After two years studying for a music degree, I've learned how to resolve a Neapolitan sixth, how to analyze Bach and Mozart and Clementi sonatinas and even how to conduct a choir. There are so many other things I've learned, though. These things run so much deeper than just coursework, and they will probably stick with me or the rest of my life.
1. In the real world, you don't eat.
This is a real-life conversation: "Can you be at rehearsal at 4:45 instead of 6?" "No, that's my only break until 11 p.m., and I have to eat." "Well, welcome to the real world: you don't get to eat." Oh. That's fine, I'll just skip lunch for class, and then skip dinner for rehearsal. I guess that's the real world.
2. The practice rooms are surprisingly full at 1 a.m.
Because that's the only time left to practice when you combine long days of classes, rehearsals and homework. So, odds are, when you drag your butt to the arts building at 1 in the morning, there is at least one other poor, unfortunate soul there to sympathize with.
3. Music theory is an uphill battle.
Not the subject matter itself, but the class. It's your most frequent and longest class, and getting the motivation to go every single day is a task in itself. Getting through four or five semesters feels like a marathon.
4. Any time is nap time.
Ten minutes until class starts? Nap on some random couch in the arts building. There's no shame in it because literally everyone does it at some point.
5. MACGAMUT IS THE DEVIL.
It's not even that difficult; it's just tedious. The software is from approximately 1984, your computer freezes every other rep and midi sounds nothing like a real piano. We all constantly procrastinate on this one because it. Is. The. Worst.
6. Yes, we know music jobs are scarce.
Jobs as a brain surgeon are pretty scarce too, but no one calls their dreams impractical...just saying.
7. The struggle bus is now leaving the procrastination station.
You cannot procrastinate for juries. I repeat. You cannot procrastinate for juries. We've all tried it at least once, and it never, ever ends well.
8. You're forced to be friends with everyone because you have every class, ensemble and studio with them through graduation.
That generally works out all right, though, because usually they're pretty cool people.
9. Sleep? What is sleep?
An Eric Whitacre piece. That's what it is. Definitely not a thing you get to do regularly or for long periods of time.