11 Things You Know To Be True (if you’re a music major)

By Kristin Pagels

Becoming a classically trained musician is no easy task.  Chances are you’ve been preparing for years, or even your whole life, to get into music school.  Once accepted, your friends and family will notice that you’ve adopted a new way of life with some unique habits:

1. You spend more time in the music building than anywhere else
When all your classes and rehearsals are in the same place, there is no reason to ever leave! Recitals, studying, socializing*, practicing, napping – it all happens there.
*non-majors only

2. Scales are life
You spend (and will continue to spend) hours upon hours practicing scales. You will play them backwards and forwards, slow and fast, over and over…and over. The metronome is your friend. Trust it.

3. Practicing wins over everything else
Want to watch the big game? Can’t, practicing.
Want to grab a bite to eat? Can’t, have to practice.
Feeling guilty about doing other homework and not practicing? Practice instead.
Need to sleep? Try practicing instead.

4. The walls have ears!
You know everyone in the practice dungeon hallway can hear you on that 15th repetition of the Beethoven excerpt. But it doesn’t matter, because you are ROCKING it!

5. Reeds (can make or break your day, or just break)
If you are a reed player, then you have lived through the crisis of your favorite reed dying right before your big concert. Checking the weather in the morning can be a stressful experience, knowing your temperamental reeds may decide to give out on you if they don’t agree with that 1% decrease in humidity.

6. Class Piano is a struggle
You may feel pretty confident on your primary instrument, but class piano is where you quickly realize you don’t know anything at all. Basic music reading skills vanish as you attempt to read treble and bass clef simultaneously while using all 10 of your fingers.

7. You have a love/hate relationship with music theory
Learning the never-ending list of rules for composition and harmonic analysis makes you feel like a rocket scientist. Counterpoint? Schenkerian analysis? Piece. Of. Cake.

8. Music history changes you
This class is where you learn all about the famous composers and how they broke those non-negotiable “rules” for composition. (They’re more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules anyway.)

9. You take 20 classes (for about 3 credits)
If you have any non-music friends, you’ll know by now that most of them only have 3-4 classes at a time. Many of them even have Fridays free! YOU, on the other hand, have classes all day, every day, as well as weekend and evening commitments.

10. You’re probably well dressed
However, because you’re frequently playing for master classes, auditions, guest conductors, recitals, concerts, etc., you’re always dressed to impress. Or, maybe you’re just naturally stylish.

11. You always have fun weekend plans and a seat at the game!
If you are a music education major, chances are you are in the marching band! This means you regularly hang out with hundreds of your closest friends, partake in traditions, laugh at inside jokes, perform for 10s of 1,000s of screaming fans, and you always have plans for all the Saturdays during fall semester!

So whatever your weekly routine may be, music major or not, we all enjoy a great performance! Come see world-renowned (and, of course, classically trained) musicians from the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra in their incredible concert at Wharton Center, Tuesday, November 7, with cello wonder Narek Hakhnazaryan!

Click here for tickets, or call 1-800-WHARTON. MSU student tickets are only $19 with your APID! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more updates about upcoming shows and what’s on at Wharton.

Kristin is a new marketing and communications intern at Wharton Center, who previously taught band and choir in Macomb County and is currently pursuing her master’s in Arts & Cultural Management at Michigan State University. She enjoys playing her clarinet and bass clarinet with local bands and orchestras and is also involved in Lansing community theatre. 



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Posted in Classic Series, College of Music, Performing Arts, Wharton Center News

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