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 Make a Schedule and Stick To It

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 are ways to make it easier to be disciplined. Be realistic

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 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

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

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 Start Teaching

Most musicians end up teaching at least a little, in order to help make ends meet. Some teach as their primary source of income. The thing is, to the young musician, there is no real guide to how to start teaching in the first place. It can be confusing to begin, I know, but as someone who has started teaching recently (look at the top of the page! There’s my teaching stuff!) I promise that you can figure it out. Find a teaching space. Before you even begin to think about tea

Best Jobs for College Musicians

It turns out that being a music major doesn’t always result in lots of income, you know? Especially not when you’re still in school. So if you are anything like me, you’re looking for another way to earn some cash on the side, to fund your caffeine addiction. From some In-Depth Research (asking my music friends about their jobs and how much they liked them) I have come up with a list of some of the best jobs you can get as a college musician! Desk Job Receptionist (hotel or o

Why You Should Take Lessons Over the Summer

Summer is a time of laziness. Golly gee, do I know that. However, that’s no excuse to totally ignore your instrument. In fact, summer being such a lazy time is actually a good reason to keep up with your instrument – being relaxed and having less pressure (read: not having juries!) means you can focus better on things. The problem is that during summer, there’s no enforced structure for most student types. There’s no class-practice-work-socialize-sleep kind of cycle for you t

How to Use Your Summer

Hey! Are you like me? Do you ALSO have huge plans for stuff you are going to accomplish over the summer? And yet, do you wake up in September to find you didn’t do, like, anything? Awesome! And by awesome, I mean the opposite of that. We have a problem, you and I. We suffer from Summer Procrastination-itis. Summer Procrastination-itis can be rough. It stems from having too much free time – this is one of those “too much of a good thing” scenarios that sitcom mothers warn peop