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…

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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…

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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…

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Self-Care for Musicians

DID YOU KNOW: Being a music major is widely considered highly stressful. A friend of mine made a joke the other day about how she is always on the verge of tears, she is so stressed as a musician. Then she saw a squirrel and started crying because it had an acorn. Keep in mind, my school has been in session three days. And while that might be a bit extreme,…

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4 Reasons to Stick with Music

I will be completely honest here: one of the strangest but most predictable events of my musical school year is the annual Fleeing of the Freshmen. This event, as regular as the tides and sad like lemmings, occurs around the end of first semester. Freshman who were only three months ago bright-eyed and bushy-tailed head to their advisers’ offices, and for a million reasons drop their music majors and switch…

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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…

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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.…

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How to Start Teaching

perseverance woman hands

Most musicians end up teaching at least a little, in order to help make ends meet. Some teach as their primary source of income. The thing is, to the young musician, there is no real guide to how to start teaching in the first place. It can be confusing to begin, I know, but as someone who has started teaching recently (look at the top of the page! There’s my…

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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…

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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…

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