How to Balance Work and Music School

One of my biggest regrets from undergrad is not working and building my career while in school. Now that I’m in my masters, I won’t be making that mistake again. So that means figuring out how to balance work and music school.

Hannah B Flute | How to Balance Work and Music School

I’ll admit that it isn’t easy. If you have a full school schedule and a work schedule on top of that, you may need superpowers to get everything done. Continue reading “How to Balance Work and Music School”

Should You Work in Music School?

Do you want to work in music school? Should you even get a job in music school?

Hannah B Flute | Should You Work in Music School?

There are many pros and cons to working in music school. So it’s up to you to consider your options and whether you need or want to work.

Pros of Getting to Work in Music School

There are plenty of reasons why you should work in music school. Of course, working is a way to make money. But depending on the job you have, you might even get some relevant career experience.

Here are some advantages you have if you work in music school.

Bring home the bacon

The first pro of working in music school is that you get to make money! We all know how expensive college can be. Anything you can do to bring down the cost is a good thing.

Of course, many jobs that college students can get don’t pay much more than minimum wage. However, it’s still something. You still have more income than if you didn’t work at all.

Also, the internet has given rise to tons of jobs. And you don’t even need to have your degree before you start said jobs. If you like social media or writing, you can work online.

A polished resume

When you finish school, you’ll have to apply for jobs. And most job applications require a resume. Sure, you can share all of your extracurricular activities on your resume.

But nothing beats real world experience in a job. If you work in music school, you can add that experience to your resume.

Depending on your job, that experience could make you stand out from the other applicants.

If you want to work in music school, the best jobs involve music. You could teach private lessons, audition for performance jobs, and more.

Tricky transition

Then there’s the transition from college to after college. When you graduate, your life will change in many ways.

While you’ll probably have to give up an on campus job, you can usually keep any off campus work you have. That can make the transition from student to full time worker easier and less overwhelming.

Your entire life won’t change. But most of it will.

Cons of Getting to Work in Music School

Just as there are advantages to working in music school, there are disadvantages. Anything you add to your schedule, like a job, means that you’ll have less time to focus on practicing or schoolwork.

So, what cons should you expect if you decide to work in music school?

On the clock

Working takes up time. Many jobs require a set amount of hours, even if the specific schedule is flexible. Of course, most student jobs limit how much you can work.

But if you work off campus, you might have to work more. Off campus jobs don’t have to restrict how many hours you work.

And that’s not to mention that you’ll have to factor in getting to and from work. If you live in a city, that commute time can really add up.

Roll with it

Another downside to some jobs is that they aren’t that relevant to your future career. Most of us can’t get private teaching jobs or paid performing gigs.

Sure, graduate students can work as graduate assistants. And students at all levels can work for the music department.

But a lot of people have to take jobs outside of music. You may have to work in retail or food service.

There’s nothing wrong with working those jobs. However, it is something to consider.

Stuck in your college town

Another downside to many jobs is that you may have to stay in your college down during breaks. Or you may not get to go home as early or stay at home as late.

For example, RAs have to show up to campus early, and they have to stay until all of their residents have checked out at the end of the semester.

And if you work off campus, they may not want to give you the full month off for winter break.

Of course, staying in town can be a good thing. You can explore new areas of the city or just have some alone time.

But if you want to visit your family, it gets to be that much more difficult.

Should You Work in Music School?

Having looked at the pros and cons, it’s time to decide if you should work in music school. There are reasons why you should and why you shouldn’t.

Still, you might have to work, regardless of the pros and cons.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to take a job during music school.

Financial woes

Most of us need financial aid to afford college. Be it scholarships, grants, or loans, very few people can afford a degree outright.

And if your financial aid doesn’t completely cover the cost, you’ll have to work and make money to fill in the gaps.

If this is the case, the pros and cons don’t really matter. But you can narrow your search for the best jobs for music school students. Yes, some jobs are better than others.

Next week on…

Another thing to consider is whether you even have the time to work. Of course, you may need the money. But if you have the financial support of your parents, you may want to focus on school.

Music students have to juggle lessons, multiple ensembles, academic coursework, and individual practice time. It’s a lot. And working can put even more stress on you.

If you have a lot going on already, it might be wise to take some time off from work. Also, if your schedule is broken up, you might not have enough time between classes and rehearsals to work.

If your breaks are always an hour or two, that probably isn’t enough time to head to a job.

Your desire

Next, think about whether or not you want to work. Of course, this question should come after you figure out if you need to work and have the time.

If you don’t need to work but you do have the time, you get to choose if you work in music school or not. So if you’re in this position, look back at the pros and cons.

Grad vs. undergrad

Finally, consider your student status. In general, graduate students have fewer courses to worry about, though we still have lessons, ensembles, and personal practice.

Still, I’ve found that I have more free time than when I was in undergrad. That means I can work more than I did back then without being more stressed.

Also, graduate students are usually closer to their careers than undergrads. While I don’t think it’s ever too early to start working, the farther you are in school, the more important it is to get real world experience.

So…

Do you/did you work in music school? What job or jobs have you had? Let me know in the comments!

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Learn Flute on a Budget

When I first really wanted to learn flute, I actually veered to the saxophone. I thought the flute would be too competitive and that sax would be cool, too.

Hannah B Flute | Learn Flute on a Budget

Little did I know that I would switch two years later.

While my reason for not starting the flute had less to do with money, I know cost is something a lot of people struggle with.

But you can learn flute on a budget. You just have to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Why Learn Flute?

There are many reasons to learn flute nowadays. Whether you love Lizzo and Terry Crews or Galway and Pahud, there are tons flutist in all genres.

That means that regardless of your favorite genres, you can probably find an inspiration to listen to and look up to. There really has never been a better time to learn flute.

Not to mention the flute has a TON of repertoire available from baroque to pop music. And the flute has definitely come a long way since it got its start thousands of years ago.

Making history

That’s right. The flute is one of the oldest instruments, aside from some basic drums and percussion.

People have decided to learn flute for centuries, and that’s not going to stop any time soon. Of course, the flutes we play today only got their start in the 19th century.

The current system is sometimes called the Boehm flute, because the design was created by a man name Theobald Boehm. While his ideas were (clearly) amazing, it did take some time before his system became standard.

And now, other instruments (like clarinet and sax) use a similar set up. So when your clarinet friend complains about the flute, you can tell them their instrument’s fingering system came from the flute!

But back to today…there are still some amazing developments being made and added to the flute. That makes it much easier to learn the flute but also to learn flute music.

Anyone care for a Split-E or C# Trill?

Variety of rep

As one of the world’s oldest instruments, the flute has a ton of music available. JS Bach wrote multiple sonatas for the flute (as well as a solo partita).

Telemann and Handel also wrote great music for the instrument.

Moving to the classical period, Mozart wrote (let’s be honest) one fantastic flute concerto. The piece we know as the second flute concerto was actually written for oboe and transposed up a step.

And when it comes to romantic music? That’s our bread and butter. Thanks to the Paris Conservatory, we have a ton of great pieces from French composers.

Of course, more and more flute music is being written each year. The 20th century brought with it a lot of rep, and so will the 21st.

Poppin’ into culture

But the variety doesn’t stop at classical or contemporary classical music. Lately, celebrities like Lizzo and Terry Crews have brought the flute to center stage.

Simon Cowell may not like the flute, but clearly, he hasn’t the chance to learn flute.

There’s also Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull, who often plays flute on the group’s songs.

This heyday has been amazing, and I hope it doesn’t slow down. The number of flutists and teachers is reason enough to learn flute.

But You Can’t Afford It

As a social media fiend, I often see people in flute groups posting that they can’t afford the flute but want to learn. And I get it. Flutes aren’t cheap.

For reference, my current flute costs more than a semester of college. But you don’t have to spend that much to get a good instrument.

You just have to consider your options when it comes to paying for and starting to learn flute.

Flutes can be expensive

Student flutes start at around $400 new, and if you aren’t positive you’ll stick with it, that’s a lot of money to spend. You can also find used instruments for a little less.

But you can’t just account for the purchase price. You should budget for regular maintenance as you learn flute. Things happen, screws move, and pads wear down.

It’s no one’s fault, but it is something to keep in mind. And the more expensive the flute, the more expensive maintenance can be.

I mean, you wouldn’t pay the same to maintain a Honda Civic as you would a Ferrari.

Plus you need music

Sheet music can get expensive. Each book costs anywhere from $5 to $100, but most are about $15 to $40.

Still, that adds up. As you learn flute, you’ll have to get new music books to keep challenging yourself.

Luckily, the internet is the perfect place to find free and affordable sheet music. Now, you will probably need to purchase a method book as you start.

However, as you learn flute and start learning repertoire, you can find great music online for free. Websites like IMSLP and Flute Tunes are two of my favorite places to look for free sheet music.

And you might want lessons

I’m not gonna lie. Flute lessons can get expensive. Depending on where you live, your teacher’s credentials/experience, and the lesson length, lessons can be too much.

Private teachers deserve to get paid what they’re worth. That way, they can give you the best education possible.

If a teacher charges minimum wage, odds are they won’t be as invested in you. But a teacher who charges whatever their experience dictates will probably be more enthusiastic and willing to help.

How to Learn Flute on a Budget

Unfortunately, there are some road blocks to learning the flute. Of course, access to a proper instrument and education is essential.

Cost can deter you from all of those things. But it doesn’t have to. You can learn flute on a budget.

However, you have to be more resourceful.

Rent

An easy way to save money of getting a flute is to rent it. Many music stores offer rent-to-own programs so your rent payments count towards a purchase.

If you can’t afford to shell out a ton, renting an instrument means you can learn flute sooner rather than later.

The internet is your friend

I already mentioned my two favorite sheet music sites. IMSLP and Flute Tunes have a plethora of free sheet music available for all levels.

And there are tons of other ways to learn flute online. Blogs (like mine) are great, and so are YouTube videos.

Some people even share tips of social media platforms. It has never been easier to learn flute on a budget.

The private lesson

Even if you rent or borrow an instrument and find resources online, you still may have to pay for lessons. If you want a private instructor, you really can’t avoid paying.

However, there are ways to reduce your tuition bill.

First, you can take shorter lessons. Shorter lessons are actually perfect as a beginner. But even if you’re advanced, cutting your lesson time in half will cut your bill.

If you like having hour-long lessons, consider taking them less frequently. Maybe do a lesson every other week.

And if that doesn’t work, you can look for a less experienced teacher. This can be good and bad. It’s good because newer teachers won’t usually charge as much as those with more experience.

But newer teachers (or advanced students) won’t have as much knowledge when it comes to teaching. In the best case, you may not learn as quickly.

And in the worst case, you could end up with some bad habits.

So…

If you want to learn flute, you have to spend some amount of money. Be it on an instrument, sheet music, or lessons, it’s not cheap.

However, you can make it less expensive. You just have to know how. Do you have other tips for lowering the cost of learning the flute? Leave your tips below!