:: markku is a member since 02/28/2003 --- this profile has been viewed 153,972 times
markku's SoundClick blog - a life of a music major pt 1
Unless you have been a music major in college, most have no idea as to what might be involved to finally get that sheep skin stating that yeah, you are officially a trained musician because the piece of paper says so. Life can become even more complicated as one prepares for their final days of Music College. It actually begins on the first day and gets more hectic year after year with the last being so bad that blood pressures rise to an all time high. I ended up with growing ulcers and to this day still have stomach issues.

Before we could graduate from Music College which prepared us to become Band and Orchestra conductors, directors/ teachers, we had to show our proficiency on all band and orchestral instruments.. Since it was a music college dealing with only music, we didn’t have to deal with other classes like English, History and Math etc. so there was supposedly, plenty of time to practice. There were several practice rooms where one went during free time, for four years, between classes preparing for the coming day of graduation. Those that spent their time preparing for the final outcome prospered while others didn’t do so well. Of course there were only a limited amount of practice rooms and therefore had to sign up for a time slot. If the time slots were taken, you were out of luck whether it was during the day or night. It may have been a bit easier for a horn player just to take their instrument outside, but for a piano player it was a bit more difficult. Fortunately I commuted to college and had my own piano at home but I was also working to help pay for my education.

There were only 15 of us that made it far enough to take the final exams and to prove that we were indeed proficient on all musical instruments that were required for graduation and that we knew our stuff. The day came when we had to do so, on the string instruments. Earlier in the previous weeks, we had to pick out names from a hat with who and which instrument we were going to play for our last evaluation. We were chosen to do a chamber music composition by Beethoven for our exam. It was written for a quintet; 2 violins, 2 violas and a cello and was a little under 60 minutes long. It was called Beethoven’s String Quintet in C Major Opus 29 (Storm). We had also picked out from a hat, who played what instrument. Mine was the cello. We had 12 weeks to prepare it. During 6 weeks of that time, we were in the process of taking our written and oral finals for other music classes. There was only one per week but lasted most of the day. The rest of the week was set for make up stuff if you failed the written or oral ones. We had no other classes for the six weeks which gave us plenty of time for the opportunity for our group to get together to practice.

Our composition was difficult for us, a bunch of beginner string players who have only played them for less than three years, was now expected to play a composition that for those in symphonies would do so with a week or two of practice. On top of that we were to do our final performance coming up during the same week on our minor instruments. Mine was the flute. I spent a lot of time practicing for 12 weeks. It’s a good thing I just finished my final evaluation and performance on my major instrument; piano, the day before our assignment was given on the strings.

Those having to do the make up work made practice time somewhat complicated for those that passed the big tests and they ended up either not practicing or just working around it. What I understood was that there was a lot of running around back and forth to the library to research and answer 100 obscure questions submitted by the professors. There was a lot of time spent on research especially with everyone fighting for the same books. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do any of that.

to be cont....
posted by markku on Mon Mar 13, 2017 @ 08:28 AM     post a comment
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