5 Things I wish I knew before starting music school
Updated: Aug 15, 2021
For the last ten years, I have learned a lot of lessons along the way but there are certain things that I have learned in the last ten years that I wish I would have known back then. As most of you know, I just graduated from my masters degree last year in the middle of a pandemic. Also, I wanted to pass on these lessons to future college/grad/post-grad students so that they don't learn the hard way like I did. If you are interested in learning about the lessons that I have learned, then keep on reading!☺️
1. During College Audition Season, you're supposed to reach out to your prospective teacher
When I was auditioning for colleges, I was completely clueless about the college audition process. I had no idea that I had to shop around for prospective teachers; what I mean is actually going to the websites of the schools that you are auditioning for and email the teacher of your instrument to A) Introduce yourself and B) See if they will offer to give you a trial lesson. I did not know this until I did my two rounds of grad school auditions and this was partly because of the fact that I was not taking consistent private lessons at the time.
2.Build Relationships with your Professors while at Music School
Building good relationships with your professors is extremely important because it will help you with networking and if you wish to audition for Grad School/DMA School, those letters of recommendation will help. Also, If you are applying for jobs in academia/auditioning for an orchestra, those references will be a huge help. I learned this when I was finishing my undergrad because when I was younger I didn't really know any better and I believe that in order to get a good letter of recommendation, you have to have a good relationship with your professors.
3.You do NOT need to practice 8 hours a day in order to be considered an amazing musician!!!!
Now this lesson hit me harder than the other lessons because when I was in my senior year of undergrad (around the same time that my performance anxiety was still pretty bad but it was starting to get better), my teacher at the time asked me "How much do you practice a day?" to which I responded "1 hour a day". She then proceeded to tell me that when she was auditioning for grad school that she practiced 8 hours a day and that I wasn't practicing enough. That thinking unfortunately led me to practice in panic mode and I spent all of grad school undoing that mindset. I have found that I actually get more done in a 1-1 1/2 practice session than I did practicing 3-4 hours a day when I was in my last semester of undergrad. That mentality leads to a lot of musicians getting major performance injuries and it takes a toll on your mental health.😱
4. Offer to play for your friends before a major performance
This lesson I learned earlier than the other ones. When I was in undergrad, we didn't have weekly student recitals; We had something called forums where all of the students would play things that they worked on in lessons for a jury/recital with the supervision of a couple of faculty members and we would give each other feedback. When I was in grad school, I was lucky enough to be part of a tight-knit flute studio so playing for them and also playing for my non-flute friends during practice sessions helped a lot with alleviating pre-performance jitters (I will talk about that in another post).😍
5. Check in with yourself
It is crucial to check in with yourself mentally and emotionally and it's something that not many people told me especially when I was in undergrad. A lot of musicians talk about the physical aspect of being a musician but they don't really talk about the mental/emotional aspect of being a musician. My guess is because it's hard to talk about and some people avoid the subject altogether but I would suggest journaling, doing things outside of music that make you happy and most importantly, seek professional help if you feel that you need it.☺️
Thank you so much for reading up until the end!!!😍
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If you are interested in reading about my performance anxiety story, click here
If you are interested in scheduling a free trial lesson with me, click here
Ta-Ta for now Friends!!!