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Music Composition and Theory

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Music Major
Hi! I'm going to be double majoring in music and education in the fall, entering my first year. I've only been singing for three years, and I was wondering if anyone could give me some insight into the music program at ULeth (profs, atmosphere, other students, etc,.) I'm really worried that I'm going to fall behind in terms of vocal production and technique. My high school choir is pretty good because of our amazing director, and I'm lucky to have gone to an intensive vocal jazz camp, but I'm very worried about paling in comparison or humiliating myself. The only thing I know I'm good at is theory, not to mention music history, which I've excelled at. Right now I'm doing a BA because I switched from psych to music and couldn't make the studio audition date, although I want to change to the BFA next semester or year. Thanks!
Why Making Goals for the New Year Might be a Good Idea
Life gets hectic, especially for students. Sometimes it feels like we can get stuck in a hectic cycle of never-ending work, sleep, and classes. It’s important to establish a few goals to fully understand what you want to accomplish on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. The new year is right around the corner, so it’s about time to pull out that new calendar and mark a few things into your schedule. 

1. Daily Goals: Setting a goal for your daily life is a big undertaking. It takes determination and perseverance to stick to a daily goal. I would recommend that if you do make a daily goal for the new year, don’t make it too big. For example, maybe you want to start keeping a daily journal. Even just spending 10 minutes doing this each day is an accomplishment.

2. Weekly Goals: Dedicate a bit of time each week, whether it be on the weekend or mid-week, on relaxing or doing something you enjoy. Even if you’re stressed and have lots to do, your mental health is important! Block off a special hour or two every week to curl up with a book, take a nap, listen to music, or another relaxing activity. (I would recommend staying away from your phone and have more of an inward focus during this time.)

3. Monthly Goals: These goals can be a bit larger. What’s something you want to accomplish by the end of one month? Maybe you want to write a song. Maybe you want to complete a new piece of art. Maybe you want to learn origami, or write some letters for relatives or friends. It could be anything. You can work on your monthly goal whenever you have some spare time. 

4. A Goal For the Year: This could be a large-scale goal. It could even be related to your monthly goals. (For example, if you write a song every month, you could have an album by the end of the year.) Maybe your annual goal is to learn a new language. It could also be a more simple goal, like meeting 10 new people, or doing 10 random acts of kindness for strangers.

Personally, I’ve found that making goals and following through with them has been a very enriching experience, as it gives you a feeling of accomplishment and it gives your days more meaning. In fact, having things to work towards has pushed me to get my schoolwork done more efficiently too.

Let us know what goals you’re setting for the New Year in the comments below!


 -Rachel H, yconic student ambassador
5 Ways to De-Stress During Exams as a Music Student
Exam season is rolling around again, and for music students that means juries, playing tests, listening quizzes, and written exams. With so much to prepare, study, and memorize, things can really pile up, causing this time of year to be very stressful at times. Here are a few tips on how to feel prepared and ready for exam season: 

 1. Set aside time each day to prepare for your different tests. If you split studying up into manageable sections each day, you will feel less stressed and more prepared than you would if you crammed the night before. Even just spending 10 minutes throughout the day practicing through one of your performance pieces or reviewing key terms can make all the difference. 

 2. Try to break these study periods up into different sections between what is difficult for you and what is easier. For example, you can spend time memorizing dates for history and then take a break to practice a performance piece, then practice theory and take a break to listen to music to prepare for your listening quiz. You can also study with friends in a place where you won’t be distracted. Studying with friends is a good way to make sure you haven’t missed any information or to get multiple opinions. 

 3. Don’t be afraid to take breaks. Sometimes a good break is needed, however feeling guilty about taking a break can lead to a decrease in motivation and an increase in anxiety. Stressing about taking a break from studying isn’t the point of taking a break. Go easy on yourself, do something relaxing and enjoyable that will give your mind a break. Just make sure you set a time to get back to practicing or studying.

 4. Don’t over-study or over-prepare the night before your test. Don't exhaust your brain before an important performance or a test! The night before an important exam is a time to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Set a time to stop preparing for the night, like 5:00pm. Eat a good supper, do something to relax, and make sure you get to sleep at a good time. The next morning, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast and don’t have too much sugar or caffeine. Arrive early for your exam and if you need to warm up before a playing test or jury, give yourself ample time to do so. 

 5. Don’t get discouraged. It might be hard for you to approach studying with a positive attitude, but studying can be fun! Set small goals and reward yourself for reaching them. (For example, memorize a complete series of flashcards before getting tea and some cookies. )Celebrate small successes.   

I hope this helps! Approach your juries and exams with confidence!
How do you do a minor in university?
I havent apply for university yet. To do a minor- when do i apply for it? or do i take a bunch of courses of an area to create a minor when I accept my offer?
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