Updated: Jan 18
Ah!! The junior year is upon and what fun it is! This is such a fantastic year for engaging a student's mind and helping them to see their future beyond their undergraduate studies. At this time music education majors should begin to reach out to area band teachers and starting teaching. Building private lesson programs in schools is a great way for students to get teaching experience and make a difference in the lives of younger students in their community. It also offers a college student insight into what goes into creating a music lesson program at a school. This could be a non-profit endeavor, allowing students to explore grant funding possibilities. It could be for pay, allowing students to negotiate the world of finance and business.
Performance majors must also be active teachers. I love to have my older students practice and perform duet, trios and quartets with freshman flutists. Its amazing to me how much students learn from each other. And allowing an older student to coach and lead a chamber group gives them the responsibility for its musical outcome. It changes how they listen to their ensemble. Students will be expected to research the pieces they will be performing in their Junior recital. I even encourage them to give brief lecture recitals in studio class to give them a chance to practice speaking with confidence and ease in front of an audience.
Orchestral excerpts are continually being learned. Lists of auditions and their required pieces should be collected. Juniors are expected to participate more frequently in mock-auditions and will find themselves performing more in both studio classes and concerts in the community. In fact, by the time the Junior recital comes around, students will have performed the repertoire many times and should feel a mastery over the material and a solid knowledge of the back ground and significance of the pieces they are playing.
Students must look ahead to graduate school auditions or to the job search in their future. They can build their repertoire list for auditions. Start their resumes. Build their websites. Get head shots and think about themselves as performers and teachers. There is so much to do that students may find they need summer studies to get all their classes in and to find time to practice. They may even consider taking an extra year to get it all done. Students may want to add a few business courses to their schedule in order to have some experience in the for-profit or non-profit world of music. Performance majors may want to take a few education classes or extra theory or history to give themselves more marketability when they graduate.
It can be an exciting year, an overwhelming year, a tiring year. But it is a year that, hopefully, guides a student towards their future as independent adults and successful musicians.