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The SHOCKING Truth about Music School: What Your Professors Won't Tell You

You just enrolled for your first semester as a music major or minor. After being slammed with half a dozen ensembles, requirements to practice over six hours a day, hundreds of hours studying music history and music theory, you begin to wonder why you decided to study music in the first place. Then you remember: Music is fun! It is?

To Survive Music Schools you must learn to HATE MUSIC,
the fall in LOVE with it all over again!

You heard me. Music school makes you hate, absolutely hate music. Why? Chances are, when you first starting playing your instrument, singing, or wrote your first song, you were overjoyed with the incredible fulfillment that only a good concert, successful practice, or good composition could bring. 

You didn't sit after a concert thinking, "Hmm, I really enjoyed how that deceptive cadence truly brought out the incredible timbre in the woodwinds" or "I knew I should have used a polyrhythm there, and that dang tone row!" And chances are, you did not have to make the choice between sleeping or practicing for five more hours.

Music School by its very nature deprives you 
of valuable sleep, social, study and eating time.

How? Simple. Because most music schools need a large number of students to perform in ensembles, and because students cannot afford to enroll in too many three credit courses, most music ensembles earn the average music student one to zero credits. Yes, I did say ZERO.

Hypothetically, a two credit course should involve two hours of class time per week, a one credit course involves a one hour commitment, and a four credit course (like a primary studio course), should involve four hours of class time per week. However, most full time music students are involved in no less than three music ensembles which require a minimum of 3-6 hours each per week (not counting dress rehearsals and concerts during finals, yes, during finals week. Who comes up with these schedules anyway?).

I remember one undergraduate semester I was involved in percussion ensemble, wind ensemble, symphonic band, and marimba ensemble, for a grand total of thirteen hours of rehearsal a week for four credits worth. Add on top of that music theory, music history, composition lessons, percussion lessons, electronic music courses, ear training, academic courses, etc., and in reality I was taking closer to thirty+ hours of coursework while earning 18 credits (not to mention the 15 hours of composing, 10 hours in the recording studio, and 20 hours practicing percussion). Is it any wonder why many music students burn out?

How can you survive the insane schedule? I give you three ways: sleep, eat right and exercise, and learn to say "No!" If you learn how to do these three things during music school, you will not only survive, but thrive as a musician, student, and individual.

Someday you will LOVE music again!
Award-winning composer Sabrina Peña Young survived several grueling years of music school and even an extra year of film school for extra torture. Young creates mind-numbing electronica, crazy alien animation, and loves to help new acts with their music. Currently she is working on a new 60x60 project, her first sci-fi novel, and is getting ready for a much-deserved vacation to sunny South Florida, where she hopes to enjoy some sun and good Cuban food!



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