Four Steps to Recover from Procrastinating

Due to events that I’m deciding to call “out of my control,” I did approximately diddly-squat this past week. Sometimes life happens and you end up procrastinating. Let’s say you got bit by a mosquito and things spiraled and you went to the ER for a little bit. Or maybe your life isn’t as unnecessarily dramatic as mine and you just spent time sleeping instead of doing homework. Regardless, it’s Sunday night and you have a ton of stuff that needs to get done. How do you handle

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

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

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

5 Ways to Handle Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is basically a fact of life. I’m on my second performance degree right now, and just started my second decade as a performer, and I still get some pre-performance electricity going even for “small” performances. However, just because you’ve got some adrenaline going doesn’t have to mean you feel sick or terrified. It’s all a matter of perspective. Here’s how to feel pumped instead of petrified when you perform: Flip your thinking. The most useful thing for

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

How to Handle Fear of Uncertainty

So I realized the other day: I’m an adult. I’m like, old. In a year and half, I’ll be entering the Real World finally, and I’ll need a for-real source of income, not just my campus job. This was an uncomfortable realization, to say the least. Most musicians’ careers aren’t likely to fit the “traditional” trajectory that people imagine. That uncertainty is nerve-wracking. Here’s how we can all handle it! Take up a side-hustle. Something that helps me keep my anxiety under cont

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

4 Ways to Tell If You Should Turn Down a Gig

I’ll be completely honest: I’m relatively new to the world of paying gigs. My undergrad was not in a good location for classical performance, so pretty much all of my performances were unpaid, just to get something for my CV. However, now that I’m in a new city, I have MANY more performance opportunities, as well as a ton of unpaid gigs that just seem super fun. How’s a musician to choose? Here’s how to decide when to take or pass on a gig! Is it worth your time? Literally, i

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 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

How to Boost Self-Confidence

proanotherworkgress asked: How do you work on having more self-confidence in yourself as a musician and in your work? Basically how do you prevent yourself from selling yourself short? Confidence is such a huge and delicate part of being a good musician. Without it, plenty of talented individuals with great potential end up dropping their musical dreams, convinced they’re awful. With too much, other musicians sometimes burn bridges or blow auditions because they don’t prepare

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

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

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

Terminology – A-Da

If there’s one thing I’ve gotten scolded for in my lessons, it’s failing to know the definition of a term in my sheet music. Even beyond that, it’s embarrassing to be corrected on a piece of terminology that you thought you knew the meaning of! With that in mind, I’m beginning to compile a list of basic music terms that every musician should know. If you see one that isn’t included here, or think of one for a later part of the alphabet, let me know! First seen on my Patreon!

Do’s and Don’ts for College Audition Repertoire

Auditioning​ for college is probably one of the most nerve-racking​ things a musician will do in their career. However, the rep you choose can go a long way to making you feel better about it! Here’s some do’s and don’ts for choosing your audition repertoire to show off your skills. Do: Choose rep you are confident in. This is honestly the most important rule. If you aren’t confident in your music, it’s going to show. Choose stuff that you could perform in your sleep, and liv

Public vs. Private vs. Conservatory

There are several types of post-secondary education available to musicians. The main forms of official education fall in two general categories: liberal arts universities, and conservatories. Universities can be further divided into public and private schools. They all have benefits and drawbacks, and with roughly 5300 schools in the US, there’s going to be one out there that fits your needs. University Overall, universities are focused on providing a diverse education and pr

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

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