COLUMN: Music majors and their mental health


Ethan Schobernd, Columnist

College students of all majors go through so much stress and exhaustion daily. To relieve some of this tension, Doudna has been encouraging students to attend their mental health awareness programs. I think it’s great that these mental health events are taking place so that the arts students, specifically music majors, can have access to it in their own building.

Since I am a music major, there is a bias in this case. However, I also know first-hand the deplorable mental health of music majors. Personally, music majors always seem to have the worst mental health overall and undergo the most amount of stress within their program, and yet I applaud everyone who manages to stick with it.

One of the other top programs at EIU is the music program. The music department’s incomparable faculty and strong program requirements are what make it such a top-notch department.

The workload of the classes required is a lot already. To add, there is also individual practice time to consider when a music student is not working or studying. Every week, music students are required to take lessons with their primary and secondary instrument instructors and they must rehearse with various ensembles. The individual practice time is used to prepare for such lessons and ensembles.

Music performance majors are asked to practice three to four hours daily. Music education requires students to practice for two hours. This is not including the two to three rehearsals for ensembles that last over an hour and the hour-long lessons.

For those who aren’t music majors, think of it this way. If someone is a baseball player, they must do weightlifting and other additional exercises to keep up with the standards that their coach wants them to meet.

Music majors are basically athletes without the weightlifting and running. Our form of exercise comes in scales and etudes.

With so many requirements practice-wise and their workload from additional courses, it’s no wonder music kids struggle to maintain a stable mental health.

Last semester I did not pay enough attention to my own mental health. I would stay up at the worst hours of the night to get my practice time in, I skipped meals just to catch up on homework or go to my next class, and I tried to maintain a stable social life. All of this completely stripped me of my mental-health, and I could barely function.

Luckily, I passed my classes with flying colors, but at what cost? I made sacrifices for my craft and worked hard to refine every note and beat so I could perform to the best of my ability.

The next time you see a friend who is a music major, ask them if they need anything. They’ll most likely say they want more sleep but see if you can help them out in any way possible. As students, we’re all in this together, uniting and supporting one another can help us reach the finish line.

Ethan Schobernd is a sophomore music major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]