Despite all of the hours music majors spend on their craft, their classes offer fewer credits per class. Music major students spend hours upon hours practicing in small soundproof booths in PCC’s music lab.
Music performance major Luis Alvarado and music composition major Suzanne Gutierrez have both been playing the flute for about 10 years and spend two to four hours practicing their instrument daily.
Every day Alvarado eats lunch and heads to the music lab to practice for about three hours before his next class.
“You don’t really have a life until you get your degree, and even then it’s questionable if you get your life back,” said Gutierrez about the time put into obtaining a music degree.
Psychology of music major and brass coach for two ensembles at PCC Stephen Wood, who is one semester away from receiving his master’s degree, explained the time-consuming schedule of most music majors.
“Not only do the students have to worry about their regular classes and study for them, but also about the music classes and practicing on their instrument,” he said. “Essentially a music degree requires 35 to 40 percent more work than other degrees.
“So these students put in 35 to 40 hours a week into their music classes only to receive half a credit to one credit, because that’s the value that’s seen in music,” said Wood.
Opera major and singer Diana Pinto said she practices her vocals about an hour a day because too much practice overworks her voice, but she does spend whole afternoons on research alone.
“It’s not something you can just wing,” she said. “I research musical pieces, and if they’re in a foreign language I translate them, that takes a lot of time.”
Even though music majors only get half credits for their classes, Wood says that they have an advantage when seeking a job.
“Most times if you apply for any entry level position in Human Resources with a music degree you will get hired over others applying because they know you are a hard worker, and know how to balance time and prioritize,” he said.
“They also know you’re smart because music makes you smart. It’s been proven.”
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