Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's Hard!

When people learn that I am back in college after a {muffled sound}-year hiatus, they inevitably will ask what my major is. I always tell them Music and English. Many of them the reply with, "Oh. Well, that shouldn't be too hard then."

Shouldn't be Too hard? What? Do you think music is EASY? Well, it's not. In fact, I know several people who started off with the intentions of getting a music degree, and then switched majors because it was too hard! One of my friends switched from Music to English. Another from Music to Economics. Another from Music to Pharmacology, and yet another from Music to Nursing. Yeah~ Nursing. This is because -- get ready, here it comes -- MUSIC IS HARD.

I suppose that if someone really isn't aware of the intricacies of music, he or she would probably just assume that a Music Major gets to spend a lot of time singing or playing their instrument, write a few papers on Bach or Beethoven or Schubert, and perhaps perform in a recital or a concert, and so on and so forth. Wrong.

Actually, the only time I had to write on any composer was in my "Intro to Music/Music Appreciation" course, which is a Gen Ed course that all students take regardless of their major. While I do have to have a certain number of credits applied to group performance (such as the choir) and while it is highly recommended I take private instruction for either voice or an instrument, the HARD part comes down to two things: Theory and Musicianship.

Theory is the study of how music works. These are the basic "laws" of music. This included a plethora of terminology I have never even heard of and I've been singing and playing the piano since I was four! I mean, do YOU know what an Inverted Authentic Cadence is? Or how about the difference between an Augmented or Diminished chord? And what about those same chords in either first or second inversion? Yeah -- it's a little bit harder than just knowing where Middle C is on the piano or that one flat means you're in the key of F Major. I struggle with that class. It requires a ton of memorization and analytical homework. It is hard, and quite frankly, most of it I probably will not use after I graduate. But -- I have to learn it to get the degree.

What is even harder than Theory is Musicianship. Musicianship is handled in 2 parts: Sight-singing and Ear-training. This is a little trickier than learning to sing, "Doe, a deer, a female deer", although Solfege (do-re-mi) is required. Let me give you an example of the ear-training exams I have. These are what are known as "Dictation exams". The instructor will play a melody on the piano, usually around 8 bars or so. Without seeing what he has played, we then have to write down what we think we have heard. He then does the same with 3 and 4 part harmonies. I have to be able to write down the notes he's played in the correct sequence and rhythms without being able to watch him play it. For the sight-singing exams, we have about 1 minute to review 2 different pieces. Without being able to hear it, we must be able to determine if it's in a major or minor key, and then be able to sing it. We are graded on pitch and rhythm accuracy as well.

So yes, dear readers. Music is tough. I still love it and am determined to not let it discourage me. I love to write as well, which led to the decision to double-major. Sometimes I wish I could just write my way through college. Then, perhaps music wouldn't be so hard!


Susie said...

I don't know who would say that?

S Club Mama said...

I can't imagine how hard a music degree is - I have many friends who were music majors in college.

I was an English major; I wish it were all writing! I love to read, too, but learning the complexities of grammar and syntax is hard. And then they don't even teach you how to decipher stories so you can do that when you teach! Well assuming you're going into teaching (are you?). I was but then didn't student teach so mine is a non-teaching major.

Anyway, I think you're doing amazing and I know you're putting in a lot of hard work so keep it up and don't let those losers who think music is Ke$ha get you down. :D

okeydokeyifine said...

lalalala, see, it is not THAT hard. And the difference between those two things is the spelling. Glad to be of service. Actually, I don't know how you learn all that stuff, but keep on going.

RhondaLue said...

People say stupid crap, fo' real!

NO degree is EASY because every degree requires all the basic stuff and even a lot of THAT is hard, nevermind the major requirements!

You amaze me!

RhondaLue said...

I'm sorry in advance. I know this is doubly inappropriate for a Sunday but I saw your blog title on my blog list and I can't help it. To your blog title, "That's what She said."

EmmaP said...

Rhonda -- I know it's double inappropriate too, but I thought the same thing! hahaha!