Greetings, devoted readers of Quaint and Darling! I am decidedly not Gaby, your beloved blogger. I am Avery Scott, a friend of Gaby, and I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to write a guest post for Quaint and Darling about my life as a homeschooled music human.
Many people think of homeschooling as the preferred educational format of backwoods hicks living in a shack in the middle of nowhere. This could not be further from the truth. At seventeen years of age, I have never set foot in a school, and I’m here to explain how the choice to homeschool has fostered my budding career as a musician.
The most important way in which homeschooling has contributed to my musical life is by allowing me to pursue unique opportunities during the school day. This advantage is perhaps best exemplified by my involvement with a college string quartet last year. Though I was not (and still am not) a college student, I was invited to join the university music department’s string quartet. The only problem was that the only time we would be able to rehearse fell during the school day. Thanks to homeschooling, I was able to attend every rehearsal. I even adjusted my schedule so that we could play at university functions such as performance convocations. We made something of a name for ourselves in the department and were eventually asked to perform in a master class with the renowned Shanghai quartet, one of the world’s premier string quartets. None of these remarkable opportunities would have been available to me had I not been homeschooled.
My ability to tailor my own schedule has contributed to my musical career in many other ways. It allows me to cut out my own path and pursue opportunities that fit with my passion—and my future profession. If I have a demanding concert on a weeknight, I’m able to alter that day’s activities so I can walk onstage feeling fresh and rested. I can take the time to study composition and orchestration with a professional composer, delving into the scores of Tchaikovsky and Brahms to learn the secrets that are hidden in their masterful symphonies. I don’t have to worry about coming home late on weeknights because I’m a pre-college student at a university music department. I can read exhaustive biographies of the composers I admire, exploring the ways in which their lives impacted their music (every musician, by the way, ought to do this—it helps the performer read between the lines printed on the page and place the music in its proper context). I have the freedom to take a day off and drive an hour or two to rehearse with an excellent accompanist at his studio. All of these are examples of the rich musical adventures I’ve been able to experience thanks to homeschooling.
Is homeschooling for everybody? Certainly not. Is it superior to the standard, school-based model of education? Both offer advantages and disadvantages, but probably neither is superior. What I can say for sure is that homeschooling has offered me unique opportunities in my chosen field that have advanced my experience tremendously. The musician I am now has been dramatically shaped by homeschooling, and the musician I will eventually become will be shaped by homeschooling as well.
Avery Scott is a violinist, composer, and high school student living on Long Island, New York. He serves as the Assistant Concertmaster of the Long Island Youth Orchestra (LIYO) and was a recipient of the Platt Scholarship from the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey (BONJ). You can read more about Avery here.