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

Four Important Self-Care Tips for Musicians

We musicians can be our own worst enemy. Our passion causes us to care too much, our perfectionism causes us to avoid practicing, and our unclear career paths stress us out no end. So in order to make sure we actually succeed in this art that we love, we need to take care of ourselves. Here are four self-care tips for musicians to make the most of their passion. Take purposeful breaks. Procrastinating does not count as a real break. A real break is on purpose, to rest, and fe

4 Ways to Use Perseverance to Get What You Want

Perseverance is probably one of the most important skills for musicians artists creative people ANYONE to have. And when I call it a skill, I mean it. It’s not a trait. There isn’t a magic switch that makes some people “more perseverant” than others. There’s simply a difference between how people rank their priorities, and how much they’re willing to do to actually make their desires a reality. A more perseverant person often is just a person that is better at figuring out wh

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

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

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

Efficient Practice Tips

To practice effectively, you need to be able to do two main things: prioritize, and know when you’ve lost focus. A lot of performance majors feel overwhelmed at the sheer amount of music they need to learn, but that doesn’t need to be the case. If you practice efficiently, you’ll find it much easier to learn all of your music quickly. Don’t dive into the music and try to play the entire piece right away. I know how tempting it is to just sit down and go through new music in o

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 Start a Performance Group

One of the things people think about when they imagine the college music experience is participating in small performance groups. They think about rock bands, chamber music groups, quartets, all sorts of stuff. However, at least at my school, there are far fewer groups than there are students. This is despite the fact that the first advice pretty much any music graduate will give is to perform in and work with a small group. So, if your school suffers the same problem, you ca

How to Display Professionalism

As someone who’s spent a decent chunk of her life in and around stage stuff, I’ve spent a long time getting exposed to various types of performers. It’s to the point where I can tell how long someone’s been performing and how seriously they take it from how they react when the director starts talking at the beginning of rehearsal. And boy howdy, have I learned to appreciate the people who are serious enough to sit down and listen. I love them with a fiery passion. These peopl

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

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,

How to Handle Impostor Syndrome

“I’m not as good as my classmates.” “I have no talent.” “I don’t deserve this.” “I’m never going to succeed.” “If people knew how bad I really am, they’d laugh at me.” All of these great comments, and more, brought to you courtesy of Impostor Syndrome! The insecurities-recommended way to talk yourself out of a career in music! Try it today! Impostor Syndrome is, to put it in scientific terms, a great big ball of dumb. It’s that feeling of somehow being less “legitimate” than

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

Musical Burnout: How To Avoid It

Finals are basically over for most people, which means that burn-out may or may not be on your mind anymore. I know I feel amazing now that all my things are over, but if you had a rough semester, you might be feeling like you got hit by a truck and now you never want to play a note ever again.  Or, on the flip side, you had an awesome jury or recital, and now you can’t seem to make yourself practice. Both of those, my friends, are types of burnout. Burnout is rough. I was st

How To Be A Better Singer

What is your foremost priority as a singer? I’m gonna bet that, unless you are already literally the best performer in the world, your goal is something along the lines of “be a better singer.” The problem is, that’s a pretty gosh-darn vague goal. Just “singing better” doesn’t mean very much. Your first step is to sit and think for a bit. What do you really mean when you say you want to be a better singer? You need a starting point. You need goals. Setting Goals Do you want t