The Freshmen Experience: Music Major Style

Starting your freshmen year of college is an exciting and potentially nerve-wracking time, especially this year in the midst of Covid-19. While the freshmen experience this year is unique, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’ve had the chance to talk to a few of our freshmen music majors about their experience their first semester and we’re glad to see that while it may be challenging, they are finding the bright side.

Coming into your freshmen year many new students are excited about the potential of making new friends and being a part of their new community, with COVID that aspect looks a little different. In order to best protect our students, the University of Memphis has held the majority of classes online this semester, for music majors, this is particularly challenging in terms of ensembles, however, the university and its students have adapted to make the best of it.

“Obviously, a big con would be the restrictions that COVID has put on the college experience. It’s been hard to meet people, most classes and ensembles are strictly virtual,” explained Amanda Roesch, freshmen saxophone major, “Some pros are that the friendships that I have formed are very tight and close because we aren’t stretching ourselves thin over multiple friend groups and the virtual learning has allowed for my schedule to be more flexible so I can practice more.”

As Roesch explained there are benefits to the online scheduling. The average freshmen music major takes 15-18 credit hours per semester. The courses include Music Theory, Ear Training, Class Piano, Applied lessons, Large ensemble, and 1 or 2 core classes such as Math or English. As a music major not only are our students responsible for their course work in these classes, but they are also responsible for practice time on their instrument. This requires many of our freshmen to learn rather early how to manage their time effectively.

“The best way to manage your time is either put everything you are doing in a calendar app on your phone or have a written-out schedule for the day. A to-do list for the next day is also a good thing to do before you go to bed so that you have an idea of everything you need to accomplish the next day so you can better schedule what the day will look like,” said Amanda Roesch.

With this rigorous schedule, it is important that the students still make time for themselves outside of schoolwork.

“I plan out each week in advance, and I make sure that I have plenty of time to do my work and still socialize,” said Jacob Happy, freshmen saxophone major.

While our students may not get to meet with their professors face-to-face like normal this semester, those relationships are still being built and are there to help out the students.

“Our professors truly care about us and are always there to help you when you need it, whether it be pertaining to a class or just help in general,” said Karoline Larsen, freshmen voice student.

While this year might look different than normal, the UofM is doing our best to make the experience as fulfilling for our students.

“I cannot imagine going to college anywhere but the University of Memphis. Between the exceptional music professors, professional music scene, and talented students there is so much to learn about music here while getting the opportunity to make music of your own,” said Amanda Roesch.

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