19 Things You’ll Only Understand If You Study Music at University
There’s no competition like the one over rehearsal rooms.
1. Wishing you could earn money for every time someone asks what instrument you play.
Ah, the classic first question. Sometimes we like to answer “the triangle” or “the spoons” just to see your expression. Usually when discussing degrees, people ask about career projections and difficulty levels, but with Music we get the exact same question our primary school teacher asked us when we were 7 years old.
2. Or if you’re worried about your job prospects.
Your parents told you to study Maths. Some friends laughed when you told them. Even your hairdresser judged you. But at least you’re studying what you love.
3. The pain of people assuming it’s easy for you to get a first.
Ha ha ha 🙂
4. Because, if anything, you feel more pressure to do well than anyone else.
You’re studying a degree that you’re scared some employers may look down on if they have another applicant for the same job who studied Law or Engineering, so a 2:2 has never looked less desirable.
5. Struggling to get used to having so few contact hours.
Not going into uni as much as other students means you need to have an incredible work ethic to actually get stuff done. Some may call it independent study, for others it’s forgetting to set the alarm.
6. And trying really hard to becomes best mates with your lecturers.
You need to make sure you keep in contact with your lecturers as much as possible since you hardly see them. This could be done by organising meetings or cracking jokes about Shostakovich with them. If not, they’ll probably not even know who you are when you walk into a room.
7. You still end up knowing everyone on your course.
When your department is much smaller than most others, you know everyone and everything. Who slept with who, who replaced whatshisface in Chamber Orchestra… It’s a tight-knit community.
8. And you quickly realise that everyone on your course is extremely talented.
It was great in school when you could play a chord on the piano and hypnotise an entire room. But at university, it’s likely that the first student you meet got full marks in their grade 8 exam before they even left the womb. It’s time to up your game.
9. So you feel guilty whenever you aren’t practising.
Really, really guilty.
10. Your social life suffers sometimes.
“Sorry, I can’t make it. I have rehearsal tonight. Maybe tomorrow- oh, wait, I have choir then. Next week? Nope, never mind, I agreed to be in the orchestra for Candide. Do you know what? I’ll call you… after rehearsal.”
11. And you’re usually either stuck in a practice room on the odd chance that the weather is good.
12. Or fighting to get into one.
There are only a few rooms that are worth fighting over, but you’ll settle for anything when the best rooms have been nabbed early on.
13. There’s always someone who looks down on your music taste.
“Ariana Grande? Is that an Italian term I’m unfamiliar with?” You’ve had discussions about which Beethoven symphony is the best and whether Wagner is overrated, and you seemed to get along, but then they saw you dancing to Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” that one time in the club, and suddenly your friendship is over.
14. It pays to be a bit different.
Most famous composers are emotionally unstable alcoholics with occasional bouts of depression. While this is definitely not recommended at all, never be afraid of thinking outside of the box with your ideas. However crazy or weird you think something will be, just go for it. You won’t know how it’ll be received unless you try.
15. The library book you need will never be available.
With so few people on your course, universities only keep a few copies of music books in the library. Someone will always beat you to them, meaning you’ll go along and struggle with your work for a good few weeks.
16. There’s no joy like knowing the student holding auditions for that solo you really want.
By the end of first year, some of your peers might be becoming conductors of orchestras, or directing something for the music theatre society. Now is your chance to nab that solo! The second you step inside that audition room, drop all the inside jokes and remind them what a good friend you are. Hopefully you haven’t slept with them, because then you’re screwed. Again.
17. And no fear greater than worrying your instrument will give up on you halfway through a performance.
Well, that, or performing in nothing but your underwear.
18. Knowing that what happens on tour stays on tour.
Besides making some A+ performances, a lot of crazy stuff happens on tour, and it’s simultaneously the best and the most embarrassing thing ever. I won’t tell if you don’t.
19. And that, whatever happens in the future, you’ll never regret studying Music.