Pressure, pushing down on me.

In the words of the great David Bowie, I’m “under pressure.” Severe pressure. And you would be, too, if you were a music major.

Here’s some insight into the life of a music major, specifically a music education major: We have our private lessons, sight singing class, and piano class (that’s not even a complete list of classes, but I’ll keep this post at a reasonable length and only write about those three).

For our final exam in sight singing, we have a dictation exam where we listen to music and transcribe it to sheet music. This is one of the only exams ever during which I’ve felt on the verge of tears. Then we have our individual audit, which is when we go into a room with our professor, sight-read some music, and sing some prepared (and very difficult) music.

For our final piano exam, we go into a room with our professor and the head of the piano pedagogy department and do scales, arpeggios, chord progressions, modal scales, a prepared piece, an improvisation piece, and a sight-read piece. This is the other exam I almost cried in. Here’s a thought: If I get nervous performing an instrument (voice) that I’ve been practicing with forever and feel super comfortable with, how am I supposed to feel calm while I’m performing on an instrument (piano) that I’m not nearly as accustomed to? It was one of the most frightening exams of my life.

Finally, there are our juries. For my voice juries, I have to memorize six songs. This semester I have one in German, two in Italian, one in French, and two in English. We have to go into a room of four professors (the four voice professors) and perform two to three songs (this semester, I have to perform three). I get to choose one, I have one that I had to prepare on my own that is also required of me to sing, and one the professors get to pick.

That’s my life for the next week. And, on top of that, I have five more exams. So, yes, David Bowie’s song is perfect for my stressful and panic-attack-inducing life.


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