The Six Kinds of Music Major

First seen on my Patreon! In my nearly six years of post-secondary education in music, I’ve discovered that there are six easily identifiable kinds of music major. Not every student fits one of these categories, but you’ll see these people on the regular, regardless of your school The Basement-Dweller: I don’t mean to use this in the pejorative sense. Instead, I mean that this kind of music major lives on a cot in the basement of the music building. They are so dedicated (and

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

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

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 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

Top Ten Tips for Freshmen

Anonymous asked: Hey. I’ve been following your blog for awhile. Super cool and informative! I’m going to be a freshman in college this fall and I’m kinda nervous (like anyone would be) I’m gonna major in Music Ed. Any tips for incoming freshmen??? Congratulations on getting in! Honestly, that’s a great question. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Music Freshmen Schedule in time to practice. Practice is no longer something you can do for twenty minutes when you get home from school.

How to Set Goals in Music

An anonymous person asked: I don’t know if you’ve written about this but how do you set goals? With there being so many different things to work on (ear training, sight singing, technique, composing, arranging, playing with others, etc) I’ve been having trouble actually making (or maybe tracking) progress in any of these areas. Great question! It’s simple to set goals, but not necessarily easy. The thing is that goals have to be pretty specific, otherwise you can never tell h

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

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 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 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

Four Healthy Meals from the Cafeteria

It’s like a fact of life that no matter how good your school’s dining halls are, you will hate them by the second month of your freshman year. However, that doesn’t mean switching to a take-out and vending machine diet is a good idea. That is how you get scurvy, folks. No, you should probably stick with your cafeteria as much as possible, especially if you have a meal plan. After all, that means it’s already paid for! With that in mind, here are four healthy meals I’ve put to

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

Advice to My College Freshman Self

So often I write stuff here that is supposed to be widely applicable advice. It’s supposed to help out as many people as possible! However, as I’ve just started my final year of my undergraduate degree, I’ve been thinking a lot about what would have been useful advice to my freshman self. What kind of things would have been useful for younger me to hear? So I wrote a list. Note: freshman me had a couple weird problems. You are nearly six damn feet tall. Don’t loft your bed. C

How to Talk to People

It turns out that talking to people you don’t know is SUPER SCARY. It also turns out that making friends in a room where you don’t know anyone is a really valuable skill, musician or not. And especially if you’re still in your first couple weeks of college, talking to people you don’t know is a really good thing to do! That’s how I met most of my best friends – that’s how you meet people at all. So here are some bona fide  Talking Tips from a bona fide Introvert who Talks Too

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