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Sunny Jong
Noodle Expert Member

May 12, 2020

Music involvement might sound like a considerable commitment, but it doesn't need to be as big of an investment of time and resource as it might seem!

Many students who partake in music during middle and high school often discontinue those endeavors in college under concerns of “being too busy," or perhaps because they want to focus on their major. To be fair, wanting to do more substantive things in college stems from a strong sense of compunction, and the feeling that one should utilize one’s time in college in a way that is the most meaningful and fiscally responsible. However, what often follows from this  is a downright discontinuation of the art when music, just as any other extracurricular, even when done casually, can become an incredibly important part of your college experience. Given that the college experience is, aside from academics, also about investigating one’s interests and hobbies beyond the classroom, there’s no reason that music can’t be one of them. Here are some ways you can get involved in music on campus without needing to major in it.

Join an ensemble or take a music class

You might think that it’s better to reserve more time for doing homework and studying for exams, but breaks are important too. Music is a great way to unwind and dedicate yourself to an activity that is cathartic, fun, and social, and music classes allow for you to do all three of these things. College students are busy, and college ensembles understand that, so there are normally only one or two rehearsals per week (often at night so as not to interfere with your other classes). These sessions are perfect opportunities for you to immerse yourself into social circles with people you often wouldn’t meet in general education or major-specific classes, which expands your social circle in ways that you otherwise probably wouldn’t have been able to. 

Partake in a music club or extracurricular orchestra

Some schools might not have strong music programs for you - or you might not want to spend the money on enrolling in music classes and ensembles. Fortunately, a very adequate alternative to those options is simply either to join a music club, or to apply to ensembles beyond the campus. On-campus music clubs offer a great creative outlet for your musical needs. They offer the proper time and place to practice and socialize with others in the context of studying or performing music, alongside a seamless way to integrate music into your daily life. It’s also possible for music clubs to book gigs for their members to perform formally at public events - you might even be able to make some pocket change. 

Extracurricular ensembles and chambers are most commonly youth orchestras that bring together musicians typically ranging from their pre-teens to those in their mid-twenties. These communities are paramount for providing those interested with the opportunity to take part in something that is less rigorous than a professional ensemble, but nevertheless replete with golden opportunities to perform in concert halls and travel. It also gives you access to a more closed community (they might require auditions) wherein you can truly become intimate with your peers through the different experiences of rehearsing, performing, and sometimes just hanging out together as an orchestra. 

Play purely for recreation

You don’t need to validate your musical passions with school activities or by being an active community member in the music scene. If it comes to it, you can simply play in the comfort of your own personal space and on your own time! Music doesn’t necessitate a participation in some event or performance - you can just do it all for yourself. Sometimes you just need to take your mind off all your obligations for a moment and just play your heart out, and music is the instrument (literally too, of course) that facilitates that type of stress relief. At the end of the day, music can help your mental health, and you don’t need to make something out of it for it to be worth your time!

All things considered, the benefits of music involvement on any scale are abundant and self-evident. Of course, this is just one of the infinite number of other extracurriculars that you should explore as well, and you won’t be missing out on life-changing experience in not playing music. Just remember that it can be a great way to enjoy yourself, and that it provides you with outlets you can use to express yourself creatively, and to relieve yourself emotionally so long as you need or want to.

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