Tips to balance your music practice with academics in school and college

balance your music practice

Are you a student in school or college working out how to pursue music as a career? If so, you must have a million creative ideas for new songs, tunes, lyrics, and sound mixing swimming through your head for making your music unique. If only you had the time to work on it in depth without having to set aside time for studies. 

Rest assured, you are not the first person to feel this way. After all, music has many benefits (don’t miss the related infographic) and many children want to make it their career. And then, most people wish they had more time to pursue their passions. This is why we have a myth-buster on time for you. And some facts about those musical legends we all love – before they became legends. And a whole load of ideas on how to build yourself musically and qualify yourself academically alongside.

After all, there are several people who work on music while they are married, have kids, and have a full-time job! When they can balance work life with their musical aspirations, surely you can manage to balance music and life as a student too.

It is natural to think that if only you were a child star like Justin Bieber or the teen sensation that Britney Spears or Taylor Swift was, you would have had a much better chance at success than while you are loaded with a lot of meaningless work that you think you will never use in your musical profession (if all goes as you plan). Don’t give in to this line of thought. It is a matter of planning, time management (for studies and music), and setting your priorities straight rather than luck or a few spots of genius.  

How to balance your life with music and studies

1. Maintain your academic schedule 

tip to balance music and academics

It might not seem like it now but the order and schedule that academics gives to your life will teach you to manage your music career along the same lines. So, maintain your academic schedule sincerely. If that is on track, you will be able to focus all your attention outside of academics on your music. The discipline also tends to spill over into music. 

You will learn how to study and manage time and energy for music, to work within time and space constraints, how to meet last-minute deadlines, how to be creative amidst day-to-day mundane chores and to perform under pressure. It is a test of your ability to harmonise your studies and music. 

2. Do your music research well

Make sure that the musical field of your interest has ample scope and that you can make a full-time career out of it. At all times, keep skilling yourself. To expand your musical horizon, you could say, learn instruments, perhaps the violin and piano, and take singing classes, songwriting, or music production to get a good idea of what it is you want to do next. It is also a good idea to have a base in classical music of some form; this will give you the wings to branch out into any genre as you grow in your musical pursuit.  

tip to balance music and academics planning

3. Believe in your ability to work hard

Don’t shy away from hard work. Don’t limit yourself with thoughts that you cannot do two things well. You will learn to extend your boundaries as you go along. Make sure your passion for music is something you don’t mind losing sleep for. More often than not, when you are focussed on a project, you will enjoy it. There will definitely be creative roadblocks like writer’s blocks, mood swings, and so on, but you must persevere and work with direction. 

tips to balance music and academics work hard

Don’t look at your college years as the last time you will be free to have ‘fun’. Look at it as the beginning of the rest of your successful and happy life. After all, if you do what you love doing, you will never work another day in your life!

Remember that you will work long hours in the music industry. Consider this good preparation for those inevitable late nights and early mornings. It is also a good test for you to see if you really have what it takes to survive in this competitive industry.

Take a look at these musicians who managed to qualify themselves despite having an international music career. They must have followed such useful tips for managing music and a busy life.

tips to balance music and academics

4. Equip yourself with skills and degrees in music

If you are in school, learn different musical pursuits. You never know which one will help you in your future career. It could be playing instruments, singing, songwriting, producing, or composing music. Familiarise yourself with folk and classical songs from your country, state, and town as well as music from around the world. Listening to a diverse range of genres will give you in depth appreciation for music and musicians, songs and singers and writers.

You have the most time for practice at the school level as the academic workload is the least at this time. At the same time, some crucial years require you to focus longer on studies. The wonderful thing is that the National Education Policy (NEP) addresses the needs of creative people like you and wants you to pursue your musical aspiration. It is now mandatory to offer courses and electives in music and performing arts at various levels of education. So, even in senior school, music can be one of your elective subjects. 

tips to balance music and academics gift

Of course, in college, you can pursue a music degree which will give you the theoretical as well as practical aspects of the music industry. This will give you a solid base. And then, your work hours can be all about fulfilling your musical dreams!

Did you know these benefits of music?

tips to balance music and academics benefits of music

5. Use student life to the maximum

Participate in school cultural events, morning assemblies, college fests, inter-school and inter-collegiate competitions, and join cultural clubs, form a band, and take the lead in organizing musical events. 

tips to balance music and academics student

Once you are in college, make sure you use it as your stepping stone – the platform where you can carry out every ‘crazy’ idea that took birth within you. Like forming a band, investing in a drum set, auditioning for the Radio Jockey post, and being in charge of the choir. Be fearless and experiment to the fullest. Without inhibitions. The best thing about being in college is the independence of mind, body, and spirit that you experience. Let it all out!

6. Build your musical community in college

tips to balance music and academics community

The wonderful thing about student life is the diversity of people you have access to. You get a real sense of the crowd that you will play your music to one day. This is the paying public that will become your fan/anti-fan one day! So, mingle, learn, and sound off your musical ideas to them.  

7. Make use of social media, internet & music apps

tips to balance music and academics social media

You don’t have to wait for an agent or record company to recognize your talent. You have the free world of the internet to help you with advertising your musical skills. Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify to increase your visibility and fanbase. 

Note: Make sure that you don’t make social media a time-waster in your life! Use it productively.

Bust that myth about ‘No time’

Singer, songwriter, and Dean of SaPa, Bindu Subramaniam has this to say about insufficient time for practice: “You need to find space for everything that you value in your life. My dad (violin maestro, Dr. L Subramaniam) always used to give this example that his dad always gave him, ‘Did you brush your teeth today, did you bathe today, did you eat food…ok…so you have time for all of these things and yet somehow…!’ 

8. Get a part-time job in the music industry

tips to balance music and academics job

You can source contacts from music events in college and intern in a music company. Or offer to assist your college music teacher – get experience and insight into different aspects of music. So you will be able to understand what line you are best suited for. This will also help you with financial issues so that you are able to save up for the requirements of your musical career.

These tips will increase your focus on music. So, grow your musical aspirations as you study and qualify yourself for that bill-paying job. After all, it is the job that will pay for your musical investments and eventually help you fulfill your musical goals. 

You could also boost your musical skill sets and take classes with SaPa’s self-paced courses, taught by music legends from the industry. These are courses you always wanted to learn but never had the time to sign up for – 15 different disciplines – singing, playing, music production, songwriting in different musical genres. Explore now and become a master in no time!

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