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Jose Correia

Doctor with a musician´s soul.......

January 9, 2010 at 6:12 AM

Okay, january 30 is the day of my graduation and february 1 is my first day at college..... I will study medicne and I am more than happy with the decision I made, but Im not gonna lie... I wish I could have been a PROFESIONAL violinist.

Since I was little..... I have always been atractted to sciences biology, chemistry..... but of all the carrers I considered...( a lot i must say) the one that always came back to my mind was medicine. 2 years ago I started doubting about my carrer choice when I had started to play violin, I had started doubting before playing but my doubts increased when I started lessons.

I knew that I couldnt be a professional violinist, but a doctor has to make a lot of sacrifices, and I couldn´t (can´t) give up something that had become so important for me ( and something I turned out to be good at), so I started looking for carreers related to my favorite subjects. But medicine just kept coming back and I always struggled to find reasons that made me forget about it............ and like a plague medicine followed me everywhere tv, school( in Ecuador we choose kind of a specialization 2 years before going to college and my specializations main subjects were chemistry biology and ANATOMY) friends who wanted to be doctors, it was everywhere.

I just couldn´t understand why didn´t ask for violin lessons as a kid... there were so many experiences that dragged me to music and specially to violin, a wedding with a quartet( I loved the violins) a concert our music teacher took us (it was meant to introduce kids to the orchestra and the instruments) and I just couldn´t take my eyes off the violin section specially when they made vibrato, I just loved to see the bows moving like that... and yet I didn´t ask for lessons.

But there was a point where i realized that I couldn´t live without both...... and then I had something like an epiphany( revelation whatever you call that) I could still play my violin while been a doctor... but I couldn´t be a doctor if I chose another carreer.

That made me start thinking (again)... maybe it was meant to be that way... the violin helps me to express myself, to be more conscious about my body( we all have to be, because of the basics) and it will keep me human. I think that one of the reasons that make so many doctors are ummmm disrespectful angry( some lacking ethics) is because they supress their emotions( kind of , and I know not all the doctors are like that)In college you spend a lot of time around corpses, long nights studying, and then you start working and you deal with other people suffering you are trying to safe human lives... but I think that every doctor should have something that let them realease everything, to relax to take them away from the stress they live with and the pain they see everyday, so when you go back you can treat every patient like a human and not a corpse that you will be learning from...

Maybe I won´t be able to practice as much as I want... but if I organize myself I will be able to practice and make progress and also work hard to be a great doctor ( and maybe have kind of a social life).

I know that sometimes I will think how would my life had been if I had started violin as a kid... but call it destiny, gods plan or anything you want, I know it was meant to be this way so I can work in my two passions:

Medicine, the ability to heal human bodies, and

MUSIC........ the ability to heal and connect with human souls.


From Bart Meijer
Posted on January 9, 2010 at 7:11 AM

You are not the only one faced with this choice. And while you can be a doctor and play the violin as a hobby, the reverse is not possible (ouch!). We have Kreisler and Dounis as patrons -- that's not bad.

Good luck,


From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 9, 2010 at 7:48 AM


don@t forget the fundamental oath:  First do no sevcik.

(I think I got that right....)

Enjoy the violin as a gift from heaven to make your life brighter and more rewarding even in the most dark or difficult times.  




From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on January 9, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Our local community orchestra has had many doctors among members over the years.  Los Angeles has a community orchestra that was originally made up entirely of MDs.  They've since opened it up to non-medical people, but it is still about 50% doctors, including their conductor, a surgeon.  You will find lots of company among your colleagues.

From Bart Meijer
Posted on January 10, 2010 at 4:55 PM

This orchestra consists of not just MDs, but pediatricians!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 10, 2010 at 5:01 PM

As Buri points out, be glad you have the musical gift.  Life is full of difficult choices.  You have made one, but the beauty of your choice, unlike some choices, is that the music can still be a significant part of your life.  Could be a win-win situation.

From Ray Randall
Posted on January 10, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Ten years ago I sat next to a little girl in the orchestra that the conductor brought in. When I initially told him I had reservations about a little kid in our fine orchestra he said with a smile, shut up, play this rehearsal with her in the back and let me know your opinion. Rats! She outplayed everyone, the little......prodigy. A few years later she soloed playing the Tchaik with us. Now she has a dual major at Vanderbilt, Violin and Pre Med. Maybe you can do both.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 10, 2010 at 11:47 PM

Sydney Menees discussed this topic in one of her recent blogs.  She is taking all the required pre-med classes and majoring in music,  She plans to be a physician.

I had a similar conundrum in my education.  I majored in chemistry in college, earned a PH.D. in biochemistry (24/7/365 work), and did a postdoc (slave labor, almost as bad as grad school).  I neglected my violin during this time, and I wish I hadn't.  It would have made me an all-around happier person.


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 11, 2010 at 12:31 AM

Hi, very happy for you!!!

Just a mini warning if the places are limited: I don't want to break the party but if ever it works like us in Canada, it is best to have more than one idea for future jobs since many who chose a similar program to yours allowing to go in medecine (with physics, biology, anatomy, maths and chaemestry courses) didn't make it and were stuck with no idea (about just 2% or slightly more succed)...  I was trapped as well as the others since I wanted to be dentist but happened just a little under what they wanted because of these maths courses... grrrrr (despite super grades at high school like many in the program)  Fourtunately have the grades to be in something else in healthcare and will maybe reaply one day cause they accept people from university as well.

But if ever it is not like us WHICH I WISH YOU VERY MUCH good luck and super happy for you!!!   My maker has many doctors and curiously many cellist doctors!   I agree that healthcare and music is very related.  BEST WHISHES!


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 11, 2010 at 12:48 AM

Pauline what you say is interesting! First of all BRAVO!!!  I am going very soon at university and I have this dilemma. Do I "give it all" in my university studies like I did in my sciences in college (and has made me very very unhappy and sad because I neglected violin to do so...) or is it better to aim for a little less at school but do more violin?  I'm not clever ennough to do violin to a good level while studying hard at school so one of the two has to pay (huh...)  and I hate to always put my happiness aside to do "logical" choice of course.  Anyway, I guess the key is to relate it to music. Ex: specialize yourself in musician problems if you become an OT or physiotherapist, do an Alexander technique sideline along with your job to have musician custumers(thanks to for promoting AT) etc  Tricky choice no and very costly on either side this is the hick...


From Jose Correia
Posted on January 11, 2010 at 2:50 AM

Hi, first of all I wanna thank you all for your words of support!!!.

Actually Im planning to specialize in something like angiology, or heart surgery, not sure yet.... So I though about something to use my violin to help people, I would like to play for really sick patients, like kids who have cancer..... not sure yet but it would feel great to use my art to help sick people :).

From P. Trouvé
Posted on January 12, 2010 at 3:09 AM


and yes med and music goes well together, you will find that many students (and teachers) play an instrument.  Look at your university if they do not have and orchestra for health care students (here they do, and they do a few benefit concerts for good health causes).

Enjoy your studies and your violin!

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