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Between Classes and Concerts: Time Management for the Harassed Music Major
Recitals, concerts, rehearsals, classes. The list can simply go on for the overwhelmed music major.
By the middle of the first semester, even an average music major can easily fall prey into the crackpot-genius category, walking with blood-shot eyes towards the next class while humming incoherent pam-pa-ram-pam-pam tunes from last night�s rehearsals.
So what do you get with an hour�s lecture on counterpoint? Drool.
Start shaping up your schedule. How do you intend to do that? Start by accepting and appreciating your calling. Not everyone is called to be a musician, or lucky enough to grow muscles ample to carry your cello around and get through past that nerve-wrecking college auditions in the first place. Since you are reading this article, you are probably one of the few chosen thousands. Understand that without love for music, a college student just flirting with a music degree is definitely bound to fail.
Your music is an inspiration in itself. Appreciate what you do. Appreciate the privilege that while the rest of the world is at war, you are safe indoors playing music. Once your major has sunk in, you will definitely find less time to complain about the many rehearsals you need to rush to.
The second? Rhythm. Rhythm I say? Yes. Somehow, there is a very beautiful metaphor between what we do, which is playing music, and how we live it. Find a �rhythmic pattern� in your everyday routine. Plot out your schedule among your activities. Start with actual activities (classes, rehearsals, violin lessons, choir practice, music club meetings and the like.) Next, fill up the empty space with what you think you need to do (practice Bach�s Double Concerto, do research for music history class, etc.)
In every activity, always include a time frame. A time frame will always help you focus and direct your energy. It will subconsciously set your mind on the work at hand. The more things overlap, the less you get anything done.
Get used to the fact that musicians, especially when you are still a student, can never get away from the fast-becoming tedious task of practicing your instrument. Why do I say tedious? With so many things to do, you can become unconsciously too tired to do any of those things which you�re supposed to do! Thus, the more you think about the load of things you need to do, the more tired you become and the less you get anything done.
The key to a well-utilized, productive practice time is compartmentalizing. When you need to study period pieces, devote at least an hour of practice for each period. Jumping from one piece to another piece, from one period to another period never helps. It clutters your mind more and thus, it becomes a tragic source of energy leakage. Focus your mind on one piece. It is always helpful to analyze a piece and single out difficult and technical parts. Start with those difficult technical passages and from there, proceed to easier parts.
Lastly, experiment on a schedule that you think works best with you. Consider at what time of day you are most active and productive. Maximize the use of those hours.
Being a music major can be a time-confusing, schedule-juggling experience. But for some music majors who know how to identify between energy leakage and productive activities, their college years as music majors have been one of the most rewarding experiences they ever had. At least, they can play music and choose to worry or not about grades. When one goes professional, though you play music, this time you will have to worry about earning a living! It is just a matter of choosing your activities, plotting a schedule, sticking to the schedule and enjoying every single minute of music making!
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