The Importance of Rest as a Musician
Being in college as an undergraduate or a graduate student is a lot more difficult than people like to think it is. Especially in the school of music, where what we do as musicians isn’t necessarily always physically taxing. But, music takes a lot of skill, effort, time, and mental focus to do well, and that can take a toll on your mental health.
If you peek at your class syllabi, you might find a sentence or two on excused absences. This is something that can be easily overlooked, but is so important to see what your specific professor’s policies are. Sometimes professors allot a couple days for unexcused absences, while others expect an email beforehand if you know you’ll miss class. Whatever the case may be, use these to your advantage! You won’t be able to be fully present in your classes if you need to rest, whether that be physically or mentally.
Again, college is hard! It can be stressful, especially when you factor in your personal life, your social life, romantic relationships, etc. If you feel that you need time to rest, take the time to rest. Something my violin professor Dr. Koo said in a studio class recently is this; “resting is more important than practicing”, and that is so true! How many times have you gotten into the practice room, opened your instrument case, and realized you are having a hard time focusing because you are exhausted? I’ve had my fair share of those days, and it really does make a difference to rest instead of forcing yourself to practice in those instances. I am a huge proponent of napping (much to my parent’s chagrin), but also rest is super important because during the school year you are playing your instrument a lot. Various ensembles, your lesson materials, auditions, among many other obligations take up a lot of your time and can take a toll on your body if you are not careful. I’ve seen violin performance majors have to switch their major by the end of their degree program because they sustained an injury from playing too much, or pushing through pain. Especially if you feel any pain while playing, stop and make sure to discuss it in your next lesson!
Rest is productive, and it is necessary as musicians to make sure we are being kind to our minds and our bodies. Bottom line; if you need to rest, rest!
Working Out as a Musician: Is It Important?
Before I entered my undergraduate studies, I wasn’t the most active person out there. Gym class was my least favorite class I had to take growing up. Something about the competitiveness of sports was always unappealing to me (truthfully, it still deters me from playing sports today). When I began my undergraduate studies at UW-Madison, I started to take advantage of the gyms on campus, but I wasn’t consistent with it. This semester, however, I really wanted to take charge of my health, so with the help of a great friend I’ve been consistently going to the gym for over a month now.
The Many Misconceptions of College Life
I don’t think I’ve ever felt pressure as intense as what I’ve felt in college.
There’s a lot of rumors and ideas that float around college before you ever even get here. You hear plenty of people tell you it’s going to be the greatest years of your life, or it will go by so quickly, or that you’ll grow and change so much as a person that you’ll drift away from your closest high school friends.
Fall Back Into Fitness
Musicians spend a lot of time practicing their instruments every day. Although it is an indispensable daily routine, being sedentary and maintaining the same posture for a long time can bring about various body aches, or more seriously even irreversible pain and sequelae to the body. So far, I am glad that I have not experienced such troubles, perhaps because I have maintained the habit of exercising. Whenever I become tired after practicing piano or doing homework, I can always rejuvenate myself by exercising.
As a college student, mental health is crucial to ensuring that you succeed in your studies and making the most out of your college experience. I think that as a performance major there is even more at stake when there is always a constant reliance on emotional, physical, and mental well-being.