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

7 Holiday Study Moods

Winter finals are soon, as are the holidays! Combine the best of both worlds and use some holiday study moods to get you ready for everything. Pine-Scented Pals: Earl Grey, Leslie Odom Jr’s Christmas album, writing essays with your best friend. Fa la la la friendship! You can motivate each other! Solstice Scenester: Your favorite Starbucks holiday drink, sitting on that comfy velvet couch every Starbucks has, reading the most impressive looking textbooks you have. Gosh, you’r

How to Finals Prep Like a Pro

Finals are approaching. Projects are getting assigned, concerts are drawing near, and cold dark weather is making it harder for anyone to have any motivation. How can a poor college student do any finals prep with all of this going on?? Like this! Organize ALL your deadlines. Post-it notes are your friends here. Get a nice chunk of wall and write a post-it for EVERY DEADLINE OR PROJECT OR PRESENTATION between now and break, then put them up in order. Take extreme satisfaction

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

How to Handle Being Sick During School

If there is one thing I excel at, it’s doing my schoolwork even when I’m sick as a dog. This is because I have the immune system of an infant squirrel, and catch colds like Ash catches Pokemon. I just GOTTA catch’em all. However, after long experience, I can promise you it is possible to keep on top of schoolwork. Yes, even when your head and sinuses are full of cotton wool. Be kind to yourself. Being sick, by definition, means you’re not at full capacity. Trying to be high e

How to Make an Awesome First Impression at College

School starts soon. Yeah, stop screaming, it’s a fact, chill. With a new school year coming up, there’s a great opportunity approaching: the chance to make a BOMB first impression on all your new classmates. This is especially true if you’ve transferred or if you’re a new student! I’m starting grad school in the fall, and so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this recently. Here’s how we can both make an amazing first impression on our new peers! Be Humble. Everyone you

How to Be a Scholarship Boss

I’m starting a second blog – a real, honest-to-God not-Tumblr blog, about money and saving and getting out of school debt-free. A lot of the content there is going to be similar to this post. Keep an eye out for more information, coming soon! Scholarships are some of those things that no one – NO ONE – ever values enough. A scholarship, no matter how small, is usually going to be some of the best value-for-time-spent that you’re going to get in your life. Even if the only sch

How to Make a Schedule and Stick To It

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 are ways to make it easier to be disciplined. Be realistic

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

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

Stress and How To Deal

Stress is a given in college. At some point in your college career, you are going to look at your responsibilities and the amount of time you have available, you will do some math, and you are going to come up with a time deficit so large you’ll cry. It happens to everyone, whether it’s because of Too Many Commitments, or just run of the mill procrastination. Even if you manage to keep your schedule flowing kind of smoothly, there’s other sources of stress that will sneak up

Battling Insecurity

The biggest demon of most musicians is a feeling of insecurity. It’s the creeping (or blatant) suspicion that you are literally the worst musician in the world — or at least nowhere near as good as you “should” be. It can also manifest as the idea that you’re going to: get laughed at by your peers, be a complete failure at everything you ever attempt, be revealed as a fraud, find out everyone is just humoring you, find out that your doubters were right, end up completely dest

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

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