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

5 Ways to Prepare for Important Auditions

Auditions are one of those things that no musician will ever be truly finished with. Unless you’re Renee Fleming, you’re going to have to audition for stuff. So with that in mind, here’s how to prepare for an audition: Know your music. Duh. But seriously, know it forwards and backwards and in your sleep. So, know your music’s history, know its context, know its composer’s favorite color. The better you know your music, the less likely you’ll have a weird slip during the audit

5 Tips to Have a Successful Jury

First seen on my Patreon! Juries are upon us. It is the time of panicking freshman, smug recitalists (because they don’t need to perform a jury), and general Stress in the music department. However, that doesn’t need to be the case. Juries are not a horrible trial placed upon innocent musicians – instead, they are a celebration of the hard work and learning you’ve done this semester. Here’s how to make sure you celebrate it well. Remember you are prepared. Your entire semeste

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

What to Bring to Competitions

There’s a big statewide competition coming up for me and members of my studio, and all of the freshmen are starting to get jittery. Recently, one asked me, “Like, what are we even doing? What do I need to bring? Help!” I had the same panicky feeling my freshman year (and honestly still do, shhhh). Luckily, I now mostly know what I’m doing, since I’ve been around the block a couple times. There’s a couple important things to keep in mind about most competitions: They are all-d

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 Prepare for Auditions

My first college audition went kinda awful. I was terrified the entire time, and don’t actually remember most of it. I wouldn’t wish those kind of nerves on anyone. Honestly, the thing that actually PREVENTS audition nerves in the first place is being prepared. Knowing what you’re doing is the best way to feel confident. (If you don’t know what you’re doing, faking it helps.) Rehearse in front of people. The worst stage fright usually happens because you’ve never performed a

How to Handle Failing an Audition

If you are, were, are going to be, or even considered being a music major in college, then you know the fear of Not Getting In. (Heck, in broader terms this applies to college in general, too.) It’s the fear of finishing the application, of doing the audition,  of getting through everything, and then being told, “I’m sorry, but we had many wonderful applicants this year and you were unfortunately not chosen.” Or even worse, just getting a form letter. Or worst of ALL, just ne

5 Signs You Should Major in Music

If there’s one question I have gotten more than anything else, it’s probably “Why are you so excited about a choral song?” Answer: Because it’s a Stephen Hatfield piece, duh. Now, if there’s one question RELATED TO THIS BLOG that I’ve received the most, it’s “How can I know if a music major is right for me?” Answer: that’s a lot harder to figure out. However, there are some signs that you can look for to see if it’s something to consider. Five, to be precise! You  love music.

How to Practice Music Around Finals

The problem with finals week is that everything is suddenly due at once. The project is due the same week as the big test is due the same day as the massive paper is due the day before your jury. For the average music major, this piles stress on top of stress, because somehow you have to know all these composers from 600 years of music history, AND have the analysis paper finished? AND finish that composition? AND PASS YOUR JURY? AT THE SAME TIME?!?! How can you find time to