by Cheryl Vollmar
By the time I turned eighteen, I was more than ready to never step foot in my parents’ house again. I had graduated high school and was ready to move on to college, but even then I disregarded my own desire to major in Music Composition and followed in my mother’s footsteps by majoring in Music Education. Despite thirteen years of piano lessons, six National Piano Guild gold medals, over seven years of band and choir classes, and the numerous pieces of music I had already composed, she said I would never make a living writing music. And while I did see the logic behind her argument that it’s difficult to succeed financially as a composer, it felt more like she didn’t believe in me or my talents. As if all the competitions, performances, and accolades I had received weren’t enough to strive for what I was passionate about. Even though she frequently nudged me into experiences like college level symphony and stage performances as a high school student, it rarely felt like she supported me in my musical and theatrical efforts. She even told me I was on my own when I received an invitation to the Miss Missouri Pageant, leaving me alone in a huge dressing room buzzing with excitement as mothers helped their daughters change for the next act of the show. I’m not sure if it was because she was just too busy with her own schooling or if it was just a general lack of interest. Some have even said that there could have been a bit of jealousy behind her words and actions. To this day I haven’t the slightest clue why she was so unsupportive, but it placed another small bit of self doubt in the back of my mind that told me I simply was not good enough.