Life after Waring

By Grace Gustaferro

This semester we have been conducting interviews with Waring alumni to find out what sort of careers and life choices happen after Waring. Barrie Lindsey, a music major who came with the class of 2016 on Junior Trip, talks about her experience after leaving Waring and her day to day:

How did you end up in a band? What made you pick music as a college major?

I ended up in a band because I’ve always written a lot of music, and my brother encouraged me to try playing some of my songs with his music friends. Backing up a couple steps, I chose to be involved in music pretty early on. I was shy about it at Waring, but I knew as early as middle school that I wanted to write music. It seemed naive to want to be a musician, and I was less interested in performing live; I was (and still am, somewhat) more interested in writing and composing. Actually, I’m just remembering really enjoying the days at Waring when our teacher was absent in Percussion Ensemble and we’d make up songs all period.

I majored in music because, after semesters of taking music classes as electives, I realized there wasn’t a single class in the department that I didn’t want to take. And with a liberal arts degree, there’s a sense that there’s some wiggle room career-wise.

I’m wondering what your daily life is like as a musician. What’s a typical workday like?

I guess I don’t really have a typical workday; every day is different. I work part-time as a studio assistant for a sculptor and usually spend the rest of my time working on music. Today, I didn’t have work, so I did music all day, playing and recording instruments. I have a drum kit, guitars, bass, and keyboard in my apartment — which are all pretty loud — so I play them as much as I can during daytime while the rest of the neighborhood is away at work. I got most of the way through a new song and came up with a few ideas for other projects. I guess that’s a pretty typical day.

Could you talk a little bit about what is was like coming on Junior Trip this past June? How did it feel to come back to Waring for three weeks?

Going on Junior Trip this year was great and bizarre. I haven’t been very involved in Waring since I graduated — it’s definitely part of my life, but kind of peripherally, because people in my day-to-day life work there or went there. In a way, seeing or meeting Waring people out in the world is like being an expat and running into someone from your country. You have a similar language and set of references. So eight years out of Waring, I fell right back into Waring’s way of traveling. But this time around, it wasn’t just out of habit, but more because I’ve come to see the value in it and have chosen to make those habits part of my life.

Finally, Can you talk about how Waring shaped what you do today? Does it still affect you to this day?

Broadly, Waring shaped a lot of how I approach life and work and art. But that’s a big answer. I’d say one lasting lesson from Waring that affects me now is its expectation of participation and performance from students. I don’t have a natural inclination for performing, so the fact that Waring expected everyone to perform in Soirees, concerts, skits, plays, movies, poetry contests, class discussions, etc. — all that took away the fear and shook the notion that performing is only for people who naturally step into the spotlight.

And of course Waring affects me in a very practical way, like how I have to work around the boy’s varsity soccer schedule to see my brother. And I have to give blood in February.


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