An Appreciation of Music, as a Finance Major

[Occasionally, members of the faculty or I receive emails from former students, now alums.  Today’s blog is authored by one such alumnus, Ross Boatwright, whose email caught my eye. Ross graduated from Wake Forest in 2013, with a major in Finance and a minor in Political Science.  Thanks, Ross, for contributing your thoughts about Wake Forest and thanks to Professor Radomski for mentoring Ross!  – Jacque]Ross Boatwright pic

 “At Wake Forest, I majored in Finance and minored in Political Science. However, when people ask about my “favorite course,” I don’t mention my time studying Chinese Politics or laboring to understand Derivatives. It’s always music. During the spring of my sophomore year, acting on the suggestion of a friend, I signed up to take voice lessons once a week. To be honest, I entered with measured skepticism – would this be worth my time? I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. Under the instruction of Teresa Radomski, I learned to appreciate the depth of classical composers. With time, I began to relish my time practicing technique and looked forward to weekly lessons as I attempted to understand how best to express the nuances of works composed by Handel and Vaughan Williams. A whole new side of myself opened up; I felt as if I had really discovered the essence of what it means to study at a liberal arts institution. Following the Giles Harris competition, I was encouraged by Professor Radomski to perform a Senior Recital. After putting in months of work, my friends and family gathered to engage with material that had added so richly to my time at school; the day will remain one of my most memorable at Wake.

Simply having a background in classical performance would have been enough. However, I quickly learned that having “performed Spanish songs in the romantic style” on my resume sparked meaningful conversation with employers during interviews. After we covered my qualifications for working at a bank, it was not uncommon for the managing director sitting across from me to ask about my music. It became clear this was something that made me unique, something that actually differentiated me as an individual. Music was relevant because it made me more of a person, with real interests and passions, as opposed to just ‘another applicant’ parroting information they had heard countless times before.Teresa Radomski, Music Department

Finally, I am proud to say that I had incredible support from Professor Radomski and Tom Turnbull, two dedicated professionals who sacrificed hours of their free time to facilitate my musical aspirations. All of this for someone who wasn’t a music major, not even a minor. The music faculty at Wake possesses a trait that distinguishes them from others on campus – they want their students to do more than just ‘learn’ the material; rather, their hope is that music shapes you, that you really grasp the beauty of it for what it is. In large part due to them, while my immediate vocation may lie in the realm of financial services, my avocation will always be music- something for which I’m particularly thankful.”

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