Let me present a scenario to you. This is a scenario that just about every music major in college encounters at least once in their lifetime. We shall meet the main player in this scenario: Mr. Snuffygins. (He’s hypothetically named and not named after anyone in particular.)

The feline interpretation of Mr. Snuffygins. "No piano for you!"

Mr. Snuffygins can be anyone in your life that knows how to reason, formulate conclusions and has a fairly good idea of how the world works – but, this Mr. Snuffygins lacks one very important title that strips him of any authority to offer his opinion on the upcoming said scenario. Mr. Snuffygins is not a musician, but he acts like he knows how the working musician must behave in order to make money. Let’s see how Mr. Snuffygins would approach Annette, and how he would most likely approach any person planning to major in music in college.

Mr. Snuffygins: Well hello Annette! How are you?
Annette: I’m great, pretty busy!
Mr. Snuffygins: Busy eh? Are you in college yet?
Annette: Not yet. Working on it though.
Mr. Snuffygins: What are you going to go for?
Annette: I’m planning on majoring in musical arts.
Mr. Snuffygins: Musical arts? What are you going to do with that?
Annette: Play piano?
Mr. Snuffygins: Can you make money doing that?
Annette: I already do.
Mr. Snuffygins: Well, you must not make that much.
Annette: Um.
Mr. Snuffygins: What kind of job can you get as a musical arts major?
Annette: Well, I can play in quartets, I can play in symphonies, I can teach privately, I could probably teach in schools if I chose to take that route… I can accompany artists, I could compose music, I can play for theatre companies, I could-
Mr. Snuffygins: None of that sounds like it pays a lot. You should be a music teacher!
Annette: But I don’t like the idea of being stuffed in a school all day.
Mr. Snuffygins: But that way you’re guaranteed to make money!

And at this point I usually have to leave or someone interrupts the conversation before I can ask Mr. Snuffygins a question…


The gall of Mr. Snuffygins. Don’t all you aspiring, or current music majors wish you could ask Mr. Snuffygins who he thinks he is? He more than likely is not a musician, or he is one of those annoying shoddy guitar hero type musicians who thinks he knows a thing or two about music because he presses those colored buttons on a plastic guitar shaped video game apparatus.

Let’s try to be fair and understanding. Mr. Snuffygins thinks he is being helpful, when he is actually being extremely annoying. Nobody knows why Mr. Snuffygins says the things that he does. But lets turn the tables here. Mr. Snuffygins would probably be annoyed if this scenario were to occur:

Annette: Hi Mr. Snuffygins! What is your opinion on me being a music major?
Mr. Snuffygins: Well I think it’s a bad idea!
Annette: Well Mr. Snuffygins, I don’t think your ideas are very well informed or beneficial to me.
Mr. Snuffygins: Uh?
Annette: Mr. Snuffygins, I bet you’ve never played through an entire sonata or even looked at a Bach invention, and yet, you are going to try to tell me what major I should chose in college, and you’re going to try to decide for me on an uninformed decision. I’m not sure that’s such a wise thing to do, Mr. Snuffygins.
Mr. Snuffygins: I’m just trying to be helpful! I’m older than you, I know more about this.
Annette: Mr. Snuffygins. I don’t believe that you are being fair. You assumed I chose this major on a whim. You never took into consideration that I practice piano two to three hours a day, that I am making payments on an acoustic piano, that I perform every Sunday at my church, and on top of all of this, I have a natural aptitude towards music and the arts. You did not take into consideration the fact that I have had grueling practice schedules when I prepared for piano competitions. You also did not take into consideration the fact that I chose this major right off the bat four years ago when I was considering a college education, and returned back to this same major through the course of considerations. You also never considered the hand of God in my life, leading me and guiding me in this direction, since I am a Christian, what makes you think I have not spent countless years in prayer about this? Since you did not take the time to take these facts into consideration, I think that, in this moment, a high level of intelligence on your part is doubtful. I did not ask for your opinion, Mr. Snuffygins. You simply asked what my major was going to be. Now you know. Have a nice day.
Mr. Snuffygins: (Dramatic pause) ..I play guitar hero!!

Dear Mr. Snuffygins,
I love that you have taken such a deeply vested interest in the financial stability of my future, but I did not ask for your financial advising, nor did I ask for you to question my judgement, and I certainly did not ask for you to be my college advisor.

If I change my major, it will have nothing to do with you, it will be my own personal choice. And if I am considering changing my major, I promise you that your opinion will have no place in my considerations. Would I honestly think to myself, “I think I might change my major because Mr. Snuffygins told me to.” Your opinion will more than likely be the last thing on my mind. And how dare you be so prideful to tell me what to do with my hard earned money invested in my education? How dare you? Who do you think you are?

But I would like to thank you, Mr. Snuffygins. I am one of those sort of people that is motivated by inversely irritating naysayers and cantankerous individuals. I will be thinking of you when I am at my college auditions. I will be thinking of you every Sunday morning when I am playing in front of the congregation at church. I will be thinking of you before I perform at piano competitions. I will be thinking of the look on your face when word gets back to you that I am a successful musician. I think your face will contort to some sort of misshapen form, one that resembles the look of astonishment, when you realize, that you, in fact, were wrong about my choice. Your annoying know it all attitude will be my fuel. I hope to run into a few more Mr. Snuffygins’s like you, actually, although I did launch in to a big rant about you, I appreciate your irritating opinion. You are quite the motivational speaker. I am now motivated to prove a multitude of Mr. Snuffygins like you wrong.

And I promise you, that I will prove you wrong, Mr. Snuffygins. I will have success. I may not be rolling in the cash, because most truly talented people aren’t, but I will at least be happy and stretching myself beyond my comfort zones and achieving everything I thought that I could not, and following God’s call on my life.

Thank you, Mr. Snuffygins, and I hope you are a little bit more informed on this situation thanks to my opinionated outburst.

Annette M. Nagle