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Most of us believe that with the confidence and musical talent of someone like Beyonce that we could conquer the world. I recently met Rebekah Parker, who actually encompasses that kind of spirit and amazing raw talent. She’s the youngest professor at Oklahoma City University, and on top of having the voice on an angel, she’s also a well-respected pianist and flutist.
Name: Rebekah Parker Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Job Title: Professor of Music, Vocal Coach, and Pianist Educational Background: BA in piano performance, MM in cocal coaching
Growing up, both of Rebekah’s parents were music teachers. She and her three siblings were practically born with instruments in their hands, which made for a very creative but hectic environment growing up. If it wasn’t vocal lessons, then it was play practice; and if it wasn’t play practice, then it was a piano recital.
Rebekah never really liked hanging out with the girls her age because she “felt less identifiable with the girly-girl things. It just wasn’t my personality.” While all the other girls were obsessing over clothes or their latest crush, Rebekah was trying to memorize sheet music and nail high notes.
There are two women who have really guided Rebekah through life over the years. The first is her aunt, a world history teacher with a passion for travel and adventure. She took Rebekah on her very first trip out of the country, which opened her eyes to different cultures and views. “Experience is really important to who I am and who I’ve come to be at this age,” Rebekah told me.
Her second major mentor was her high school choir teacher — like her aunt, her teacher commanded respect and oozed confidence. What attracted Rebekah and other students to her was the fact that she took a sincere interest in them. She also didn’t have to struggle to control the group because everyone wanted the harmony (pun intended) that was formed by her guidance.
Rebekah was (and still is) a total book nerd and used to lock herself in a room for hours and hours getting lost in a fantasy world. She practically worships one author in particular, not only for her writing but for being “fearless” and “very generous” outside the fantasy world as well: J.K Rowling. She’s motivated by R.J. Rowling to become successful and give back to the community and the world.
How Her Story Impacted Me
The most inspiring part of Rebekah, to me, came out when we were sitting on her fluffy couch discussing what her greatest accomplishment to date was. According to Rebekah, she was overweight for most of her life — and there were many factors, like lack of motivation and hopelessness. Despite the causes, the result was not being comfortable in her own skin. Often she would mentally push the problem aside and focus on music and her career.
As an adult, she decided to shine a light on this issue and take action — and it’s clear she’s been successful because she looks fantastic! She told me that a big part of this transition was “learning to love myself…it’s a process I think you always have to be doing. It’s changed how I’m able to live and interact with people forever.”
I learned from Rebekah that you can overcome anything you set your mind to. Seeing the beautiful, sophisticated, and selfless person she’s become gives me hope for my future.