Hi, I’m Sarah. I absolved the preperatory course ‘Filmscoring and Production’ at Musicube Academy and now I am a second year student of Composition for Film and Theatre. In this blog I’m gonna share my personal experience as a student at ArtEZ in Arnhem.
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One of the first things I was told at ArtEZ is that the main thing you learn in your studies is to organize yourself. Well, I was quite organized before and never really had a problem with that but when I look around some people are still in that learning process 😉
For me the first year seemed quite light and sometimes it would have been nice to have some more lessons and other students told us to look for projects ourselves. People from the first year now, though have totally different experiences about their workload and it actually seems to be more.
One year goes by pretty fast. Another year goes by really fast and suddenly you’re already half through your studies and still feel like a first year. Starting to get your own projects and work besides your studies on your career can be quite hard. Self-doubt and the feeling of not being able to work professionally comes in your way and keeps you from exploring the ‘real music world’. But to start doing that when your studies are already over is even harder, cause the earlier you start the more experience you get and the easier it is to get into the business.
The second year feels a lot harder for me. I feel like we have more classes and a lot more homework to do. You have to keep track of assignments and deadlines that are sometimes really easy to forget 😀
They key is to stay organized, work early and plan also some breaks. If you’re not planning well enough you might go through hell before a deadline or suddenly a lot of deadlines appear at the same time. There are different possibilities to make your way through your studies and you can also choose to be lazy and only do what is necessary but maybe it can be wise to also think about your life after your studies.
The life of a composer can be quite hard. You’re under a lot of pressure and if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to keep up in that business and nobody will care, that’s just how the business is. A lot of people end up in a drug addiction and a lot of mental issues and we all know how these stories go…
I’m not saying that you will end up as a drug addict if you don’t organize yourself during your studies, but it can be a helpful tool to handle a stressful life as a composer. Another thing that is good to learn is how to work. It might sound simple and quite obvious but it’s a real thing. To push yourself to work even if you’re not inspired or if you’re not in the mood is a really important skill for a composer of any kind. If you always wait for the day you’re inspired, you might wait a very long time.
Life before a deadline can be really hard even if you organize very well but push through and it will get better eventually and to learn how to cope with that, I advise you to take your studies seriously. Of course, it is not the most important thing in life, and you still should have a lot of fun but if you really want to go for this kind of job in Hollywood or somewhere else this can be a big part of making your career sustainable and healthy.
All the best,