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    Making the Most Out of Life as a Music Major

    Posted November 15, 2014, 3:00 pm by Dr. Iris Perry
    music major

    Majoring in music and becoming a professional musician is hard work. Along the way, make sure to make the most out of life with these tips.

    1. Practice.

    One of the most important aspects of being a music major and ultimately, life as a professional musician is practice. On a daily basis, musicians have to focus on refining their skills, technique, and musicianship. Sometimes practice can be grueling and put on the back burner with all the other distractions in a college student’s life. As a former music major, now professional musician, I can honestly attest to the fact that although I had practiced a lot during my college years, I still regret the times when I didn’t take full advantage of all of the time and stress-free life I had back then, which was truly conducive to practicing. As an adult, life’s responsibilities, like paying the bills, tending to a house and kids, teaching, etc., all interfere with the ever cherished practice time.

    2. Play in Ensembles.

    One of the most rewarding things about being a music major is the opportunity to participate in ensembles with other musicians of comparable levels. There are so many musicians at your disposal to work with and great teachers to coach you. Out in the real world, it is harder to find chamber music partners/ fellow musicians to jam with, the time to rehearse, and coaches who will work with you without taking exorbitant amounts of money. One can develop tremendously as a musician by playing with others and obtain skills such as greater analytical listening, sensitivity to others, and ability to work well as a “team player.”

    3. Attend Concerts.

    One of the most popular places where music lives is college campuses. High quality, often world-renowned performers will grace their presence at college and university campuses for reasonable fees to the public and especially to students, who receive discounts with their college student IDs. Students are given precious opportunities to attend great concerts, master classes and lectures, if they just take the time to do it. Music Majors can learn a lot about performing and teaching through observing professionals at work.

    4. Expand Your Horizons.

    Music majors and musicians tend to live a rather isolated and sheltered life, often spending countless hours in a practice room and interacting solely with other musicians. I found that arts administration/music management/music industry or simply business courses in marketing and accounting were a real eye opener for me which, in the long term, helped me land jobs in arts administration and in the corporate world. I highly recommend pursuing arts business courses to help musicians with the art of entrepreneurship which they will need as performers and teachers, or taking courses in other fields just to provide a more worldly view of life.

    Enjoy Your Time.

    Life is short and the college experience is one of the best one can have in their lifetime. So, enjoy your time and consider being a music major a privilege. Enjoy every moment you have to perfect your craft, take lessons with experts, play in ensembles, practice and perform!

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    Dr. Iris Perry

    Dr. Iris Perry

    Dr. Iris Perry has performed to high acclaim as a piano recitalist, chamber musician, vocal accompanist, and soloist with orchestras throughout Austria, Holland, Romania, former Soviet Republics and the United States. Dr. Perry is currently a professor at Bergen Community College and William Paterson University, where she is also the Director of Music Admissions (www.wpunj.edu/music) and Executive Director of the William Paterson Academy of Music (WPAM).