A Beginners Guide to Being a Music Student

By Lily

Many people are drawn to music. Music can be a way to express your emotions or relax. It can be a career or a hobby but either way, it acts as an outlet for many. Most of us begin music in 4th or 5th grade. Whether it’s band, choir, or orchestra there’s something for everyone. Unfortunately, being a music student in high school can be difficult. Whether you feel like it’s too late to start, or you can’t fit music in your schedule, here’s a guide to navigating the music world in high school, and all ups and downs. 


Image: Marius Masalar

Music Options

Most of us start music at a young age. Maybe you start playing the piano at age 5 or you might pick up the cello in the elementary school orchestra, or the clarinet in your school’s band. There are so many instruments to choose from and many different music groups to choose from, it can be overwhelming. 

Luckily, most of us start young and it’s easy to find out what we like. However if you don’t start young, it’s never too late to start! With the right amount of dedication, you can even surpass the musicians that have been playing for years. 

Another option for those who don’t want to learn an instrument is choir. Choir can be a fun place to sing with your peers and work on your voice.

As you continue your music career and go into middle and high school, more opportunities will be available for you. You may have the opportunity to join your school’s jazz band, chamber orchestra, or show choir. There are endless options, guaranteeing a match for everyone.

If you want to find out more about certain instruments or music groups in your school, you can look out for future articles highlighting my experiences or leave us a question through the contact page or via the comments section. 

Commitments

Being an excellent music student can be a serious commitment. For instrumentalists, a lot of time must be spent practicing, especially in the beginning. This is why it can be hard to start at an older age when you have more homework and more responsibilities, however it’s definitely not impossible. 

Your commitment to practicing is what you make it. Many long time players may be decent if they keep on practicing, however there is a real distinction between the players who practice and those who don’t. A lot of players are ok with being decent once their teacher stops requiring them to practice. However the students who spend an hour or two a day practicing their instruments secure the first chair seat. Same goes for choir, some students may practice at home every day and some come in with no experience.

Private lessons are also another example of a commitment many students have, although not required having a private teacher can be an excellent way to improve your skills. Especially if you’re starting late, this can really get you started on learning and improving quickly.

Once you get to high school, you may find your extracurriculars taking more time both in and outside of school. When taking a traditional music class, you could have more than 4 concerts a year to showcase the pieces you’ve spent time practicing. In more advanced classes or activities like show choir, you might find yourself with hours of before/after school rehearsals. This is a factor you have to consider when joining a music class. The more advanced you get, the more time that will be required, so when you start scheduling your high school career, take that into example.

Scheduling

By far the most challenging part of being a music student in high school is fitting it in your schedule. Between all of your required class and your music classes it can be difficult, or even impossible to do everything you want to do. This is the reason many students quit, but it doesn’t have to be the reason you do. 

When going into high school, you’ll find yourself presented with many new options, however in reality you’ll be forced to narrow down your extracurriculars. As your activities become a bigger commitment and take more time, it becomes a challenge to keep doing everything. Especially if you’re in 3 or more music classes, it’s unfortunate, but you’ll most likely have to cut that down to just a few especially if you want to take harder classes in the future. Remember, you always have the option of taking summer school classes to get some of the requirements out of the way. 

I recommend talking to your school counselor or an official who helps with scheduling to figure out how you can make music fit in your schedule. It can be difficult and confusing to navigate, but if you find what you truly care about you can always make something work. Also, even if you can’t keep it as a class, you can always practice to your heart’s desire at home. 

Thanks for reading my article! In the future I plan on talking more about my own experience in music and the communities surrounding different groups. High school can be a very challenging time but also very rewarding. If you want to hear about more specific parts of being a music student or any other topics feel free to leave us a suggestion or ask a question in the comments or on our contact page. All of our socials are linked below and you can look forward to reading Elena’s next article A Beginner’s Guide to Stress Management on Monday! Remember to keep playing and keep overachieving! 

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