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

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

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

Top Ten Tips for Freshmen

Anonymous asked: Hey. I’ve been following your blog for awhile. Super cool and informative! I’m going to be a freshman in college this fall and I’m kinda nervous (like anyone would be) I’m gonna major in Music Ed. Any tips for incoming freshmen??? Congratulations on getting in! Honestly, that’s a great question. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Music Freshmen Schedule in time to practice. Practice is no longer something you can do for twenty minutes when you get home from school.

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

How to Handle Working During School

It is an unfortunate fact that most college students are obligated to work at least some during the school year. It’s not easy to do, either. A full course load is designed to be roughly equivalent to working a full-time job, in and of itself. Most schools recommend studying for a class at least three hours per credit. If I actually had the time and will-power to do that, I would be spending 19 hours in class a week, and then studying for an additional 57 hours. Each week. Th

Plan Your Schedule!

‘Tis the season to plan your schedule for next semester. Yes, already. Which means it is time for a reminder that you Need! To! Plan! All! Four! Years!! Don’t go semester by semester to plan out your classes. That is how you guarantee that you will be in school at least an extra semester, taking a 100 level class you forgot your sophomore year. So. How do you actually plan out four years of academic classes? Spreadsheets, my friend. Spreadsheets. 1. Put EVERY SINGLE CLASS YOU

Seven Study Moods to Start School Strong!

Semester begins, for me at least, in about two weeks. Academic stuff is already beginning to fill my plate, with graduate school applications starting to be due in MID OCTOBER, jeegus. This means that it’s time for my first STUDY MOOD post of the new school year! These are all ways I like to study – they keep me focused and grounded in what I’m trying to do. Pick your favorite, or try one a day all week! The Gardener: Drinking mint tea, drawing mind maps in a nature-filled sp

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

I’M RELEASING AN eBOOK.

It’s happening. I’ve hinted online, I’ve mentioned surprises, and this is it! What what! I will be releasing How to Music Major: Surviving the College Search this coming week. This is my guide to, you guessed it, surviving and thriving during the music major application process. This book contains some of my most requested answers, including: How auditions actually work! How to figure out whether a music major is right for you! How to handle audition nerves! AND MORE! It is g

Things to Prepare for the School Year

So I saw the first “Back to School” ad on Amazon today, which means it is time to start reminding people of what is Actually Necessary for the school year. This isn’t a school supplies list, really. It’s more of a guide as to what you should probably have ready before the school year begins. A planner system that works for you. I like the bullet journal system, but that’s mostly because I have to write down EVERYTHING I need to do or it gets forgotten immediately. Normal plan

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

How to Practice Music Without a Teacher

If you’re similar to a lot of music students out there, then the moment summer hits, you find yourself without a teacher. This might be because either you met with your teacher through your school, or because you (or a parent or significant other) decided it wasn’t worth the time and money to take lessons during the summer. Both are fair reasons. Now, I’d definitely promote taking lessons if laziness is the only reason you aren’t, but! For a lot of people, lessons outside of

How and WHY to Plan Your Classes Out

So! You’re an incoming freshman, or you’ve just changed your major, or you have just decided that you want to make sure you know when you’re going to graduate. Basically, you wanna know what you’re actually going to be DOING for the next couple years, and want to avoid being in school for three years longer than you need to be. Which is completely fair! The problem is that I have yet to see a departmental planning sheet for a major that included gen eds. I have never seen a s

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