Myths About Majoring In Music, Debunked By A Music Major
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5 Out-Of-Sync Myths About Majoring In Music Debunked By A Music Major

It's not as easy as you think!

5 Out-Of-Sync Myths About Majoring In Music Debunked By A Music Major
Eva Claire

Every music major has been through it; we tell people what we're studying in college, and we're met with a disheartening response. "How will you find a job?" or, "I wish I had an easy major!" are phrases that are all too familiar. Degrees in the arts continue to be viewed as useless; meanwhile, the students who study these subjects work as hard as anyone else, only for their labor to go unappreciated.

Here's just a few of the fictions revolving around those who major in music, and the truth behind them.

We don't have to work as hard as other students.

Music and other art majors are considered the easy way out when it comes to college degrees; however, as anyone who has spent longer than a week in a university music program can tell you, it's a lot of hard work. A typical music major's week consists of 15 or more hours of learning new music for both ensemble and solo practice, as well as studying music theory and history — all on top of our core classes. To make matters worse, sometimes we don't even get the credit hours for the amount of time we spend in the classroom! Studying music is taxing on both the mind and the body. This major is not for the faint of heart.

We don't have a lot of homework.

Sometimes people assume we don't have as much work because our work doesn't look like theirs. Most music majors are expected to spend at least an hour a day playing or singing in the practice room, and countless additional hours at home learning rhythms and melodies and memorizing text, often in languages we don't even speak. This all comes on top of whatever written work we have assigned for music theory, music history, and our general education courses. The workload is seemingly infinite, because, as our directors keep reminding us: we're never really done practicing.

Our classes aren't difficult. 

Anyone who claims a music major's classes are not challenging has never had to analyze 12-tone music or identify the composition date of a song they've never heard based on a minute long clip. Besides the effort associated with the physical aspects of playing music, studying the subject definitely involves a high degree of brain power. Music theory demands mathematic skill; vocal pedagogy requires expertise in anatomy and the physics of sound. Intellect, work ethic, and critical thinking skills are not only advantageous in the field of music, they are essential.

We won't be able to get jobs out of college.

This is perhaps one of the most pervasive and damaging beliefs about the field of music. On the contrary, jobs in music are plentiful. While their median salary may not be as high as that of a programmer or an attorney, professional musicians exist and, despite the rumors, are able to pay their bills with such a career. College graduates with music degrees go on to become composers, arrangers, studio musicians, orchestral musicians, conductors, and, of course, music teachers.

Our field is irrelevant.

Possibly the saddest myth of all, I always hear that classical music is a dying art form. It's hard not to internalize this belief when we don't exactly hear Berlioz on popular radio stations, but the glorious truth is that classical music is alive and well. Professional orchestras remain to be central attractions in urban areas across the country, and opera companies are thriving in Austria, America, Germany, France, and even China. Whether people seek out the art form or not, music and the people who make it surround us constantly.

For music majors, it may seem like we're eternally justifying our life decisions to those around us. Sometimes even I start to get caught in the perpetual air of doubt. I know that there will always be people who believe that our field of study is simplistic or useless; however, they simply fail to grasp the richness and vitality that lies in the history of the music that they know and love. As I continue my studies in music, I'm reminded of how truly fascinating, vibrant, and vigorous my chosen profession is, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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