When I applied to the University of Illinois, I knew that I wanted to major in Music Psychology, but I had only found two undergraduate programs in the country that offered anything of the sort. UIUC was one, which offered a broader, student-led course structure than anywhere else I had researched. I simply had to attend.
I start my mornings with Music Theory at 9 a.m. everyday of the week. Usually this means I wake up at 8:45 and run in panic to my class, or, on a good day, I wake up earlier to have a less-stressful morning. Regardless, I spend an hour in Music Theory, learning about anything from microphones, recordings, and soundwaves to general theory topics, before heading off to Musicianship at 10 a.m., three days a week.
In Musicianship, my hour is spent sight-singing or practicing writing out melodies that I hear. I find this class to be one of the most enjoyable because of the goosebumps I feel every time I hear our full lecture hall sing out a chorale we’re reading on the spot. I love being surrounded by a community as in love with music as I am, and the passion in that room is so clear when we can sing together or laugh when we randomly lose all of our pitches.
I also attend my School of Fine and Applied Arts orientation lecture at 11 a.m. twice a week, during which I am given time to become acquainted with campus and listen to lectures about diversity in art and in the University. I have greatly enjoyed all of the lectures in this class because they discuss the numerous opportunities available in the art fields at the University of Illinois, and I am always learning new ways to become involved.
As a first-year student, my music-oriented classes for this semester stop here. Music+ places me in the general music program, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, so I am not required to take any more music classes or instrument-specific classes for the semester. I do, however, take my psychology classes in the afternoon.
I am enrolled in two psychology classes: Perception and Sensory Processes and Language, Mind, and Brain. The two classes alternate days of the week, and I manage to finish all my classes by 2 p.m. every day.
When registering for classes, I attempted to choose psychology courses that sounded interesting and applicable to music. And even with the few weeks I’ve been in classes, I’ve already been able to make multiple musical connections in these classes, especially when my Perception and Sensory Processes classes discussed timbre and the perception of sounds in instruments.
Music+ degrees are very broad, and even in my first semester, I have had plenty of freedom to find coursework that is most applicable to the subjects that I’m interested in. My days are busy, but I spend almost every second in a class that I am genuinely interested in, which makes the time spent so worthwhile.