Take Advantage of Resources In and Out of School
As long as you are in a school, it’s a great idea to take advantage of opportunities in the school.
Orchestra/choir, ear-training, writing, theory – many of these are the foundation for your curriculum.
However, if the school you are based in is positioned in a major city (NYC, Nashville, Boston, etc.) or college town (Ann Arbor, Denton, etc.), there are TONS of places to go with your music outside of your school.
Connections outside the school can be just as important as those made inside the school.
Even if you don’t happen to be in a school in a major city, you can foster outside connections through summer programs as well as internships.
At First, Say Yes…Then, Say No. Here’s Why
When you first get to school, the abundance of opportunity and potential is exciting.
There is lots to accomplish, and there will be plenty of students who want to join up with your talents to make great music.
When you are first in school, it is important to say yes to lots of opportunities.
This allows you to find out what you like to do, where you are growing the most.
However, once you are an upperclassman, in your junior/senior year, it’s important to start saying no to some opportunities.
Great music students are always thrown what feels like thousands of different gigs, opportunities, recitals, etc.
And yet you can only do so much in any given day.
Saying no is not “mean.”
Rather, it shows you are judicious with your time, and that you realize your time is valuable.
The Bond with Your Teacher Is Priceless
Every music student is paired with a dedicated faculty member, or group of faculty, that they will work with over the years.
The student and teacher develop a mentor-mentee relationship that can be only described as priceless.
Forging a strong bond with your teacher is crucial not just for your undergraduate experience, but also your professional journey.
Your teacher often ends up as your strongest supporter, helping guide you into the first steps of your career outside of school after graduation.
It’s crucially important, before you enter college, to find a teacher that you will like to work with.
This is one of the many things I focus on in my practice for my own students looking into college for music.
While Preparing for Your Career, Don’t Forget to Be Young
College is fun.
It’s also a great time to focus steadfastly on something you love doing for four years.
Many say college comprises the four best years of their lives.
I neither agree nor disagree, because the right college experience can set you up for a lifetime of “Best years.”
However, college itself is also amazing, and don’t forget that you are very young and that having a great time is part of the experience.
The best musicians work really hard, then reward themselves and have lots of fun in the process.
What do you want to achieve in four years in college and beyond? With my advice and your talent, you can forge any path you want moving forward.
Featured Image from Max Pixel via Creative Commons License