Only music undergrads will understand this pain

11 October 2016, 12:44 | Updated: 11 January 2017, 14:26

music undergrads

When you’re a music undergrad, life can be hard - here are the worst things about being you.

Clapping music

Steve Reich is a genius, a gift to the musical world. But a room full of music students in their first week at college, attempting to accurately perform Clapping Music to demonstrate phasing rhythms… now THAT is torture.


The photocopier is your dad now

The good news is that scores are available in the library. The bad news is that there’s only one score and there’s only one photocopier. Also there are 200 students.


Meet your world music lecturer

Your world music lecturer will have spent at least ten years in South America, will have an array of wall-hangings in their office and will be wearing a coin purse whittled from the hide of an endangered species. If offered, DO NOT blow into any of their wind instruments. This will be your first lecture:


Practice room deathmatch

No-one can match the fury of a piano student who has been displaced from the one remaining room with a piano in it… by a WOODWIND player. They don’t even NEED the piano.


Accompanists: prepare for slave labour

‘Hey mate, could you do me a favour and play for my recital? I can’t pay you. It’s this afternoon. I’m playing this.’

ferneyhough score

(via ExTempore)


Some idiot will buy the complete Ring Cycle on DVD

You’ll convince yourselves it’ll be funny to buy wine and attempt to watch the whole thing in one go. You will hate yourselves for this.

sleep under piano


One student in the entire department will be a music theory genius

And in the fortnight before exam season, they will suddenly become very, very popular.


There will be a musicians-only pub

For the first term it’ll feel like you’ve made a fantastic hovel for yourselves where everyone knows your name. After that, you will come to view pubs back in the real world as alien, exotic utopias that you can no longer enter.


Singers: this is your week

Monday - Chamber Choir
Tuesday - compulsory University Choir
Wednesday - student choir with Italian name
Thursday - Bach Choir
Friday - Another student choir with a name like ‘Spectrum’
Saturday - Chamber Choir concert
Sunday - Evensong
Repeat until July, when it’s the Chamber Choir tour of some Eastern European country or other, whichever is cheapest.


Your first history module will be a total beast

They start you off with something easy like ‘The Complete Musical History of the Western World (and the analytic techniques therein)’, so really there’s nothing to worry about.