If you are thinking of applying to The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, you might be a little nervous. It is not secret that when it comes to music schools, the prestigious, fast-paced environment can be frightening at first. Below is a list of ten ways you can survive your first year at this conservatory; hopefully after reading it you will feel a bit more encouraged.

1. Don’t Only Focus On Music

A lot of adults seem to take note of how many kids lose their drive in such hard programs; they will warn you that if you study something you love, you might actually end up hating it. Well, this isn’t always the case and you can prevent it. You have to try getting outside of the music school and going to sporting events, or try hanging out with a different group of people. If you are constantly surrounded by music and you are so focused on that aspect of your life, it will eventually get exhausting even for the most passionate of musicians.

2. Make Sure Your Program Is Right For You

The conservatory has many different programs and it is quite possible that you did not choose the right fit for you. Maybe you got accepted for jazz studies but instead of doing that you would prefer to be a guitar major; talk to your advisor about auditioning for another program and switching into something you are more passionate about. College is four years long so you really ought to be studying something you love.

3. Keep Your Passion Alive

This is so crucial when studying music. It can be really tough sometimes when your passion becomes your career, but you have to do things to keep the spark alive otherwise it will start to feel dull. Try performing at off campus venues, or giving little kids music lessons- do something that reminds you why you love music.

4. Work Hard

This may seem like an obvious one but it is worth stating. In order to succeed in a hard program, you have to spend a lot of time in your schoolwork. You are going to have classes you love, yes, but they will also be hard and challenge you; just because you are studying something you enjoy does not mean it won’t require work. Study for your tests, finish your homework and will eventually pay off.

5. Wake Up On Time

This is perhaps the most important thing you need to do your freshman year here. Every first year music student at this school is required to take 8:00AM theory classes every day– it’s a lot harder than it seems. When you get to college and you’re living on your own, it can be really tough to wake yourself up and motivate yourself to get to class, but you have to do it. Attendance affects your grade here, and unless you can provide doctors notes, there isn’t much sympathy.

6. Get Good Sleep

This goes along with the last point– you have to get your rest. Science has proven over and over again how crucial sleep is for us, especially for young people. Some nights, of course you will have to stay up late, and others you will simply choose to, but you really ought to get yourself on a good schedule with sleep in order to do well at this conservatory. If you are a singer, this is especially relevant for you; being sick is not easy here as you need to have your voice and ready and perfected at all times. If you are constantly getting sick it will start to affect your grades and your performance, but you can prevent that easily by simply  getting more sleep.

7. Manage Your Time

Being a music students here takes up a lot of your time; this does not mean it has to be your entire life, but if you choose to come here you must realize that it requires a big time dedication. All freshmen will have around eighteen credit hours with an 8:00AM  everyday and that alone is a lot of time spent at school; however, you also have mandatory concerts to attend and outside music performances to take part in. There are also a lot of optional opportunities closely related to your major that you will want to be a part of, so it is important to plan your days out.

8. Make Other Friends

This was touched on earlier in the list but it really is important. Friends in your school with the same interest are great and there are a lot of benefits to having them, but it is also crucial to meet other people and make other friends. College is the time where you are supposed to get out and meet other people; you can even take a fellow music friend and go mingle with other people together.

9. Try Not To Go Home All The Time

This will be hard, especially for kids who have great relationships with their family. You will miss them and you will want to see them, but going back and forth too often will just make the experience harder. Of course you can go home for holidays and special occasions, but if you are there every weekend it will make you feel more homesick when you’re at college. This is suppose to be a time where you grow and learn how to be on your own, so you should relish in that and take advantage of it.

10. Have Fun

You’re at music school! Should you take it seriously? Of course– but you auditioned and you got in because you love it and you are talented– don’t forget that. You are going to have the time of your life and you will have so many great opportunities knocking on your door. Don’t get too caught up in getting straight A’s and studying every hour of every day; your gift is music and creating beauty, it is okay to not be the perfect academic student all the time.


Music school may seem a little frightening but the truth is it will be some of the most fun you have ever had. Hopefully these ten tips will help reassure you a little bit about your freshman year if you choose to come to The Cincinnati Conservatory Of Music.



Lauren Jankowski

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