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

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

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

How to Network Well

Something I’ve been asking a lot of music professionals recently is, “What even is networking?” I usually ask this shortly after asking questions like “How was your day?” and “Did you know that I wrote a book?” The answers I get, in order, are usually, “Fine,” “No! I’ll go buy it!” and “It’s just making friends with people.” That’s really all that networking is, honestly. It’s a stereotypical business term – something opaque and confusing and a little intimidating that distra

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

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

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

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

4 Reasons Why You Should Be Friends with Your Classmates

Hey, did you know it’s good for you to be friends with your fellow students? I’m always surprised when people are shocked about this. It may be something about the majors I’m in, but many people I know were genuinely surprised at how many career musicians got to where they are today based on the people they know. It’s something business majors have pounded into their skulls, but music majors are never really taught. That, combined with the innate competitiveness (and therefor

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 Find and Choose Repertoire

So you’ve finally hit the point in my musical career where you’re not just allowed or encouraged, but expected to bring your own ideas for new repertoire to the table. It’s intimidating, since before about 98% of what you’ve performed has always been at the suggestion of one of your teachers. You don’t really have many immediately apparent resources for finding new rep. What are you supposed to even do?? I’m in this exact same place right now, my friend. It’s nerve-wracking,

Nine Ways to Network with Professors

It turns out that music faculty, in general, can be kind of intimidating. Who knew? Certainly not the flute professor who wears all black and is permanently scowling. However, one of the most important things you can do for your music career, both right now and in the future, is to be A) recognizable to your professors, B) liked by your professors, and hopefully C) trusted by your professors. In order to do this, you have to actually – gasp – NETWORK with them. Now, the major