Years ago, I was torn between two passions. I had loved tinkering with computers and other electronic gadgets since I was as young as 10 (possibly younger!). But I also played the piano, taking lessons with my sisters and playing around with melodies and chords on the keys when I wasn’t practicing my lesson pieces.

That love of music carried into high school. I had stopped playing piano but in music class I picked up the clarinet quite quickly. I transferred to another school after grade 9 because the school I was in was planning to cut their music program entirely and I could not imagine being without it. At my new school, I was blown away when I heard the excellent performances of the senior jazz band and ensembles. I was fiercely determined to play with them but not many modern jazz arrangements called for a clarinet. So I learned to play saxophones.

At the same time, I continued tinkering with computers, teaching myself how to program because I wanted to program video games one day. An exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre featuring the “new” graphical web browsers, Netscape and Mosaic, inspired me to try my own hand at web publishing as soon as we were able to get connected to the Internet. In high school programming classes, I was well ahead of the curve, frequently finishing assignments meant to take hours in a matter of minutes.

And so, when I graduated from high school and decided I wanted to go to university, I had a difficult choice to make: which of these two things would I choose to focus on?

I ultimately decided that I was more passionate about computing and that it would also lead to a better career, so I decided to major in Computer Science.

Even then, I didn’t entirely stop playing music. I started taking clarinet lessons, intending to enhance my skills well beyond the intermediate proficiency I had achieved in high school. My teacher encouraged me to play for a youth symphony orchestra. My stand partner eventually became my first girlfriend and my stint with the orchestra culminated in a performance of von Weber’s Clarinet Concertino.

I’m not sure exactly when it was, but I did eventually stop playing music to devote myself entirely to my Computer Science coursework and related projects. My clarinet has been sitting in storage for a long time, untouched, unplayed, unloved. The piano my sisters and I used to play is still in our family home, but has been in need of tuning for a very long time and has also been neglected.

I’ve begun my career as a web developer and I feel that I’ve made an excellent choice. But recently, I felt like I needed to bring music back into my life. Taking advantage of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s youth program, tsoundcheck, I bought a package of tickets for three concerts, two of which I’ve already attended. Now, also for the first time in years, I have thought about taking my clarinet out of storage, having it checked out, and playing it again.

I am rediscovering my art; I am rediscovering my music.