Five Essential Job Skills You Can Learn in Any Major

There are a lot of majors out there that supposedly “don’t have jobs.” You may have heard that you “can’t just get a job at the Philosophy factory,” or that tenure-track professorships are going away. Fair enough. However, unemployment is currently at a decade low, which means all these philosophy and music and history majors are finding work somewhere. How? Well, my guess is that a lot of them know how to convince employers that their skills are useful. Here are five job ski

New Year’s Resolution: What All Music Majors Should Make

The new year is almost upon us. Last semester is finally over, and grades have (hopefully) started rolling in. If you didn’t get the grades you wanted this semester, the new year is a great time make a resolution to start new habits. Here are six habits to help your grades grow in 2018! Schedule your study time. Take the time to actually create a schedule, first and foremost. Then, once you’ve got all your classes and obligations written down, add in time every day for studyi

5 Ways to Prepare for Important Auditions

Auditions are one of those things that no musician will ever be truly finished with. Unless you’re Renee Fleming, you’re going to have to audition for stuff. So with that in mind, here’s how to prepare for an audition: Know your music. Duh. But seriously, know it forwards and backwards and in your sleep. So, know your music’s history, know its context, know its composer’s favorite color. The better you know your music, the less likely you’ll have a weird slip during the audit

4 Ways to Use Perseverance to Get What You Want

Perseverance is probably one of the most important skills for musicians artists creative people ANYONE to have. And when I call it a skill, I mean it. It’s not a trait. There isn’t a magic switch that makes some people “more perseverant” than others. There’s simply a difference between how people rank their priorities, and how much they’re willing to do to actually make their desires a reality. A more perseverant person often is just a person that is better at figuring out wh

How to Handle Fear of Uncertainty

So I realized the other day: I’m an adult. I’m like, old. In a year and half, I’ll be entering the Real World finally, and I’ll need a for-real source of income, not just my campus job. This was an uncomfortable realization, to say the least. Most musicians’ careers aren’t likely to fit the “traditional” trajectory that people imagine. That uncertainty is nerve-wracking. Here’s how we can all handle it! Take up a side-hustle. Something that helps me keep my anxiety under cont

4 Ways to Create a Supportive Environment

There’s a connecting thread that runs through all of my experiences in music. Basically, it is MUCH more fun to be a part of a group that’s filled with positivity. However, a lot of musicians, instead of building each other up, become a little catty about people they don’t like. I wrote about this recently, in a post about what NOT to do at rehearsals, and I’ve been noticing the difference more and more over the course of the semester. The groups that make it a point to have

4 Ways to Tell If You Should Turn Down a Gig

I’ll be completely honest: I’m relatively new to the world of paying gigs. My undergrad was not in a good location for classical performance, so pretty much all of my performances were unpaid, just to get something for my CV. However, now that I’m in a new city, I have MANY more performance opportunities, as well as a ton of unpaid gigs that just seem super fun. How’s a musician to choose? Here’s how to decide when to take or pass on a gig! Is it worth your time? Literally, i

5 Important Rules for Rehearsals

I’m in a new city, with a new performance crowd, and in a bunch of new ensembles. It has opened my eyes to some habits that I had started to ignore at my undergrad. Stuff I had started ignoring as just character traits of people I’d performed with for years now leaps out as unprofessional behavior. A lot of it comes from adults long out of school, too, so keep that in mind when you start performing in the wider world! Be early.  If you’re not at LEAST five minutes early, you’

5 Ways to Cut Drama from Your Life

I detest drama. It’s gross. Drama is uncomfortable and awkward and makes me want to pack my bags and move away. However, no matter where you go to school, or work, or live, conflict is going to come up. There’s always someone in your surroundings who attracts drama like a weird magnet, or personalities that don’t mesh well. Here’s how to handle those uncomfortable moments without spontaneously combusting like you want to. Think before you speak. Would you say something if the

How to Change Your Class Schedule After School Starts

Choosing classes is hard. There’s tons of requirements for music majors, and a strict order in which you need to take most classes. Plus, gen eds are a pain in the butt and are sometimes actively painful. (I dunked my face in ice water for thirty seconds for a bio class once and it HURT.) Unless your advisor is a miracle worker, I guarantee that at least once in your college career you’ll need to add or drop a class after semester starts. Because you forgot about it, or becau

How to Make an Awesome First Impression at College

School starts soon. Yeah, stop screaming, it’s a fact, chill. With a new school year coming up, there’s a great opportunity approaching: the chance to make a BOMB first impression on all your new classmates. This is especially true if you’ve transferred or if you’re a new student! I’m starting grad school in the fall, and so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this recently. Here’s how we can both make an amazing first impression on our new peers! Be Humble. Everyone you

How to Meet a New Music Teacher

Something I didn’t realize when I was younger was how often I was going to study music under someone new. If you’ve played music for more than a year, you’ve probably already had at least one “new” musical mentor, either as a new teacher, an additional teacher, or a new director. And every time, it’s stressful until I figure out what the new person is like. Every teacher is different, and going into that first lesson I never know what to expect. Here’s a guide to making a goo

Terminology – A-Da

If there’s one thing I’ve gotten scolded for in my lessons, it’s failing to know the definition of a term in my sheet music. Even beyond that, it’s embarrassing to be corrected on a piece of terminology that you thought you knew the meaning of! With that in mind, I’m beginning to compile a list of basic music terms that every musician should know. If you see one that isn’t included here, or think of one for a later part of the alphabet, let me know! First seen on my Patreon!

Do’s and Don’ts for College Audition Repertoire

Auditioning​ for college is probably one of the most nerve-racking​ things a musician will do in their career. However, the rep you choose can go a long way to making you feel better about it! Here’s some do’s and don’ts for choosing your audition repertoire to show off your skills. Do: Choose rep you are confident in. This is honestly the most important rule. If you aren’t confident in your music, it’s going to show. Choose stuff that you could perform in your sleep, and liv

How To Intern

If there is one experience that will unite every college student I know, it’s that of the internship. Every single person who attends my college has to do something along the lines of a semester-long apprenticeship at a company vaguely related to their major, getting paid peanuts (or nothing!) for the ‘experience.’ Interning is a lot of thankless work sometimes. However, just because it seems kinda pointless doesn’t mean you can’t get something from even the dullest internshi

How to Handle Messing Up

A lot of musicians are perfectionists. Surprise surprise, the kind of person willing to spend four hours practicing a day wants to be perfect! However, in college and in life, there are going to be times that you, for whatever reason, do something just really remarkably poorly. It might be a performance. It might be a project. It might be an assignment you have at work. And eventually, one of these times are going to result in negative consequences. It’s the way life works. I

How to Talk to Your Adviser

Sending emails is gross. Cold-contacting someone to ask for a favor is gross. Asking for help – gross. The thing is, when you’re in college and you need help, you need to do all of those things. Recently, a friend basically had heart palpitations over contacting their adviser about grad school stuff, and while understandable, it isn’t necessary! Advisers in general should not be terrifying people. They are literally getting paid to help you out. Be calm. I promise you, advise

How to Network Well

Something I’ve been asking a lot of music professionals recently is, “What even is networking?” I usually ask this shortly after asking questions like “How was your day?” and “Did you know that I wrote a book?” The answers I get, in order, are usually, “Fine,” “No! I’ll go buy it!” and “It’s just making friends with people.” That’s really all that networking is, honestly. It’s a stereotypical business term – something opaque and confusing and a little intimidating that distra

How to Write Professional Emails

So it turns out that writing emails to someone More Adult than you is the worst thing in the world. It doesn’t matter if they’re a teacher, an employer, or just someone you need to communicate something to – it is the worst. HOWEVER, that does not mean you can’t do the thing. I went from basically tearing up any time I had to do this thing, to only doing so for really really hard email. Which I will call an improvement. Here is how to properly write a Professional Email: Open

4 Reasons Why You Should Be Friends with Your Classmates

Hey, did you know it’s good for you to be friends with your fellow students? I’m always surprised when people are shocked about this. It may be something about the majors I’m in, but many people I know were genuinely surprised at how many career musicians got to where they are today based on the people they know. It’s something business majors have pounded into their skulls, but music majors are never really taught. That, combined with the innate competitiveness (and therefor