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

7 Holiday Study Moods

Winter finals are soon, as are the holidays! Combine the best of both worlds and use some holiday study moods to get you ready for everything. Pine-Scented Pals: Earl Grey, Leslie Odom Jr’s Christmas album, writing essays with your best friend. Fa la la la friendship! You can motivate each other! Solstice Scenester: Your favorite Starbucks holiday drink, sitting on that comfy velvet couch every Starbucks has, reading the most impressive looking textbooks you have. Gosh, you’r

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 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 a Schedule and Stick to It

I have a Patreon! Please consider supporting this blog. The question I received recently from tumblr user @life-of-mack was this:  “How to make a practice/work/school schedule and stick to it?” That’s certainly a tough venture, sometimes. The short answer? Discipline. If only it were so simple, right? If the only reason we don’t stick to schedules was because we didn’t realize it takes discipline to do so, then the world would be a much more organized place. However, there ar

How to Tour a School

The following article is taken verbatim from my book, How to Music Major: Surviving the College Search! It’s on Amazon and all other places ebooks are sold. There’s lots of stuff in it, drawing on my own experience and my friends’ knowledge of getting into and succeeding at the whole College Dealio. If you have topics that you’d like to see included in the next book, What to Expect Freshman Year, message me and ask! So you’ve chosen some interesting schools — now you’re going

How to Ask for an Internship

Internships are the bane of the Millenial’s existence. The average internship is essentially a means of getting either a coffee-runner or drudge-worker for dirt-cheap or even free. Meanwhile, the intern themself is usually paying for rent and food while doing said drudge-work for free (or possibly even paying for it!), all in the hopes of one day, maybe, eventually getting a job. However, the internship is still considered a prime way to “get into” the music industry, and as

Fall Study Aesthetics

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in the mood for fall since about July. When you consider that midterms are in a week, and my window was frosted over this morning, I think that it’s time for a study moods post about the best season. Each mood can be done individually, or you can do all seven over the course of a week! The PSL: Drinking a PSL, at a Starbucks, listening to the hum of people around you and writing an essay. This is the most Basic Fall Mood. I know I certain

Plan Your Schedule!

‘Tis the season to plan your schedule for next semester. Yes, already. Which means it is time for a reminder that you Need! To! Plan! All! Four! Years!! Don’t go semester by semester to plan out your classes. That is how you guarantee that you will be in school at least an extra semester, taking a 100 level class you forgot your sophomore year. So. How do you actually plan out four years of academic classes? Spreadsheets, my friend. Spreadsheets. 1. Put EVERY SINGLE CLASS YOU

What’s a Jury?? Help

Juries: the looming cloud at the end of every semester. Freshmen are told about them, and upperclassmen complain and warn about them. But what, in fact, are they? Who knows? I do. I know. I’m sorry, I tried to be dramatic there, and it didn’t – anyway. A jury is basically your final every semester for your private lessons. Every instrument is different, but for essentially every one, you will play some solo repertoire. You may also need to perform scales, or depending on your

How to Buy Textbooks (A Beginner’s Guide)

It turns out that textbooks are like, HELLA expensive. Just, so expensive. So costly. Too much. A student who has their first semester of Many Required Textbooks can really face some sticker shock when it comes to getting their books. But fear not! Here are some tips to HALVE your textbook costs this semester! Check your school’s library for books before you buy them. A lot of textbooks are held at your school’s library, as are books for “supplemental reading.” Go online and

Four Ways to Improve Pit Classes

Most people end up taking at least a couple pit classes in college – yes, even musicians. It’s a rite of passage, almost. A ritual. Imagine: You sit in a room with three hundred other people. You watch the Elder in front of you, listen to their words, write down what you can and hope to remember the rest. There will be a Test. Those who pass the Test will be allowed to move on and learn deeper, more arcane knowledge, while those who don’t may be rejected entirely. That sounds

Seven Study Moods to Start School Strong!

Semester begins, for me at least, in about two weeks. Academic stuff is already beginning to fill my plate, with graduate school applications starting to be due in MID OCTOBER, jeegus. This means that it’s time for my first STUDY MOOD post of the new school year! These are all ways I like to study – they keep me focused and grounded in what I’m trying to do. Pick your favorite, or try one a day all week! The Gardener: Drinking mint tea, drawing mind maps in a nature-filled sp

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 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

How to Survive Week 1

So college starts again soon. Like, really soon. My sister has a countdown until she moves in – she has 25 days. However, a lot of people don’t really think beyond the whole “school is starting up again aaaaaaaaaaaaah” panic to figure out exactly how they’re going to handle that first week back. It’s an important week – starting off strong will give you a good foundation for the rest of the semester. How should you do that? It’s funny you asked, because I’ve been spending som


It’s happening. I’ve hinted online, I’ve mentioned surprises, and this is it! What what! I will be releasing How to Music Major: Surviving the College Search this coming week. This is my guide to, you guessed it, surviving and thriving during the music major application process. This book contains some of my most requested answers, including: How auditions actually work! How to figure out whether a music major is right for you! How to handle audition nerves! AND MORE! It is g

Things to Prepare for the School Year

So I saw the first “Back to School” ad on Amazon today, which means it is time to start reminding people of what is Actually Necessary for the school year. This isn’t a school supplies list, really. It’s more of a guide as to what you should probably have ready before the school year begins. A planner system that works for you. I like the bullet journal system, but that’s mostly because I have to write down EVERYTHING I need to do or it gets forgotten immediately. Normal plan

How and WHY to Plan Your Classes Out

So! You’re an incoming freshman, or you’ve just changed your major, or you have just decided that you want to make sure you know when you’re going to graduate. Basically, you wanna know what you’re actually going to be DOING for the next couple years, and want to avoid being in school for three years longer than you need to be. Which is completely fair! The problem is that I have yet to see a departmental planning sheet for a major that included gen eds. I have never seen a s