As I write this article, I reflect on my four short years of college. I look back on how wonderful of an experience it was. I also remember how big of an adjustment it was to live alone in a new place, surrounded by new people. My time as an undergraduate student gave me experiences and memories that I will remember forever.
Going to college is an exciting transition to a new stage in your life! There definitely is a learning curve to adjusting to all of these things. Majoring in music brings its own unique challenges. Not only do you have to adjust to living on your own, but you also have to learn to be proactive with scheduling in time to practice.
Are you preparing to go to college soon? Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you get through:
1. Only compete with yourself. I know, it’s easier said than done. I remember being… quite competitive. I easily compared my successes to other people’s victories. This mindset fueled my insecurities and caused me to struggle to get better at my performing abilities. I was so busy focusing on others that I failed to improve myself! I also experienced difficulty making lasting friendships when I had this mindset. Once I shifted my priorities, I developed strong bonds with my peers and noticed drastic improvement in my voice. After having gone through this, I can attest to the fact that competing with yourself not only helps you develop long lasting friendships, but it also helps you improve your abilities at a much more rapid rate
2. Take every performing opportunity that you can. This one sounds pretty obvious, but when you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of school, it can be hard to convince yourself to take another performing opportunity (other than the ones that you are you required to participate in). However, it’s important to remember that the more performing experience you have, the more comfortable you will be with performing. And the more opportunities that you take, the more experience you can add to your resume!
It also is important to recognize your limits. You definitely should not accept an opportunity if it will affect your physical or mental health! Trust your body and mind to tell you what they need.
3. Practice effectively. Once you get in college, you are going to be perpetually busy. Developing time management skills will do nothing but benefit your life. If you plan to practice during your free time without penciling it into your planner in advance (or however you keep track of your schedule), you will struggle to practice regularly. And if you don’t practice regularly, you will find yourself in a situation at the end of the semester when you’re required to have everything memorized and polished. Having a time set aside for practice will help you make sure it gets done. Try to enter practice sessions with an idea you created beforehand of what you plan to work on. Instead of just singing through your repertoire over and over, try to structure your practice session with time to work on memorization, diction, rhythms and notes, as well as certain parts of the songs that are most difficult.
4. Rely on your professors to help you. If I have one regret from college, it’s that I didn’t rely on my professors more. I remember them repeatedly saying to reach out if I ever needed any help. But I was too afraid to ask for questions out of fear of appearing to not have my life together! Now that I am a college professor myself, I love it when students ask for help and guidance. Remember this: your professors want to do everything they can to help you.
We wish you the best of luck in preparing for your first year of college! Let us know if you found these tips helpful.