Four Ways to Avoid Feeling Like a Failure

So! Everyone I know right now seems to be having a quarter-life crisis. Some people don’t feel like they’re good enough for their field. Some got through 5+ years of education only to find out they hate the nitty-gritty of their field. Still others just don’t know what they want to be when they grow up despite being old enough to pay for their own insurance. Whatever the cause, a lot of people feel like they’re a “failure,” despite any and all achievements. Here’s how I’ve co

How to Music Research

So you may have a research paper coming up. You may just want to know more about music. If you’re interested in getting more info on music, then here are the tips that’ll get you results. Free to anyone: Guide to Using Music Libraries: This one includes a lot of things specific to my school, but everything outside of stuff regarding the campus is universal. It contains guides for using a library, how to search for stuff using databases, useful links, music databases, and more

Seven Common Musician Complaints and How Not to Have Them

Musicians complain. A lot. If you’re a musician, and have complaints, I’ve developed a little FAC (Frequently Answered Complaints) for you to refer to when times get tough. Here’s seven common complaints musicians have, and how to stop having them! Practice sucks/is hard. Schedule it, make it a habit, and don’t push yourself too hard. The fewer decisions you have to make to get to the practice room, the simpler practice becomes. Stop when you can’t focus, and come back to it

Four Ways to Make Practice Easier

Practice: it’s what makes us good musicians! It is also the number one thing most musicians complain about online! Why is this? Well, because practice takes discipline, and that’s hard sometimes. Here’s how to make practice easier. Make it a habit. Every semester, I choose a time every day of the week to practice. Hopefully, it’s close to the same time every day, but no matter what, I set aside an hour to go to the practice room. By the third week of classes, going straight t

Four Important Self-Care Tips for Musicians

We musicians can be our own worst enemy. Our passion causes us to care too much, our perfectionism causes us to avoid practicing, and our unclear career paths stress us out no end. So in order to make sure we actually succeed in this art that we love, we need to take care of ourselves. Here are four self-care tips for musicians to make the most of their passion. Take purposeful breaks. Procrastinating does not count as a real break. A real break is on purpose, to rest, and fe

5 Ways to Handle Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is basically a fact of life. I’m on my second performance degree right now, and just started my second decade as a performer, and I still get some pre-performance electricity going even for “small” performances. However, just because you’ve got some adrenaline going doesn’t have to mean you feel sick or terrified. It’s all a matter of perspective. Here’s how to feel pumped instead of petrified when you perform: Flip your thinking. The most useful thing for

How to Finals Prep Like a Pro

Finals are approaching. Projects are getting assigned, concerts are drawing near, and cold dark weather is making it harder for anyone to have any motivation. How can a poor college student do any finals prep with all of this going on?? Like this! Organize ALL your deadlines. Post-it notes are your friends here. Get a nice chunk of wall and write a post-it for EVERY DEADLINE OR PROJECT OR PRESENTATION between now and break, then put them up in order. Take extreme satisfaction

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

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’

How to Have a Bad Day

So. In the past two hours I have: Forgotten my lunch Gotten so lost that I ended up 45 minutes late for work Destroyed my phone screen, which is partially why I was in fact 45 minutes late for work Got sent to a 7th floor that doesn’t actually exist, thanks random professor dude It hasn’t been a great day so far. It has, in fact, been bad. Bad days happen to everyone. Literally every single thing that could possibly go wrong seems to go as poorly as possible. By the third or

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 Handle Being Sick During School

If there is one thing I excel at, it’s doing my schoolwork even when I’m sick as a dog. This is because I have the immune system of an infant squirrel, and catch colds like Ash catches Pokemon. I just GOTTA catch’em all. However, after long experience, I can promise you it is possible to keep on top of schoolwork. Yes, even when your head and sinuses are full of cotton wool. Be kind to yourself. Being sick, by definition, means you’re not at full capacity. Trying to be high e

What Is a Graduate Diagnostic Exam

So, friends. I’ve been busy recently, and not writing a lot. I have just moved 80% of my belongings by volume a hundred miles (the other 20% are coming this weekends). I have started a new job, and I have done like 7 orientations for graduate school. And scariest of all – I took a thing called the Graduate Diagnostic Exam. Dun dun DUNN. I’ll admit, until I took those two tests, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I’m a hardcore overachiever, and it was super stressf

How to Shut Down Haters

The thing about being a music major (or any artsy majors) is that haters love to rag on you. There’s something about “unpractical” majors that causes people to think that they have the right to tell you you’re going to Fail horribly Be eternally broke Never succeed at any of your dreams Literally live underneath a bridge and eat mold to sustain yourself. Fortunately, none of that is true. When it comes to responding to the the people who think telling you this is okay, I can

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 Be a Scholarship Boss

I’m starting a second blog – a real, honest-to-God not-Tumblr blog, about money and saving and getting out of school debt-free. A lot of the content there is going to be similar to this post. Keep an eye out for more information, coming soon! Scholarships are some of those things that no one – NO ONE – ever values enough. A scholarship, no matter how small, is usually going to be some of the best value-for-time-spent that you’re going to get in your life. Even if the only sch

How to Practice In Spite of Everything

Anonymous asked: I’m preparing for college auditions right now and I have a problem that is even more relevant now. I want to be practicing a lot more but I have always had a problem with practice because I am constantly tired. My doctor can’t tie it back to an actual cause, and has suggested some lifestyle adjustments. While this helps a bit, practicing my instrument always makes me really tired after a few minutes. I love playing and I just don’t know what to do. Anonymous