Kay Miller Horne, Professional Musician & Vocalist
An interview with Kay Miller Horne.
- What was your means of income before you returned to college?
I quit a job of 10 years at Exxon-Mobil to start a family and be a stay at home mom. This was the first time since I was 13 that I was dependent on anyone else other that myself for anything. This was a huge step for me, and eventually became my unwinding. When I realized that my divorce was inevitable, I began to pray earnestly and ask God for something to help me make money and not have to be away from my very young children every day. God, in His infinite wisdom, began to orchestrate a plan that in my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined. I went to dinner with friends one night in early spring of 2008 to celebrate a birthday. And, as it would be there was a grand piano at the restaurant. My friends begged me to play it, and the manager agreed. From that one night, my journey back to music began, and God allowed me to begin playing weekends only at that restaurant, and making good money, and I could stay home with my boys during the week.
2. Can you recall the first trigger or event that caused you to think about returning to college? Please share.
I also knew that both of my boys would be starting school full-time in the fall of 2008 and I knew that it would not be healthy for me to sit at home, alone, all day, every day. I knew I would fall into a depression, beating myself up for all my bad decisions mistakes. On a whim, I stopped one Monday morning and picked up a paper from the corner store. There on the front page was an article spotlighting a new music program at Lamar State College- Port Arthur. When I say God was planning my life, I do not say so lightly. I had attended college there before some 20+ years ago and until that moment had never thought of returning. I was given the gift of music by the Good Lord and thought it might be nice to finally figure out what it is I play, figure out the theory behind it. So, I prayed again and petitioned the Lord. I said “God, if this isn’t where I am supposed to be, and if it’s not what I am supposed to do, please let this door slam shut. The last thing I want to do is sink a bunch of hard-earned money into something that I am going to fail at.” Well, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. I was accepted into the program after auditioning, I was the oldest female graduate, graduated with a 4.0 GPA, and it has helped me so much in my career as a professional singer and pianist.
3. What is the degree or certification you earned or that you are working towards?
My degree – Associate of Applied Science in Commercial Music – In Performance
4. How will/did earning this degree or certificate change your life?
Earning this degree changed my life because it taught me to keep my priorities straight. I was able to focus on what was important, complete the necessary tasks, and still have time for my boys. It was also a great opportunity to teach my boys about completing the tasks they are assigned. I am thankful for the remedial math and the college algebra I had to take. It better prepared me for when my 7th grader was needing help with homework. I would have been lost without that class. I gave me confidence in what I am doing for a living now. It gave me wisdom and knowledge to interact with other musicians and audio engineers that I didn’t have before attending college.
5. How will or did it also change the lives of your children?
My children got to see me in my role as a student, and as a performer. It also changed my boys’ lives because I met their step dad while attending college. I was a single mom for almost 5 years. When I met their step dad he was an instructor at college. They met him first as just my friend and we kept it that way for a long time. I felt like my boys didn’t need to meet him as a boyfriend until we were certain this was the real thing. Children don’t adapt to change as quickly as adults do, and I didn’t feel it was right to waltz men in and out of their lives.
6. How did you manage to pay for the tuition, books, etc.?
I was fortunate that the program I was in was a new program and they were offering great scholarships. I took advantage of these scholarships too! They are there, you just have to be diligent and apply for them. I also received several other scholarships because of my grades. Studying pays! I was able to make my tuition in monthly installments. I purchased books from used sites on lines and from other students when possible.
7. How long was the process for you from beginning to end?
Because I had to take remedial math (being out of school for 20+ years makes you rusty), it took me 2.5 years to complete a 2 year program.
8. What kept you going when the going got rough?
I was determined to get my money’s worth and prove to all those young whipper-snappers that this old girl could raise 2 kids, keep house, wash clothes, cook, grocery shop, work, study and make straight A’s! I am a bit competitive.
9. What suggestions do you have for other single moms thinking of returning to college?
Go for it! Why not? You only live once! If you want to be something, you can do it. It’s not easy, but most things worth having aren’t.
10. Give a description of your life before and after this endeavor.
My life before this experience was full of a lot of searching. I knew I had a passion for music, but my decisions in life had filled my passion spot with sadness. It was a huge step for me to step up to the plate and be willing to leave my sadness behind and open up to see if the passion was still inside of me. It was there, it is alive and growing again. I am still finding more passion in my music, in my boys, in my life. I encourage you to do the same. Life has been rough. It’s been sad. Be willing to put your sadness down. Open up and begin a search for your passion.
Kay was a full-time student, full-time mom, and juggled a full-time schedule of performing on weekends. She graduated December of 2010, with her second Associate’s degree, as a Performance Major in the Commercial Music Department. Hard work and perseverance paid off and she thanks the good Lord every chance she gets for this incredible stroke of fate in her life. Kay met her new husband, Aaron, while pursuing this degree. Kay and Aaron are joint owners of Four Eyes Recording Studio in Beaumont, Texas and are working on several CD projects of their own. Kay continues to play music locally on weekends, as well as participating in and providing worship music for retreats and local women’s events.