Minnesota School Of Music - April 2019

04. 2019 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com

THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN

MY JOURNEY AS AN AUTHOR FROM MUSIC TO MANUSCRIPTS

I was certain the essay was 100 percent my own. “I want to see you in my office,” Dr. Painter replied. Despite everything I’d been through in the last few hours, I was not prepared for what happened next. Dr. Painter began by apologizing for the plagiarism notice. She explained that she’d “never seen that kind of writing from a performance major before” and assumed I couldn’t have been the author. Sure, it was a backhanded compliment, but after the night I’d had, I was just glad to know my grade wasn’t on the line. That’s when my professor told me I should consider a career as a writer. Now, I was already knee-deep in preparation for my master’s performance of Bach’s “Lute Suite in E Minor” — which is not exactly an easy performance. That a professor who had authored research papers was so visibly floored by something I’d written was incredibly motivating. So, against my better judgment, I walked into the office of the university’s Minnesota Daily — which is one of the oldest school newspapers in the United States — and got a job. I’d hold a few writing positions over the years, including one where I got to cover the 2012 presidential race. A dude from the tunnels of the west bank got to stand shoulder to shoulder with the media elite on the press riser in Washington, D.C. To this day, I still can’t believe it. Now, with the upcoming release of my first book, I can’t help but think back to that wild, scary night and the professor who helped show me a talent I didn’t even know I had.

I f you’ve read your fair share of these newsletters, it will probably come as no surprise to learn that I’ve always wanted to author a book of my own. Not to dismiss the humble publication on your screen, but getting to organize my thoughts into full chapters and delve into my personal philosophy page by page has long been a dream of mine. I’m excited to announce that it’s about to become a reality. “More Than Music: How Choosing the Right Music School Will Develop Skills, Build Character, and Prepare Your Child for a Successful Life” is my first step into the authorial big leagues, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. You’ll find more information about the book on Page 3 of this newsletter. But while you’re here, I may as well give you an abbreviated version of the story I share in Chapter 1. After all, it explains how a guitar student first got it in his head that he could be a writer one day. The night I learned I could write was the scariest of my life. I’d woken up to my baby boy Caleb choking in his crib. He’d come down with croup, an infection common enough in infants that normally clears up in a few days, but this was different. Caleb’s face was

covered in blood, and his lips were blue. I scooped him up and drove to the hospital as fast as I could. After an agonizing wait, the doctors were able to get my son breathing normally again, and his symptoms began to clear. Slumping in the hospital waiting room as the adrenaline drained out of me, a different kind of dread took its place. I had a paper to write for class the next day, and I hadn’t done all the reading. As a guitar student at the University of Minnesota, I couldn’t exactly afford to call it quits on an important musicology assignment. So, as much as I wanted to spend time with my recovering son and get some rest, I had to drag myself to the library and try to type up something presentable. I summarized what I remembered from the readings as best I could from memory and sent it off to my professor, Dr. Karen Painter. She responded almost immediately with a sternly worded reminder of the school’s policy on plagiarism. I was being accused of cheating. Confused and more than a little dazed, I wrote back asking if there had been some kind of mistake. I explained the late-night hospitalization of my son and that the assignment had been a rushed job, but

Thanks, Dr. Painter,

–Eric Nehring

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