13 things that will prepare you for a music degree

So, you've decided on taking a music degree. Well done. Also, be afraid. Here are 13 things you have to know to prepare yourself.

1. Non-singers, you will be forced to join the departmental choir in the first term.

Accept it. Then give it a couple of weeks before you start phasing yourself out of rehearsals, it's far less noticeable. Don't make it too obvious.


2. Learn how to pronounce Lutosławski properly.

Stand in front of the mirror and repeat until the 'w' sound is second nature.

lutoslawski pronuciation

3. Research your lecturers.

If you can dredge up an obscure essay written by one of your lecturers and give them a quick "I really connected with what you said in Vol. CX of Musical Times" when you go to their first lecture, it'll make their day. And possibly your grades.

(Via Swish and Flick)


4. This guy will be your housemate.

Be nice to him. You might need his expertise.

music geek guy

(Via Nick Baerenklau)

5. You can't leave practising to the last minute, but essays are different.

Honestly, they're half-expecting you to stay up all night and hand in your essay on Mozart's Da Ponte operas in a bleary-eyed state of total exhaustion. No-one minds.

(Via Gifsoup)


6. Buy Blatter. Forget everything else.

You won't be doing any light reading over the next few years, so you may as well accept Alfred Blatter as your new mentor and 'Instrumentation and Orchestration' as your new bible. 

alfred blatter


7. Struggling in composition class? Don't be afraid to get the dice out and say the score is avant-garde.

Don't be down-hearted if Bach's mathematically engineered harmonic precision doesn't work for you. Just grab a paint brush and flail indiscriminately at a blank score. It still counts as proper music. 

cornelius cardew score

(Via lrb.co.uk)


8. Beware: you will find yourself analysing songs on the radio and making annoying muso jokes about them.

"That's not a cover version, that's a first inversion!" *holds hand up for high-five*

(Via IGN.com)


9. Upon arrival, locate the practice room closest to either the bar or your room and claim it for the next three-four years.

Pay special attention to accessibility (ground floor is ideal) and the quality of the carpet in your practice room in case you need to make an unscheduled overnight stop. Consider buying a padlock.

sleep under piano











(Via wmich.edu)


10. You have to like Bartok.

No matter how much you want to stuff hankies in your ears when you get to the 'Synthesis of East and West' period, you will still like it. You have no choice in the matter. 


11. Steel yourself for a long wait at the photocopier.

Your music library undoubtedly will only have one precious copy of Deryck Cooke's 'The Language of Mahler', so pack some Kendal mint cake for the photocopier queue. And inevitably, when you get to the front of the queue, it'll break.

(Via tumblr)


12. There will be Wozzeck sing-a-longs. Memorise the score now.

And maybe think about getting some costumes. 


13. If you just can't be bothered with anything, change to a jazz degree.

Take your corduroy jacket and your poorly-tended facial hair out of our music department this instant. 

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