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Very unhappy in music performance.

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Replies to: Very unhappy in music performance.

  • bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
    Life is too long and you are too young to be making a "mistake". There is no right or wrong path in life. Just take things one summer, one semester at a time. And open yourself up to the many paths in life. In other words be careful with black and white thinking. Live in the gray for awhile. It might suit you!

    Also you have permission to mourn your old dreams. It's not silly to feel sad about potentially not graduating with "your" class. It's just something you may have to face to get to a happier place. And many people take more than 4 years to graduate. Again there's no right or wrong way to do college.

    I'm glad you said you sometimes feel excited. That's your new dream just poking it's head out. Funny thing about dreams. There's always a new one right behind the old one. You've made space for that new dream. Congrats on being brave.
  • profgreenbeatprofgreenbeat Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hi, I am a young college music professor and I seem to come across several students that confide similar things that you mention (unhappiness, loving music in high school and hating it in college, anxiety over possibly developing repetitive strain injury, suicidal thoughts especially when facing master classes, performances, etc). The students I am referring to are intelligent, creative, musical, and are not losers. One damaging thing that has been told to my students is that if they change their minds, they are "quitters". I am guessing you are in your early 20's and having anxiety about "quitting". What people forget is that to get a music degree at a reputable school, students must practice 3-5 hours A DAY and keep up on other responsibilities and the pressures for a music student are real. These pressures can cause serious stress that can alter the chemical makeup of your brain and cause depression, making treatment from a professional necessary. Most of my music students haven't experienced the solitude of long practice and hearing more necessary criticism than praise after making an effort. They are unprepared for this stress--they do not know how to manage it and they enter into depression. I actually believe if a young person is so unhappy that they hate it, they need to do something different and find other musical ways to express themselves in a low pressure environment. The shortcomings of most college music programs is that a whole music program of study is predetermined while the young music student still believes music is to help them be creative; they don't realize a music program is usually not designed to teach creativity and expression; it is designed to push a student through technique developing repertoire--then the student becomes confused toward their negative feelings about music. If you are worried about regretting "quitting", get yourself a teacher "outside academia" that can help you feel good about practice and dedicate your time to something you do like. If you want to go back to music, music is always there. This whole idea that a music degree is for the "music winners" is a lie. True, musicians don't always feel like practicing, but there is a difference between a momentary feeling of common laziness and a true persistent anxiety driven nagging misery. Once a student enters that state of intense anxiety that requires therapy, they need to look at what will give them satisfaction in life. Is it a music degree? Only the student can decide. I wish you well.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    It can be hard to tell if you are depressed because you don't want to do performance, or you are depressed and that makes you feel like you don't want to do performance. There are options, if you feel it is just a depressive bout then you potentially could take a leave of absence, and see how you feel away from it all, you could also maybe take some time off, maybe take courses locally to where your folks live, and then head someplace else. You may find you don't want to do performance, but rather would like to do music while pursuing something else, I don't know if your current music school is a conservatory, or if you are at a music school in university, you could transfer to a ba/bs in something else at the same school if that is the case, or a different school.

    The one thing I heard you say that I wanted to comment on is try not to make this into some thing where in your 20's, you can't decide to do something else.I understand how it can feel, that there is some miracle age you have to get out there and do things, that if you 'miss the window' it somehow is going to hurt you, but that isn't true, people who tell you that quite honestly are full of donkey poop. A lot of people find their true vocation after doing other things, there are people who went to med school who did other things (Michael Crichton, the writer), there are people who thought they wanted to get an MBA and go work in investment banking and found out that would drive them to distraction, performance majors end up going to med school......a lot of times people don't settle down into what they want to do until their 40's. One thing I can tell you from a lot of years of experience, that the idea that moving ahead is all a matter of time, that you get started at 22, and slowly move your way up, simply isn't true, a lot of people during that time change areas they work in, or change companies, and advancement often is a matter of how well you do the job and quite honestly, like it. Those friends of yours who get out at 22 and get a job may find themselves in a job where they don't move up much, you might finally find something when you are 25 and fly.......what I am trying to say is try not to fret that much about the future, whether leaving performance is a mistake, whether you have 'wasted' time, in the end I can almost promise you with 100% certainty it likely not only won't damage your future, that your experience with music likely will give you unique perspective in ways you might not think. Success comes from a lot of things, and knowing what you don't want to do can be a lot more valuable than you think. Careers and vocations are not necessarily linear things, I can attest to that. I got a job out of college that came about by a fluke, it was posted in miscellaneous jobs and was in a field at the time wasn't even a formal profession (software testing, which they never, ever mentioned in my CS program), I took it and have had a career for 30 years in it, because it stuck with me, and if you had asked me before i took the job, I would have looked at you like you are kidding.

    If I can suggest anything, in getting yourself together find someone to work with, a counselor, a psychiatrist, it can be a big help, been there personally, and it makes a difference:)
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,409 Senior Member
    Depression is a chemical/biological disorder probably not caused by feeling stuck. Rather, it is the other way around. It can cause you to feel stuck. The decision to take time off and feel better is probably a great one. Good luck.
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