Honours Music, 2014melissa pettau

From a young age Melissa was heavily involved in music, taking lessons and performing, honing her talent. But, her second love was math and she come to the University of Waterloo with the goal of becoming a math teacher. Melissa filled her schedule with all the courses she needed to take to progress in the math program, without room for electives. Yet, math was not as fulfilling as she had expected, and she knew something was missing. It wasn’t until her third year that she allowed herself to take an elective, a music course on conducting, when she realized how much she missed music! From then on Melissa’s life changed, and she felt something calling to her to pursue a career involved in music.

Melissa really enjoyed her time in music program and she participated in the many different ensembles and activities. A favourite memory of this time was in her last year when she performed with the gamelan ensemble. She recalls how immersed in the music she felt while playing the instrument and the powerful feeling she got when playing it. The music faculty made Melissa feel supported by both students and staff, as well it built up her confidence level. The professors encouraged her to pursue what she enjoyed than pushing her into one category, this allowed her naturally discover her interests. After some stellar music history courses she came to understand that Musicology is she wanted to pursue. It was her final year when it dawned on Melissa that she could continue on in Graduate school.

Now Melissa studies Musicology at the University of Toronto, with a particular interest in music from the medieval period. Melissa finds it fascinating how music from the past, and music from our present are so similar but yet so different at the same time. She enjoys exploring the inter-connection between different periods of music. Furthermore, Melissa is able to teach some tutorials, she really enjoys being able to make an impact on her students. To brighten their day all while sharing her passion for the subject. While ultimately she did not decide to teach at the elementary or high school level, Melissa plans to one day become a lecturer or professor. Melissa loves being in graduate studies and being able to study something she absolutely loves. Melissa describes her Graduate studies a,

Having the freedom to do what you want with the information you learn.

which she enjoys greatly. Furthering your studies is having the freedom to follow your curiosity.

When she finally allowed herself to have some fun, and take a class purely for enjoyment it changed her life, and Melissa does not regret it. She encourages others to pursue electives that they enjoy. Rather than loading their terms with all required classes just for the sake of getting ahead of the game.. University is truly a time of discovery, and Melissa’s story is a true testament to this