I feel like one of the unpredictable skills you pick up as a music major is learning how to avoid setting people off on long tangents. One wrong move and your lesson or orchestra rehearsal turns into an hour-long saga of computer trouble or tales of a conductor’s friend’s colleague’s uncle’s cat who hated the oboe.

In my last year of school my biggest project was a piece for orchestra about a semi-recent aviation incident. Whenever we would run out of things to say about my progress on the piece, my lessons would turn into an exchange of air travel woes.