On Monday of this week, I was reminded that things we view as incompatible might sometimes work together better than we dreamed possible.
Why Monday? It was the day my college-aged daughter flew back to school after her winter break and played the piano for a panel of music professors. Professors who would ultimately decide whether or not she was accepted into the music department at her university. And it was so far removed from her selected major that we were all shocked (but very happy) when she called us out of the blue last semester to say she’d made an appointment to play for one of the music teachers. She did, and that appointment evolved into an invitation to play for the panel. She played a piece that none of the teachers were familiar with. But it gained her acceptance into the program.
Why had the professors never heard of this piece? Because it’s from a video game. Yes…really. Remember that incompatibility factor I mentioned at the beginning? Well, my daughter’s chosen major is computer programming with an emphasis on video game design. And although she’s taken piano and classical guitar lessons for most of her childhood, she’d decided music and programming were incompatible. She had to choose one…or the other.
She chose programming.
And then she made a startling discovery while playing a video game called Kingdom Hearts. The musical score from the game was incredible. She began doing research about the music and found two of the pieces were performed by a Japanese singer named Utada Hikaru (who is now one of my daughter’s favorite singers). So she learned to play both of the songs over the past two years, just for fun. It still hadn’t clicked that two of things she loved most might actually complement each other—until last semester when she found herself trekking to the practice rooms at school and playing her heart out as a way to reduce stress. And then it dawned on her: why couldn’t she combine music and programming? Kingdom Hearts certainly had.
She passed the proficiency test, and the original teacher asked her why she wouldn’t consider changing her major to music, but I think my daughter views this as a trial run. But one thing is certain, she no longer thinks music and her dream of designing video games are incompatible goals. She realizes that each element has the potential to make the other stronger. Music has enhanced Kingdom Hearts and vice-versa. If you’re curious about the piece she chose to perform, here’s a link to someone else playing it:
She’s taught me a lot, this daughter of mine. Her realization made me rethink the way I pair heroes and heroines in my books. Is it possible that seemingly incompatible personality traits might make for a stronger bond? I don’t know for certain, but I plan on doing some experimenting over the next couple of books. Hope my characters are ready!
What do you think? Is incompatibility in the eye of the beholder? Sometimes? Always? I’d love to hear your thoughts!