Avoiding burnout from living situations

August 30, 2006 at 05:11 AM · I'm a freshman at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory. As far as living goes, I'm in a quad room. As far as socialization goes, I like to have a nice medium. I like to be able to hang out with my friends pretty regularly to be able to keep my sanity, but I go insane if I'm around too many people for too long too often.

I've been in my dorm for almost a week now, and I'm already feeling the strain of being around too many people for too long. Whenever I get burn out of any type, I have absolutely no motivation to practice, even if it does mean alone time. Does anybody have any suggestions as to what to do to keep myself from getting burned out so quickly solely from my living situation?

Replies (11)

August 30, 2006 at 05:20 AM · I feel your frustration of having too much activity around you. I've been there.

For me, nothing is as restorative as the healing effect of nature. If I were in your shoes, I'd be seeking out parks and rural settings where I could spend alone time - not that one is ever truly "alone" in the wilderness.

August 30, 2006 at 05:53 AM · One of the hardest things about practicing for me is to actually start practicing. Once I'm practicing I'm pretty much in my own zone. Maybe you just need to force yourself to the practice room and then you will be good. Find a relaxing piece or etude to bring you away from the stress for a while. I like using Kruetzer #9 to relax and bring me into a near meditative state on a particularly stressful day.

August 30, 2006 at 06:11 AM · Kevin's suggestion is great. The same is true for me.

I would suggest, though, that you simply choose to spend less time in your room! You are in college now, obviously, and you must take responsibility for the way you use your time.

August 30, 2006 at 03:56 PM · I feel you're pain! I had 10 roommates in a cingle tiny room, with NO privacy whatsoever for 4 weeks at a music camp. I was lucky that there was a nice garden about a 10 minute walk or so from my dorm and also where one had to practice was outside in the woods in these little tiny huts. I usually went to bed earlier than everyone else in my dorm and got up earlier than everyone else as well to get some "space" and I found that helpful.

August 30, 2006 at 08:47 PM · No advice, but oh, you have my sympathies!

August 31, 2006 at 02:38 AM · That's better than advice, Terez.

August 31, 2006 at 08:55 PM · Indeed it is, and thank you all very much!

Fortunately the area has an entrance to the Cleveland metroparks less than a 5 minute walk away from the Conservatory, so I've definately thought about that. Thanks everyone for your advice!

September 1, 2006 at 01:59 AM · I like Kevin's suggestion. Also you may want to try excercizing regularly (jogging or swimming, for example), if you are not doing so already.

September 1, 2006 at 02:39 PM · Here's another one that might help, Julia:

Since you are a music major, it might be a good idea to take a few paid gigs OUTSIDE the college when you get free time.

The whole point of going to music school is to prepare oneself for the world that awaits you after you finish your education. By doing gigs that take you outside the college environment, you'll be exposed to the world of freelance professional music and those that work in it. Thus you'll have gained a head start on learning to navigate the realities of the nonacademic music world. Many of the piddly little things that go on in school will thus seem inconsequential, and you'll also get more out of your education. You'll also pick up spending money at an hourly rate that far outstrips work study and get yourself out of the dormitory situation.

There is no more humbling and rewarding thing than going out on one's first gigs, no matter how well prepared a person is.

September 1, 2006 at 04:36 PM · Dorms are tough. I also go to school in Cleveland, so sometimes the outdoors aren't much better, particularly the weather we've had recently!

A good thing to do is to try to figure out the "dorm" schedule. There are usually times during the day that you will find things to be quieter than others, such as mid morning or the early afternoon. That's a good time to be in the dorm and to practice.

Also, how many practice rooms are there on campus? Perhaps you can take a 10 minute walk outside and then go to the main building to practice. I'm sure things are busy there, but at least you won't feel as constricted as being in your room.

If you have a specific schedule that you like to be on (early riser, early to bed, etc.), then communicate that to your neighbors. I know that sometimes people aren't always accomodating, but if you make an attempt to communicate with them, you should be able to alleviate some of your stress. And eventually, you'll fall into the hang of things.

I'm in Cleveland, so if you ever need someone to talk to, I have my number on my profile. Feel free to call if you need anything!

September 2, 2006 at 06:06 AM · I remember investing in a good heavy practice mute and finding little corners/hiding spots around campus and practicing there.

This had two downsides: #1 People were always looking around trying to find where the faint music was coming from, and so I'd regularly get visitors with pleased looks on their faces "oh look! we found you!" #2 These spots were heavily contested make-out corners too (had to check around with my eyes closed to make sure it wasn't occupied first).

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