The Complexity of a Music Degree

If you were in choir in high school, I’m sure you considered getting a degree in music. Did you actually go through with it? I did. Well, sort of… I attempted a year. Most choir nerds do, but not many can succeed in the department. And I’m here to tell you why!

To start out, let me show you a degree map for a music major. Don’t worry, your eyes are working correctly. I took a total of 21 classes my freshman year. That’s not normal! It’s overwhelming.

1. Most choir enthusiasts go into it without knowing any theory or taking any private lessons.

What does this do to you? You are a step behind everyone else. All you’ve ever done is sing choral songs in Italian or German, or occasionally a Swahili spiritual if your choir director was adventurous. You’ve never heard of Roman Numeral Analysis or the Circle of Fifths. You have a horrible time trying to sing for your voice teacher without saying “I’m sorry” after every mess up. And don’t even mention those instrumental majors in your theory classes. They are ten steps ahead of everyone because they learned these things in band. You feel clueless and afraid.

2. You don’t realize that almost all music classes are 1 credit hour and take up at least 6 hours of your time each week.

Voice lessons? That’s only an hour a week, but you also have to go to studio every week and have 14 recital credits a semester. Oh, and practice on your own. One credit hour. Choir? 4-5 hours a week, not including personal practice, rehearsals, and concerts. You catch my drift.

3. Even if you made one of the top 5 chairs at All State in high school, there are juniors and seniors who are a hundred times better than you.

I have first hand experience of a slap in the face. Humility is a awful and wonderful thing. Once you walk across that graduation stage, your achievements in high school mean nothing. 

4. Choir in college is a whole different ballpark than choir in high school.

In high school, you spend an entire class period solfeging your music. Then the next day, you run through your parts in sectionals. It takes a full week to even put it together, without singing the words. In college? You’re handed the music and you sight sing it. As an entire choir. And half the time, you sing it with the words. Don’t think you know a thing about choir unless you’ve been in it in college.

5. No one will understand you.

Business majors? Engineering majors? They probably think that music is the easiest thing to major in. No matter what you say, they’ll think it’s a joke.

On top of these 5 points, Kelsey Armstrong wrote an article highlighting her top 12. By experience, I know that they are all true.

To conclude, majoring in music is not for the faint of heart.


About chall29

Photographer from Northwest Arkansas pursuing degrees in Print Journalism and Speech Communication at Arkansas Tech University.
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