? Will I finally cave into PBRs? Will I be able to hold my own against other graduate students? Will I teach? How am I going to use music to better someone else?


So as I move forward through my last year in college, I need to be preparing for imminent change by trusting in God, not by worrying about the fears and anxieties that will come with it. I tend to trust people more than I trust God, and that reallllly won’t get me anywhere. Change for music majors needs to be a part of life we are used to. You make an auditioned spot in professional ensemble causing you to move suddenly for better work, students come and go, times change and so do musical interests, ensemble dynamics vary, whoever or not you with work in music could even change. Maybe you have tenure and or a full-time job and you can ride that boat for a while, but what about the vast majority of musicians who compile multiple part time jobs together? Change is always knocking.

After such a season of change, God’s necessity for it in my life has become blazingly clear. God doesn’t give us change to mess with us, He gives it to us because we need it. I’m better at saving money now, work feels sweeter than ever before, and I’m learning to actual settle in people, in a building, and in God.

So I guess I don’t really have a final point to make here. That’s why this post is called Change Part I. As I move forward this upcoming year, things will change everyday; sometimes small, sometimes significant, sometimes hard, sometimes happy. Writing this is my prelude of what will come. 

Let’s see where this goes.

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