Manual for the exhausted musician student: 7 tips on how to survive the conservatoire scene.

If you are a music student, then this manual will most definitely prove useful for you, for I —as well— am a student in a conservatoire and sometimes the school schedule, work and rules drive me cuckoo.

You know that myth that in university students sleep anywhere because of how exhausted they are? Well, not sure if it is a myth or not and thankfully I have not gotten to that point, but I get cranky, frustrated and tired all the time. Do not get me wrong, there are many lessons I enjoy, but there are so many things that exhaust even the most motivated student out there, that I am seriously considering sometimes why people our age even want to go to university.

My first year in a conservatoire was a mess in a way, so many things to get used to, so much organizing, things to do, study, practice, etc. Now in my second year I got the hang of it and I know what I have to do to survive this jungle of music notes and busy musicians, so I am here to share my newly discovered wisdom.

As we all go crazy with exhaustion our classmates keep us afloat, they go through the same roller coaster. They know how it is!

1. Sleep!

No human on this wonderful earth can function without properly charging, much less if they have to play or sing and move up and down from lesson to lesson the next day, so please, sleep as much as you can.

2. Eat homemade meals.

My classmates and even teachers have told me that it did or does affect them that they cannot eat proper foods, because of the crazy schedules and stress you can easily forget or feel too tired to cook proper meals, which results in weight gain or loss of it as well as exhaustion.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you try to always you make your own bento box to bring to school, the cafeteria food is expensive and not even of good quality, so heck, be like Remy in “Ratatouille” get all creative and cook delicious and nutritious meals for yourself, your body will appreciate it.

3. Your agenda is your best friend.

Literally. If you want to be on top of things and not lose your mind in the process you need to have an agenda, whether it is the traditional one or an app in your phone. As a student, writing down hours, homework, projects, e-mails to be sent, deadlines, etc. Is vital or you will be forgetting/confusing certain things and suffer the consequences.

4. Pamper yourself.

Musicians by nature like what they are doing, if not they would have not gotten into a conservatoire willingly —seriously, who gets into this crazy world if not because of passion? But some of us forget to put aside some “me” time, which adds to the general tiredness and might manifest in crankiness or frustration when practicing. Make sure you have some nice evenings in your bed listening to some Debussy or Gershwin while having a cup of tea.

5. Schedule study and practice time.

If you have things to study, do or practice, schedule them. Since there are so many things one has to do, putting  aside certain hours for them ensures that you will have enough time to actually get them done and not throw yourself in the Rhine River like Schumann did!

6. Choose wisely your extracurricular classes/projects.

No matter if you feel like Mozart when he finished a whole overture in one night, that is actually not a good idea, when getting involved in extra projects, lessons and whatnot be aware of the time you have and what other things you have to do plus your own personal time. Believe me, I have been there in my first year and I felt overwhelmed at times.

7. Motivation and support.

Keep your motivation close to you, without it you will start wondering why you got yourself involved in this musical nonsense in the first place. Enjoy what you do, make time to actually play/sing, it is what keeps us happy through our journey.

Make sure you have support from your beloved, friends and/or family as well as your teachers and peers, they are your pillars to healthily develop as a future professional musician.

And voilà! You are now better prepared for the year ahead of you, may the musical scene be ever in your favor, fellow musician.


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