By Mike Phillips
Music college can either be a wonderful or stressful experience. Sometimes, it’s both. You can choose to just practice and go to classes. However, that approach means you won’t gain as much knowledge and or as many skills as you could. Here are some tips to ensure that you make the most of your time at music college.
Networking is an essential part of many careers, and music is no exception. If you start building your network while you’re at music college, it might be easier to find a job after graduation. Build relationships with your professors and remain in touch with them even after leaving their classes.
You should also try to build a relationship with your head of department, conducting teachers, and any other teachers or administrators that might be relevant to your interests. You can also network with other students who are interested in similar specialization areas as you. Try to organize performances with them whenever possible.
Lastly, develop a professional social media presence. If you have a personal social media presence, consider making it private or using a stage name for your professional online posts. Online networking is becoming more and more necessary in today’s world, so you want to ensure that your online presence doesn’t include inappropriate or illegal pictures.
2.Leave Your Comfort Zone
Remember that music is a competitive career, and you might need to follow a less direct path than others to achieve your goals. Remain open to making contacts with people in other specialties. If you’re a classical pianist, consider a collaboration with a jazz vocalist.
If you’ve only done older rep, try working with some composers at your college to get a taste for contemporary classical music.
Music college is a fantastic time in your life to discover what genres and specialties you not only like, but excel at. Use this time to explore, and don’t limit yourself.
3. Perform Perform Perform
Once you enter the real world, performance opportunities become harder to find. In music college, they’re everywhere. Push yourself to perform as much as possible. The more performing you do, whether it’s in an art song class or a college competition, the more comfortable you will be. Practice makes perfect doesn’t only apply to technique; it makes everything better.
Practice performing will allow you to learn to manage your nerves, determine what helps you prepare best, and encourage quick learning.
When possible, try to record your performances. You can use the video as either a teaching tool or, if it’s good, as an audition or promotional video.
4. Learn Rep
Lastly, learn as much repertoire as possible. In music college, you have access to free practice rooms, coaches, teachers, and performance opportunities. Take advantage, since after graduating, you’ll need to pay per hour for all of these opportunities.
As long as it doesn’t hurt you, learn it. Play with different styles, genres, and eras. Now is the time to explore. Don’t be afraid to look into repertoire by diverse and underrepresented composers. Offering unique repertoire will set you apart from other musicians who only know the standard canon.
Your time at music college is perfect for exploring who you want to be as a musician. Take advice from your teachers, but you also need to discover what you want to do with your career. Follow these tips to help you become the musician you want to be, not the musician you should be.