1. We will almost to a fault defend our beloved music professors.
We can discuss amongst ourselves their faults and lament how scatterbrained they are or how long they take to answer e-mails and return papers, but God forbid they get stuck teaching a general Music Appreciation class by the University and we hear a non-music major complaining about them, you will quickly see the claws come out because you obviously don’t understand how busy everyone in the Music Building is.
2. Yes, we have zero credit hour classes.
Yes, they require class time. It’s called convocation. We go and sit in recitals usually for an hour after studio classes are over and listen to our peers perform. This is required to graduate, and you will hear everyone complain about it. No one likes Convocation. No one.
3. We won’t be in the dorms at normal hours.
I regularly am in the dorm in the middle of the day, eating lunch or something similar, because that is the one time of the day that I’m not sleeping and can take even the smallest moment to sit down and do something other than music, and even then I’m probably doing homework. However, come into the dorm at 10:30 PM, and I’ll be nowhere in sight. I’m either still in a rehearsal/meeting or I’m still in the practice rooms/library getting ready for the next day, and don’t bother waiting because I won’t leave the music building until they kick me out.
4. Core classes are the bane of our existence and no, we cannot take them all the first two years and then finish our degree in the last two.
We have classes that are considered “Music core classes” like Music Theory and Aural Skills that we have to take in sequence before taking more specific things like Music History and Vocal Pedagogy. We will likely be taking some of those core classes you knocked out freshman year in our last semester. Don’t judge us, because you don’t know the struggle that scheduling around rehearsals can be.
5. Dating within the Music Building is DANGEROUS.
You could get cast in the same production and then break up. You could be in studio class together and they could rip you to pieces every week for the rest of your life. Their applied professor could find out you broke their heart and hate you. It’s just a bad idea.
6. Where we student teach (if we’re a music ed major) is one of the biggest pieces of our degree that we have almost no control over.
Get stuck with a bad student teaching placement and you could be screwed for a long time. Get a great placement and you could land yourself a job. If we’re upset about it, don’t tell us it’ll be OK, because we probably have seen their choir or band perform and know just how not OK it will be.
7. Our degree will likely take longer than four years.
If you see a Music Major graduating on time, give them a hug and a beer. They just spent the last four years of their life taking 18 hours a semester, as well as Maymester and Summer Courses. If you see a Music Ed Major graduating on time, give them a hug and some hard liquor (but don’t let anyone see you, their future students could sue them) because they have not left the Music Building in four years and probably haven’t seen the light of day in quite some time.
8. There is no judgment in spending the entire first week or so of any break literally sleeping all day.
I’ve slept until five in the afternoon after a long bout of Music Major exam week hell. Take your exam week for your 4 classes, now multiply that by three. Yes, we’re taking 12 classes and yes they all have exams, and no, we haven’t slept in about a week. For those of you who will claim that taking 12 classes is impossible with credit hour limits, Most of those classes are 1 credit hour, and at least one class is 0 credit hours, so don’t try to troll me in the comment section about this.
9. On a regular day during the semester, don’t feel offended if we walk by you on the street and don’t notice/say hi to you.
We’re probably thinking about the homework you have to do tonight or the project that is due at five. I’ve had people yell at me for ignoring them when really I was just preoccupied with the events of the day.
10. Get used to seeing us dressed nicely, but never expect it if we’re hanging out.
We’re required to dress a certain way for some classes, and that means that we aren’t particularly inclined to dress nicely elsewhere, because who wouldn’t want to be in sweatpants as much as possible.
11. If you want to take us on a date, you have to ask us at least a week in advance.
This way, we can double up on getting homework done before said date; otherwise we’ll resent you for the amount of crap we have to add to our schedule post-date that there might not be a second.
12. There is nothing more gratifying than actually using your degree in your career.
Performance majors will be struggling at times to put food on the table and probably have at least one other job in addition to the one that actually utilizes their degree, but watch their face when they perform, and know how happy they are with the choice they made for a profession. Go to a concert for the music teacher’s concert, and watch their face afterwords when parents come up and tell them how wonderful the concert was, and see how that makes them feel and you’ll understand why they do what they do. Go read this article by Karl Paulnack, a musician and teacher by trade about why music is important, and understand that all of those aforementioned things are worth it for those of us who can’t be happy doing something else.