2 answers

Should I take Music courses in College, even though I don't know anything?

Asked Port Jervis, New York

I plan on becoming a book editor - so an English major, basically. Recently I've been watching vocalists videos on YouTube, and have become fascinated with the creative world of vocal technique. My college offers a plethora of Music courses, and I really want to learn about the subject, but I'm sorely lacking. I have no singing ability - my talking voice alone can't stop cracking. I also don't know how to play an instrument, or only some music terminology. I talked to some musical stars who urged me to expand my horizons, but I'm on scholarship, and worry about failing the class. I've been the dumbest kid in the class before and it was hard to cope with. I don't want these prestigious professors thinking I'm a nitwit. Do you think I should go for it? #college #music #music-education #musical-theatre

2 answers

Jessica’s Answer


Hello Jade!

There are lots of different types of music classes that you can take:

  1. Voice lessons. These are one-on-one lessons with a vocal coach. You don't have to know anything to take vocal lessons. The teacher will structure the assignments and grades around what you already know. You do not have to become a great singer to get a good grade in the class; you just have to try to improve. If you are interested in it, it doesn't hurt to just take a semester of voice. You can always decide not to take it again if you don't like it. Also, vocal teachers are great about getting down to the root of vocal problems, so don't worry about your voice cracking because they might be able to help you with that.
  2. Music Theory. These are classes about reading and understanding music. Most schools offer a beginning course that starts from the very basics and helps you get a general understanding of reading music. A beginning class is going to be pretty easy, but you will learn a lot and decide from there whether you want to take more music theory classes. You will not have to do very much (if any) singing in these classes.
  3. Music History. These classes usually choose a specific genre or time period and goes over the history of music during that time, including historic context, artists of the time, influences, etc. These are going to have more readings and papers and less singing and theory. Depending on the level of the class, it will be more difficult than other music classes.
  4. Choir or Band. This involves singing or playing with a group of students and usually has at least 1-2 performances. Most schools have choirs that are specifically for non-music majors and a lot of schools have beginning band that allows you to learn the instrument as you go through the class.

Of course, these are not all of the music classes that your schools offers, but these are some that are good for people who are just starting to learn music. Don't worry at all about having the professors look down on you for not knowing music. College music professors get very excited when they have new people show an interest in music and they will want to help you learn more about the topic.

It is so exciting that you have an interest in music! I wish you the best of luck in pursuing this subject!

Jessica recommends the following next steps:

  • Meet with a music professor at your school to talk about what classes are offered for beginners
  • Decide what class or classes that you want to try out.

Elizabeth’s Answer

Updated Baltimore, Maryland

Hi Jade. If your type of scholarship allows you to take any subject, then go for it! I'm not sure what classes you could take about vocal technique where you wouldn't have to sing yourself. But there are SO many resources out there - books, YouTube vocal teachers, teaching CDs (check your local library) - so don't limit yourself to the classroom only. Also, think about why you are fascinated by vocal technique - do you want to teach others about it? As for taking general music courses to learn about music, that is always, always, always a smart choice. I wish you well in all of this. Keep learning, searching, and striving. And don't be too hard on yourself. Be happy!

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