In Defence of Dilatoriness (another word for procrastination, which ur too lazy to look up so I wrote it in the title of this post ur welcome)

The “problem” with end-of-term music assessments at my university is that you have about three minutes to show your teacher that you did ten weeks of work.

Of course you didn’t actually do ten weeks of work.

So let me rephrase.

The “problem” with music assessments is that you have about three minutes to show your teacher that you successfully compressed ten weeks worth of information into a relatively coherent performance, and you managed to do that the night before or the morning of the actual assessment.

Accomplishing this feat by itself (regardless of getting a good mark) is no easy task by any stretch and has cost many students whatever is left of their sanity. It’s even more remarkable if you consider that most of these students have combined a complete disregard for prudence with copious amounts of alcohol and have somehow still managed to show up to the right place at the right time with the right instrument.

 

If you are not part of this group of people who leave everything to the last minute and you did actually implement a time management plan for the past ten weeks, the amount of stress you will experience is still about the same, and here’s why:

You’ve probably practiced the thing you needed to practice about a thousand times, and towards the end of those thousand times, you nailed it more and more. You probably even did that thing perfectly a few times in a row, days before your assessment, and you’re thinking, “Pfff, easy.”

And then you show up to the assessment and your mind immediately goes blank upon entering the room, so you play a few wrong notes right at the beginning, which drags your concentration down and you miss the coda symbol and end up playing the chorus again whereas you’re supposed to be playing the outro and you end the whole disaster a tritone away from the tonic.

Then your parents call you and ask how the assessment went, so you lie and tell them what they want to hear, which makes you feel guilty, and they remind you of the fact that Christmas is around the corner and you think about getting them Christmas presents to make up for your guilt, maybe like a nice sweater or something, but then you realise that you’re getting fat yourself, which induces self-hatred because the only exercise you’ve done so far is running out of money.

So at the end of the day, if you manage to somehow stumble through an assessment and come out alive in any capacity, just go out with your mates and have a pint to celebrate the continuation of your glory-ridden musical career, because you deserve it. Here’s to the next term, where the 10-week cycle repeats. Cheers boiiiii

 

 

 

 

 

How to Write a Term Paper Properly

The end of term two is approaching at an uncomfortably fast rate and I’m sitting at my desk, looking at the assessment brief for the paper I’m supposed to be writing at the moment. My brain is telling me to write the paper.

“It’s only 1,000 words, dude. You’ve written an entire book. This should be nothing.”

Yes, brain. However, I’m a university student, so apart from attempting to attend classes, my duty is to procrastinate for as long as humanly possible. And I’m doing pretty well so far. I haven’t come close to actually starting this paper. It’s due in two weeks, so I have about two weeks left before I have to do anything.

Here’s the thing though: The more time I spend writing this paper, the better the quality. Therefore, we can deduce that less time spent writing = worse quality of paper.

I was born and raised in Germany, so I’m used to an overall good quality of, well, everything. From home insulation to cars to toasters to alcohol. So the German angel on my shoulder is telling me to start this paper now in order to achieve the highest quality possible given the amount of time I have left.

The devil on my shoulder (I don’t know the nationality of this one, but I’ll assume it’s American) is telling me to continue this amazing streak of procrastination I’ve managed to uphold for about 8 weeks now. It would be a shame to break it.

I mean, seriously.

All this work for nothing? 8 long, grueling weeks of procrastination and I’m just gonna let all of that go to waste for… for what? For getting a better mark on a paper that doesn’t really affect my chance of advancing to the next year? For making the assessor’s life easier due to my diligence and multiple proofreading efforts? For the possibility of learning something actually interesting during this paper-writing journey? For being a good example to other students and motivating them to start writing now rather than putting it off until the last minute?

Well… I mean, I moved to London to study this stuff. This is why I’m here. I am paying cold, hard cash to do this. I’m basically financing my own paper at this point. It would be irresponsible not to make it the best goddamn paper ever written by anybody ever.

If I don’t start now, the quality of my paper will decrease dramatically as time passes, and I’ll end up losing the respect of my parents, I’ll overeat because I’ll be clinically stressed, and I’ll fall into a black hole of despair and misery because of my inability to fulfill the expectations of those who believed in me.

But I haven’t watched the last episode of Black Mirror yet, so.

 

Great Update Mate

It’s been about four months since I’ve moved to London from the Black Forest in Germany. I’ve settled in, put up some minimal home decor, and even bought a kettle and like three teabags. I’m currently on winter break so I decided to let you all know how the past ten weeks of university went in the form of an FAQ.

Jan, how’s the music school going?

It’s going really well. I’m getting good feedback from my tutors and my classmates, got involved with a few different musical projects, started my own project, and became a student representative. But a lot of people still can’t say my name right. You’d think it’s easy. Three letters in total, one vowel. Ian? Jane? John? Jesus!

Does it rain a lot?

Not as much as you’d think.

Is it expensive in London?

YES. I had a bagel last week and according to my budget I might have another bagel next week.

How do the locals feel about the whole Brexi-

 

Do not mention that word.

Do you see the Queen a lot?

Yes, we get our morning coffee at the same Starbucks every day. She’s really chill but also really old and kinda royal to be honest.

Is music school difficult?

Yes and no. I just finished the first term of the first year, so everything we’re learning right now is very basic. But if you want to be good at what you do, you need to absolutely master all of the basics first, and that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when it comes to technical applications on the instrument.

Isn’t music subjective? How do they grade a song?

No, it isn’t. There are a lot of things to watch out for like overall dynamics, tonality, confidence and stage presence, musicality, timing, etc. Watch the movie Whiplash.

Do cars really drive on the left side of the road?

No, that concept has been created by and for the Brits in order to make German automobile manufacturing non-competitive.

Do you have any advice for people who want to get a degree in music?

If you want to do it, then go ahead and do it. But take it seriously. Put in the hours to hone your craft, treat others with respect, be open-minded, practice hard, don’t drink too much, and develop an interest for music theory and sight reading.

Also, it’s not like you can procrastinate until the night before and then quickly write your paper, submit it, and hope you didn’t fail. It’s an instrument specific course, which means you have to actually spend time practicing with your instrument in order to develop muscle memory and fluidity. You can’t procrastinate and then show up one day before the exam and expect to play a perfect Gadd Shuffle with no prior practice. So proper time management is extremely important if you want to study music.

Did he just say music theory and sight reading? But what if I hate theory and reading?

Well, if you’re a drummer and you want to audition for a gig and the dude you’re auditioning for says, “So for the chorus we start with the dotted eighth note bass pattern and the triplet ostinato pattern on the ride with that C7 chord on top. By the way, what’s the seventh note of a C7 chord?” and you don’t know the answer, then you’ll be flat out dumped and they’ll pick the other drummer, so. Best to know your seventh chords.

Cool, I wish you all a happy holiday season and I hope to bring you guys some actual music in the near future. Alright, piece*.

 

 

 

 

*Intentional error, calm down.