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Author Topic: Time Management Struggles -AP Kid  (Read 1742 times)
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Bimmerman
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« Reply #20 on: Oct 09, 2017, 10:49PM »

I see a bit of myself in you.

I did all the APs offered at my school, a number of IB classes, did really well on the ACT and pretty decent on the SAT, was in NHS, youth orchestra, jazz band, musical pit, wind ensemble and marching band (for a time), hosted a german exchange student then I went to germany, and worked 12-16 hours a week for gas money. I didn't spend any time volunteering beyond the requirements for NHS, because honestly I didn't have time to volunteer AND earn money to do activities. Looking back I would have just skipped NHS entirely but that's about the only thing I'd do differently.

I still made time for scouts (leadership/occasional volunteering/fun activities), gaming/movies/friends, and practicing (made all-state jazz senior year). Generally speaking, I played my horn 1-3hrs per week in addition to all the other playing I was doing.

I knew I was never going to hack it as a professional musician, even then, but I enjoyed playing as a form of release from the math and science courses I was putting serious effort into. I didn't end up majoring in music, or even playing during college. I went into engineering with both feet and still love it. I started playing again in grad school, and have continued to play off and on once I started working. That has been extremely fulfilling, and sufficient for me.

From the sounds of things you're on the musician track much more so than I ever was, so I'd definitely focus your energy there. Remember that music for you is not only a massive time sink nor just a means for self improvement and community enrichment, but you're most importantly developing a skill with which you intend to be paid for-- in that sense it is absolutely no different than me making the time to figure out how to code, how to math, or how to machine. Trim down the other activities you're involved in accordingly. Maybe take an independent study course into music history, or arrange with your school teacher to perform a recital, any of those would be much more in keeping with a self-starter musician than adding another club and officer to the resume.

Anyway, back semi-on-topic. I strongly believe that the number of extra curriculars is way less important than the quality of your involvement in them. The scattershot approach really isn't worth doing in my opinion, both from my biased point of view but also from seeing what that approach did to friends and classmates who pursued it--it didn't work for 99% of them.

As a junior, I think you should start looking at what colleges provide the program you are looking for. I discovered that CU Boulder had a great engineering school and awesome extracurriculars (skiing! racecars! non-pisswater beer! racecars!!) so even though I had the academics and much of the requisite college-app-padding, I applied to the school in my hometown and got in easily. You may find the right fit for you for a trombone program isn't at a name brand school but rather a closer school to home or a school further away but that doesn't care about how much of a leader you were in picking up soup cans once a year (my bias is showing). Tied to this is the inherent student loan vs scholarships vs working triangle of paying for school. Do not overlook this: $100k+ in debt as a mid 20s is crippling no matter how much you earn out of school.

The last thing I'll say is that I knew a number of people from my high school (in 2006) who did the college-app-padding, i.e. joined a number of clubs and became officers of them, volunteered 30+ hours a week, had perfect grades, perfect SAT or ACT scores (don't think anyone pulled off both from my school), etc etc. Many of them applied to all the Ivys and a number of the almosts, and the vast majority of them didn't get in. It's not that they didn't work hard, but by doing everything they didn't have any focus except for blatant college app padding. They didn't distinguish themselves except as members of the gotta-do-it-all herd.

I'm not saying you are doing the same, but be realistic in what you can put full effort into, and how that comes across. It's far less impressive to do a little of everything as doing a few things extremely well (in addition to academics, not instead of). You need the academics to get in the door and to be looked at by the admissions committee; the rest of what you bring to the table should be focused on what you enjoy, not on ticking boxes for the application committee's benefit.
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Dan Hine

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« Reply #21 on: Oct 10, 2017, 03:43AM »

Because everyone else seems to be able to do everything.

So?   ;-)

You need to live your life.  Don't spend your life comparing it to someone else's. 
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trombonemetal

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« Reply #22 on: Oct 10, 2017, 05:49AM »

Yes, I am. I want to major in trombone performance.

If that is the case, you need to prioritize your practicing and find a good trombone teacher. It is as simple as that. If you don't sound good at your audition no music school will want you regardless of extracurriculars.
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« Reply #23 on: Oct 10, 2017, 06:16AM »

Also bear in mind that people put on a very different life on facebook that they actually live.  Nobody posts things that they find truly embarrassing. The grass is always greener on the other side of the road.

Concerning putting eggs in one basket: There are obviously people here who have made careers out of trombone and I still imagine it will be possible moving forward. However, even if you plan on being a full time performer (e.g. in a major symphony or something) academics are still important.  Many players rely on academics to at least some extent for their income - for better or for worse.  The highest income earners n the field that I'm aware of (outside of say, popular entertainment) are symphony or studio players that are also on the faculty of some academic institution.  Those that don't have diversified in some other area. Lindberg and Trudel, for example, transitioning primarily, as far as I can tell, into the world of conducting.

So do bear that in mind.  Also know that if you decide to transition later, as I did, having a good academic background helps a lot. I have a degree in music and later received a degree in business and now am doing a masters in data science.  If I had really gone all in on the trombone playing its possible I'd still be playing although I would have also had a lot of closed doors.  Doing something else and making trombone an avocation gives a lot of flexibility in life. But there's obviously many, many options so don't worry too much about it, just keep in mind that if you can keep doors open without too uch effort its probably worth it!
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« Reply #24 on: Oct 10, 2017, 02:24PM »


I want to go to school as a music major. I am taking test prep as one of my classes in school, and throughout the year we go over the PSAT, SAT, and ACT (as part of our grade). My mom thinks it is necessary to take all three exams, as those are the exams colleges look to see that you have taken, and most juniors take all three. With the PSAT you can qualify for scholarships, and any extra money would help pay for college.

I like your advice about centering my extracurriculars around music- I plan on auditioning for select band and doing other performance-centered activities throughout the year. As for leadership, there are limited options available for me as far as I know. We have Tri-M (National music honor society), but the officers already are in place.

As far as my other extracurriculars go, I like art, so I am an officer for our Art Club. I am in NHS because it is centered mostly around volunteer work and making successful leaders, etc. I am Christian, and I volunteer with AWANA, a children's ministry.

A lot of the things I do, like take AP classes, standardized tests, and being in NHS are mostly because it is what is being done. Yet, each activity does have its advantages, especially considering college in general.

In the end, I'm not sure what activities I could drop.

Isabel, I don't think anyone on the forum is questioning whether you have reasons to do what you do.  What we question is why in the world would you ever be a Trombone Performance major given everything you have told us about yourself.  You are building an incredible resume to be an engineer,  a business major, a pre-med major or even a psychology major.....you have AP classes, you have lots of leadership and you have lots of volunteer work.  I suspect that most of your friends, who you may be hearing advice from, are going to be engineers, pre-med, or business majors.  Indeed this is the direction most High School counselors send kids too.....these types of jobs tend to pay the bills really, really well - even if you just have average competence......

Your resume just doesn't read music major . Your question was:  "How do I squeeze in music in between all of that other stuff."  We all wish your question would have been "How do I squeeze in all of that other stuff between all of the music you need to play.."

Consider joining a Community Band and volunteer to be the assistant director. That gives you leadership outside of school - which very, very few high school students have the maturity to reach for.....and you will likely be far more successful in a music related leadership role if it is your passion.    (Not sure what Select Band is:  If it is a Community Band, it sounds like a great idea - If it is a third school band, that you won't have time to practice for, I am not sure it will benefit you).

........the real problem is that life can sometimes totally suck.  We all deal with it.

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« Reply #25 on: Oct 10, 2017, 04:49PM »

I am a junior in high school, and now that school is in full swing, I have found that I have gone from practice at least an hour everyday during the summer to practicing a total of about a hour or two during the school week.

I have a very busy schedule, as I am pretty involved in extracurricular activities. I volunteer every Wednesday, I am in the National Honor Society, and I am a club officer, and was involved in making a parade float for Homecoming. I just took Driver's Ed and have been learning to drive, which has been taking up a lot of my spare time.

Not only is my extracurricular life busy, but I am in 2 AP classes and a higher level math class. Also, since I am a junior, I will be taking the PSAT, SAT, and ACT this year.
(I am in two music classes at school, so at least I am getting some playing time in, though it is not individual practice.)

How can I get in much needed practice time in? Any suggestions to how I can manage my time more efficiently, or fit in practicing?
Thanks :)

Apologies to anyone who has already pointed these things out...

Most of these burdens are self-inflicted, unnecessary and provide no benefit.

-NHS officer... let someone else do this ceremonial task
-Parade float... if you enjoy it, OK, it's a social opportunity, but the float will still happen witout you.
-AP classes... research has shown that aside from the few people who take and pass the final AP exam, there's no academic benefit to them.
-PSAT, SAT ... why both? Typically people do the PSAT as junior and SAT as a senior. The PSAT is mostly just a practice.
-SAT, ACT... why both? most colleges will take either and neither is regarded as superior.


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Bimmerman
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« Reply #26 on: Oct 10, 2017, 05:02PM »

Apologies to anyone who has already pointed these things out...

Most of these burdens are self-inflicted, unnecessary and provide no benefit.

-NHS officer... let someone else do this ceremonial task
-Parade float... if you enjoy it, OK, it's a social opportunity, but the float will still happen witout you.
-AP classes... research has shown that aside from the few people who take and pass the final AP exam, there's no academic benefit to them.
-PSAT, SAT ... why both? Typically people do the PSAT as junior and SAT as a senior. The PSAT is mostly just a practice.
-SAT, ACT... why both? most colleges will take either and neither is regarded as superior.

I agree with you aside from the AP thing. If you do well on those exams you can eliminate most if not all of the prerequisite classes and jump right in to the interesting ones for whatever major you're aiming for. For music, this could very well mean you get more time for practicing, bands, etc rather than suffer through Pride and Prejudice again or learn about Integrals again. At the very least you can save some serious coin by not having to be in school as long. A couple good friends entered college with practically junior standing due to AP and IB class credits, and were able to immediately double major and take relevant classes.

I took both SAT and ACT because schools I thought I wanted to go to preferred one or the other, even if I eventually only applied to one school. I don't think I took the PSAT...or really spent much time doing test prep beyond a week or two ahead of the exam date.
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MTbassbone

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« Reply #27 on: Oct 10, 2017, 08:17PM »

I think the main piece of advice is play every day, and if you only have a few minutes focus on the quality of those minutes rather than the quantity.    Our culture in many cases associates quantity with quality.  We need to get away from associating a measurement of time practicing with being a successful musician.  In the beginning stages I can agree using reasonably timed practice sessions can be of use.  Once basic mechanics and concepts have been developed by a student I think the clock can be relied on less and use of each minute focused on more.  There's no sense in pounding away on something for hours if you are not focusing on what needs to be addressed.  Know which methods of study work for you, don't leave for tomorrow what can be done today, and most pertinent to this post use the effective forms of practice for you.  In regards to your other activities I would say take advantage of each opportunity you can.  Education is not typically free after you leave high school and most of the extra curricular activities will also dry up.  Some have suggested these activities hold less value for the original poster's future.  I disagree as nearly everyone could benefit from leadership, being part of a team, being a good listener, problem solving, have a well rounded background.  Some will argue these skills can be taught in the classroom, but I have yet to find a replacement for life experiences.  So how does the OPer manage the chaos?  Certainly a planner of some sort will be important, but sticking to the schedule will be critical.  Find ways to utilize small gaps in your schedule that would have normally been wasted time.  My grandfather would say "inch by inch, it's a cinch, mile by mile, it'll be a while." If you arrive early to your next scheduled event or maybe just 2-3 min at lunch, then utilize that opportunity.  I would not carry a mouthpiece with you, and buzz between classes or similar.  To me it trivializes playing trombone.  You should play trombone when you are completely focused and dedicated to playing the trombone.  I would also remember you can't possibly do everything and carving out time to let your brain have a break is important.  Finally, get enough rest and know when you need to rest.  This is such an important part of physical and mental health.  Is it really going to be beneficial to stay up 2 hours late to study when your batteries are already drained or would it better to sleep then wake 30 minutes early to study? Additionally if you carve out sufficient time and study effeciently late night study may not be neccessary.  Regardless of what you decide to do remain curious.  Strive to learn something new everyday.  Remain open to new ideas, and be tolerant of ideas that you may find less than ideal.  Comparisons to peers, professionals, and icons should be taken with a huge grain of salt, and be given context.  Be yourself.  You will for the most part sound like you.  Take care of yourself physically and mentally.  Be prepared for the next day.  Be on time.  Be nice.  Enjoy the ride.   Clever

BTW.  If you change your mind about what you want do with your life, that's cool.  You don't have to have it all figured out right now. Everyone is a work in progress.
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« Reply #28 on: Oct 12, 2017, 04:22PM »

It sounds not entirely unlike my daughter's life in high school.  Her full IB schedule kept her plenty busy.  Every year, guidance had to be reminded that she really did need to take those music courses. 

While applying to music programs, she met students who had gone the home school route to maximize practice time.  So they had very different high school experiences.  Yeah, she had to focus her activities a little more.  Maybe her social life took the biggest hit, but she seems to have survived.  There were times when being a full IB student seemed like a waste of time, given that her goal was music.  In the end, she got to the school she wanted to, so I guess it's all good.

You really do need to find a way to practice most days.  Don't undervalue the importance of getting in a good 20 to 30 minutes of practice, if that's all the time you have.
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« Reply #29 on: Oct 12, 2017, 05:03PM »

I don't want to give you bad advice, just an alternative way of thinking. You can ignore this of course if it's not helpful.

I did not like high school very much at all. I knew quite early on that I wanted to play trombone after high school so I never understood or took any interest in classes that I didn't think had any relevance. In my last couple of years at high school I used to wag class every so often and find a space to just practice, I also got to school hours early to practice and sometimes I stayed after school to practice. I went out of my way to not be involved in classes that didn't interest me. I had countless detentions and was suspended from school probably into the double didgets for missing class or just not turning up to school. Kind of a stupid punishment  :D

I don't know what the entry requirements for trombone are at the schools you are looking at applying to, but when I did it, it was just an average Mark in English as well as a specific live audition for the school.
I personally never understood why people made such a big deal out of high school.... even if you do terribly in your end of high school exams, there are ways to get into courses and institutions you want through other means. I have friends who essentially failed several end of high school exams who have ended up very successful in their chosen fields. I got very ordinary marks myself at the end for everything not trombone related. I got into various good schools for trombone throughout my studies post high school, and won scholarships based on merit or audition at basically every university I went to.

Whilst I haven't made a mint in savings, I have managed to survive the last several years paying my own rent, food, and fees solely through trombone performance (and a tiny bit of teaching). I recently left my country to continue study at an extremely high level music school in the states.

I guess what I am saying is that I really do not see any point in making your life overly busy with things you don't want to do while you are in high school. High school means pretty much nothing in the real world.

The only time I have ever encounted a "problem" with poor academics in high school was after I won an audition for a bass trombone job in a military band a few years ago. After I auditioned they asked for copies of all my qualifications. I just gave them copies of my bachelor's as well as proof I was doing a master's in trombone. They asked for my high school certificate and management said that it was a problem that I had failed year 10 maths class and then dropped out of maths completely. After a while they told me that based on my audition they would "overlook my high school results". Ridiculous  :D aside from that, my high school results have never been mentioned or asked for.

If you want to do trombone, maybe just focus on how you can get the most improvement and benefit from your time doing just that? If in a few years trombone is not for You, there are plenty of other things you can do, and there are plenty of ways of doing them.

A lot of adults (My parents included!) Will talk about how not doing well in high school will "close so many doors" (I used to HATE having that said to me!) But if you know all the doors you want to go through are trombone shaped maybe consider just doing what it required to get through those specific doors?

Up to you of course, you know what is best for you. Hope you can balance your schedule in a way that works!
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« Reply #30 on: Oct 13, 2017, 08:47PM »

Most of the students I have taught since living in North Carolina have been high school students and middle school students. They all have busy schedules just like you. They are involved with marching band, after school club meetings, church activities, sports, work on weekends, and  in addition they have home work. During the school year I tell them to practice 20 minutes a day. They already have played in band so only a quick warmup is needed. Buzz a tune on the mouthpiece, a few lip slurs, rapid tonguing, and a F major scale two octaves. since these students are working towards auditioning for the all county bands that is what I focus on in the lesson and they focus on in practice at home. we actually start working on the scales for the next school year once school is out. I treat the scales like they are brand new to the student. How do they do??????? Very well. They always make all county most make all district and a few make all state. My teaching approach is basd on time management of the practice time at home by teaching them how to listen to themselves and fix their problems at home. It also helps to have supportive parents. That makes a huge difference. By the way most don't major in music when they graduate from HS. They major in engineering medical field, political science,etc. Being in music in high school has disciplined them preparation for life. DO they still play the trombones? yes...in their university bands. I am honored to have a small part of their lives.
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« Reply #31 on: Oct 16, 2017, 11:36AM »

I don't want to give you bad advice, just an alternative way of thinking. You can ignore this of course if it's not helpful.

I did not like high school very much at all. I knew quite early on that I wanted to play trombone after high school so I never understood or took any interest in classes that I didn't think had any relevance.......

I don't know what the entry requirements for trombone are at the schools you are looking at applying to, but when I did it, it was just an average Mark in English as well as a specific live audition for the school.
I personally never understood why people made such a big deal out of high school.... even if you do terribly in your end of high school exams, there are ways to get into courses and institutions you want through other means. I have friends who essentially failed several end of high school exams who have ended up very successful in their chosen fields. I got very ordinary marks myself at the end for everything not trombone related. I got into various good schools for trombone throughout my studies post high school, and won scholarships based on merit or audition at basically every university I went to.

Whilst I haven't made a mint in savings, I have managed to survive the last several years paying my own rent, food, and fees solely through trombone performance (and a tiny bit of teaching). I recently left my country to continue study at an extremely high level music school in the states.

I guess what I am saying is that I really do not see any point in making your life overly busy with things you don't want to do while you are in high school. High school means pretty much nothing in the real world.......

A lot of adults (My parents included!) Will talk about how not doing well in high school will "close so many doors" (I used to HATE having that said to me!) But if you know all the doors you want to go through are trombone shaped maybe consider just doing what it required to get through those specific doors?

Up to you of course, you know what is best for you. Hope you can balance your schedule in a way that works!

......what it looks like to be a real Performance Major and musician.......willing to do what others won't risk.....All in on Trobone, and betting his life on it.......the only way to be truly successful and happy in this world.
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