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

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

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

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

5 Ways to Feel Better in 5 Minutes

I know at least one person who has lost all motivation because summer has begun. There’s something about not being in a regular, structured environment full of like-minded peers that just kinda brings people down, you know? However, you don’t have to succumb to feeling gross now that summer is here. Remember, self-care is important! Here are five tips that can be completed in five minutes and make life feel a little better. Wash your face. It doesn’t have to even be a full wa

What To Do When Music Shouldn’t Be Your Career

Something that a lot of prospective music majors discover in their first year or two at college is this: a music career isn’t for everyone. Music is mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding. It is incredibly competitive. There is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll ever “succeed” in a performance career, no matter how good a player you are. You might lack the stamina or dedication or sheer cussedness required to audition a thousand times and get rejected 997 of that 10

How to Handle a Bruised Ego

First seen on my Patreon. Musicians have to walk a careful line. On the one hand, it takes a certain amount of ego to believe that you can and should get up and perform regularly. On the other hand, the ego is a terribly fragile organ, easily bruised when watching performances by, say, someone two years younger but much more accomplished than yourself. It stings, and that’s okay. Here’s how to handle having your ego bruised (or worse). Remember that everyone has a different b

Stress and How To Deal

Stress is a given in college. At some point in your college career, you are going to look at your responsibilities and the amount of time you have available, you will do some math, and you are going to come up with a time deficit so large you’ll cry. It happens to everyone, whether it’s because of Too Many Commitments, or just run of the mill procrastination. Even if you manage to keep your schedule flowing kind of smoothly, there’s other sources of stress that will sneak up

Battling Insecurity

The biggest demon of most musicians is a feeling of insecurity. It’s the creeping (or blatant) suspicion that you are literally the worst musician in the world — or at least nowhere near as good as you “should” be. It can also manifest as the idea that you’re going to: get laughed at by your peers, be a complete failure at everything you ever attempt, be revealed as a fraud, find out everyone is just humoring you, find out that your doubters were right, end up completely dest

How to Use Break to Love Music Again

After a semester of spending your life incredibly focused on music, it can be really, really tempting to spend your whole winter break ignoring your instrument. After all, you just spent 14ish weeks living and breathing music – sometimes the thought of spending your vacation working with your instrument seems awful. However, if you want to keep improving, it’s important to not bail on music your entire vacation. Instead, use your vacation to learn how to love music again! Tak

The Importance of the Brain Vacation

So yesterday, I bought a fish tank. I probably should not have, because it ate up all my free time yesterday, and it was expensive, and it’s going to take regular maintenance until I decide I no longer want fish. It was silly, and unnecessary, and maybe a little weird, and it doesn’t even have fish in it yet, but I love it. My fish tank is a good example of what I like to call a brain vacation. As a musician, my life revolves about 98%  of the time around music. For the most

You Are Valid

Music is one of the toughest majors out there. Not just because of the classwork – although I can tell you, that part is tough too. No, it’s tough because of the sheer number of people you’ll meet who do not believe in it. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who will sit through a movie with an amazing soundtrack (written by musicians, performed by instrumentalists), sing to the radio on the way home (playing music written and performed by musicians), go to th

Efficient Practice Tips

To practice effectively, you need to be able to do two main things: prioritize, and know when you’ve lost focus. A lot of performance majors feel overwhelmed at the sheer amount of music they need to learn, but that doesn’t need to be the case. If you practice efficiently, you’ll find it much easier to learn all of your music quickly. Don’t dive into the music and try to play the entire piece right away. I know how tempting it is to just sit down and go through new music in o

Self-Care for Musicians

DID YOU KNOW: Being a music major is widely considered highly stressful. A friend of mine made a joke the other day about how she is always on the verge of tears, she is so stressed as a musician. Then she saw a squirrel and started crying because it had an acorn. Keep in mind, my school has been in session three days. And while that might be a bit extreme, that constant sense of stress is something a lot of musicians are familiar with. However, just because being stressed is

4 Reasons to Stick with Music

I will be completely honest here: one of the strangest but most predictable events of my musical school year is the annual Fleeing of the Freshmen. This event, as regular as the tides and sad like lemmings, occurs around the end of first semester. Freshman who were only three months ago bright-eyed and bushy-tailed head to their advisers’ offices, and for a million reasons drop their music majors and switch to something else. It might be class loads that they don’t like – “Ho

Musical Burnout: How To Avoid It

Finals are basically over for most people, which means that burn-out may or may not be on your mind anymore. I know I feel amazing now that all my things are over, but if you had a rough semester, you might be feeling like you got hit by a truck and now you never want to play a note ever again.  Or, on the flip side, you had an awesome jury or recital, and now you can’t seem to make yourself practice. Both of those, my friends, are types of burnout. Burnout is rough. I was st