In a few weeks I’ll be returning to my high school to give a short concert and presentation on music. I, like many creative professionals, was NOT a big fan of the high school experience. Although looking back, I definitely feel a greater affinity (and sympathy) towards the teachers that instructed me during that time. So that got me thinking, what skills did I learn in high school that I actually still use to this day? As it turns out, some of those lessons were useful!
- English Class – I think out of all the subjects, English class had the most obviously useful lessons. I remember enjoying studying poetry and learning about different poetry meters. That lesson on meter helps a lot with songwriting as different rhyming schemes and meters match different rhythms. I also appreciate all the lessons (remedial and otherwise) about how to construct sentences, use commas, and not confuse “it’s” with “its” and other grammatical faux pas.
- Math Class – The next most obvious lessons are math! Although I don’t use any Trigonometry (I think….I actually kind of forget what that is…) and I definitely don’t use calculus, tons of other math comes up in my day to day life. Percentages spring to mind as the major useful skill set I learned in math class. Many agents, managers, and booking folks take percentages of your income so knowing what I owe them ahead of time saves me a lot of hair pulling! Geometry can also be a useful skill while loading our gear into the van. I definitely remember how to calculate areas for cubes and spheres, other shapes, not so much.
- Science Class – I have to admit, as much as I really like science I don’t tend to use much of it on a daily basis. Basic nutrition and human biology would be the highest contenders for useful information. You can only eat so much gas station food before it comes back to haunt you in the worst way.
- History Class – I do have to admit being a little stumped on this one. History was my least favorite subject (mostly due to the rote memorization of dates and facts). But now that I travel a ton playing music, I often find myself trying to dredge facts out of my head about the location and history of wherever we travel. Thankfully, many historical sites and parks are free or have small admission fees so we have lots of opportunities to explore historical places and relearn a lot of the facts.
- THE BEST LESSON I EVER LEARNED IN HIGH SCHOOL – BE ON TIME FOR STUFF. Sure you may have only had 5- 15 minutes to get from place to place in high school, but that irrational panic will serve you well for the rest of your life! If you can regularly be on time for stuff, you’ve learned more important lessons than most people.
So there it is, a short list of skills I actually use every day. What did you learn in high school that you find yourself using on the daily?