Life as a music student can be extremely busy: despite having less contact hours than many subjects, a music degree is deceivingly time consuming. Rehearsals, performances, and 3am Mac Lab visits are just some of the activities that can take up the week. This post will give you an insight as to what music students really get up to, and why we are perhaps some of the most difficult people to make plans with.
With the deadline for the Music Project Performances fast approaching (taking place in PATS Studio 1 on the 12thand 13thof December), schedules have become so busy that we now have to squeeze in rehearsals at 9:00am. Needless to say, musicians often can’t function properly at such an early time. After many, many run throughs, jamming interludes and repeated talk of how it’s “too early”, we finish the rehearsal with a feeling of accomplishment.
The next activity for the day is to buy (yet another) ice coffee from Simply Fresh and head to the Hive to get some written coursework done. After spending a few too many hours composing two jazz standards for my first Harmony Portfolio, it’s time to write a commentary featuring analysis on both of the pieces. As most Music students would probably say, the written aspect of the course is not the most enjoyable but proves to be extremely useful in expanding your writing skillset. In this context, it also lets you review your own work and highlight all the harmonic devices you included (whether you intended to or not).
Lunch time: one of my favourite times of the day where I can take a break and have a much needed cup of tea.
After enjoying a well-deserved break, I head over to the Mac Labs to create the audio tracks for the two jazz standards I have written. This task includes recording the saxophone melody on Logic X Pro using a MIDI keyboard and mixing it with a pre-recorded jazz trio backing track. Mixing both of the tracks took a lot longer than anticipated, and I was becoming worried that my eyes were going to turn square after staring at the screen for so long. But these hours of work were not certainly not wasted: after working on this portfolio for two consistent weeks, my pieces were finally finished. I was overjoyed; there really aren’t many feelings that can compare to the mix of relief and triumph you feel once you have finished a piece of coursework.
The sky has been dark for almost four hours which means it’s time to head home. I get in, take my shoes off and collapse on my bed, head ringing with fragments of all the music I have listened to throughout the day. As tired as I am, I am extremely happy that it was such a productive day, and relieved that I won’t be having to get up at 9:00am the next day. That is, unless an unexpected rehearsal is once again scheduled at that early hour…