Recent Grad, Micah Lomax, Reflects on Grad School Experience

Micah Lomax graduated from Maranatha in 2010 with a BS degree in Music Education. Micah was accepted at Florida State University as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and he recently completed his MA in Music Theory. Additionally, Micah was privileged to be inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda which is the only national honors society for music. Read Micah’s reflections below:

“My time at Florida State University could be characterized by one word: growth. I did not feel as though I was at an academic disadvantage entering graduate school, but I quickly discovered that the level of performance was drastically different than that of undergrad. There was more work to do, the work was more independent, and the work was accompanied by less professorial guidance. My first semester was, what I consider, a trial by fire—attempt to figure out what I am doing, and through failure, learn how to do it correctly. Ultimately, it was a difficult way to grow, but it proved to be a valuable life lesson in perseverance and faith that the Lord would provide me with the necessary skills, understanding, and time to complete tasks as they were assigned.

One particularly difficult class was Schenkerian Analysis II. This class challenged me to think about music in new ways, but it also frustrated the daylights out of me because I would feel very confident that I had figured out the method, only to be “shocked and awed” the next day in class when my answer was not that good. I had never prayed that the Lord would literally allow my brain to understand class material until that semester; and in all honesty, without Him I could not have accomplished the work that I did in that class.

Ironically, one of my favorite classes turned out to be a class taught by the same professor of Schenker II. So, while I spent most of the spring 2011 semester pulling my hair out and staring at musical scores feeling very lost and confused, the fall 2011 semester was a different story. History of Western Music Theory is a notorious class here at FSU. It is notorious because the class requires students to memorize an extremely vast amount of information in one semester’s time. Many universities, if they offer a history of theory course, spread the material out over three or more semesters. However, we get the same amount of material at FSU in only one semester. So, students enter this class with an ominous cloud of knowledge looming above them and they spend the semester trying to organize and synthesize that information as much as possible. In short, I think I studied harder and longer for the midterm and final exam (as those were the only two tests all semester!) than any other tests in my life. It was one of the most challenging classes I have ever taken, mainly because of the amount of knowledge I was required to remember, but the process turned out to be a great learning experience for me. If something is worth getting, it is worth working for.

In the end, my time here has been wonderful. I have grown drastically as a musician, and I feel more directed in my career goals because I know what is out there for my field. My thanks is first to the Lord, and secondly to the faculty here. We are very blessed to have one of the most qualified, intelligent, caring groups of professors in our field. Their care and concern for us was never doubted, and our success was their first goal. I am thankful for the opportunity to study in graduate school, and this opportunity would not have been possible without the preparation, spiritual guidance, and foundation I received at Maranatha.”