Category Archives: Music

Happy New (Academic) Year!

And Happy Solar Eclipse Day! I hope this first post finds you all well, and excited for the new year. I took a blog hiatus for a bit last spring, but I am resuming with a slightly different focus for this year. Even though there are a lot of very good blogs about careers in music and the arts, I want to give you my personal perspective and thoughts from articles and postings that I find particularly interesting.

This is a good time to take stock of your goals and your plans for the new year. I am guessing that readers of this blog are students, whether high school, in college, or beyond. If you’re in high school and thinking about studying music in college, fall is a perfect time to think about what kind of life you would like to have as a musician. Keep in mind it’s not always a straight line!  Look for schools that fit your needs: degree, faculty, performance opportunities, and facilities. Also, schedule a lesson with a faculty member – remember that this is someone you’ll be with for four years, so this is really important! Visit a campus, sit in on classes, talk with current students. It may seem like a lot of work, but you want to be sure your college of choice is a good fit.

Dawn of a new academic year at Colorado State University. Photo by CSU student Ben Thomas (@itsbentumnus on Instagram)

If you’re reading this as a current university student, think about where you are in your studies. Are you taking advantage of all of the opportunities available to you? I’m talking about non-musical as well as musical opportunities, such as working with your composer friends, being part of the event staff so you get experience in that realm, or other aspects of life as a musician. We have to wear a lot of hats as musicians (more about mine in the next post). Networking is important because you never know where a friendship or collaboration might lead in the future. And remember that talking with people is still important, especially in this age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

I encourage all of you to make a list of your goals for the year-as a person, as a musician. Keep it handy so you can look at it on a regular basis and make changes as you need. My goal list is quite lengthy, as usual, so take small steps if yours feels overwhelming. You will find your own routine.

So, take charge! The semester is just getting started here at Colorado State, but I am very excited about this year.

Until next time,
Margaret Miller
Assistant Professor of Viola
Coordinator, Graduate Quartet Program
Undergraduate Coordinator, LEAP Institute for the Arts
School of Music, Theatre, and Dance