Students in the University of Oregon music department are dedicated to their craft and stress the importance of love and passion for their work.
Percussion performance major and sophomore Colin Hurowitz says the application process for the UO’s music program is extensive, requiring multiple auditions, a musical resumé, and a lot of paperwork. However, Hurowitz says the program has much to offer accepted students.
“[Students] here are always tired, which is good. That means that everybody’s working all the time,” Hurowitz said. “There’s always work to be done, there’s always more you can learn.”
On a recent Tuesday afternoon, students at the Frohnmayer Music Building were moving in all directions, pouring over sheets of marked-up music, carrying instruments, and enthusiastically debating their music theory classes.
This atmosphere of musical development and learning draws the interests of students from across the country. Anna Black, a high school senior from Rochester, NY, visited the bustling UO music school Tuesday afternoon in hopes of narrowing down her decisions for college in the fall. Having played the violin from an early age, Black aspires to become an orchestral violinist.
Black says that people, including her own relatives, sometimes question her goal of becoming a professional musician. However, Black says the key to success in the music world is effort and determination.
“It can be realistic if you have the dedication, [but] you have to be an entrepreneur and business person, too. You really have to sell yourself to get work,” Black said. “You can’t be single-minded about what you’re going to do.”
Hurowitz also stresses the importance of commitment to one’s area of study. “You better be sure it’s what you want. Once you study something intensely, you better make sure you love it,” Hurowitz said.
Other students say that to maintain this passion for music, it is often necessary to take a step back from it. Post baccalaureate and general sciences major, Rebecca Sacks, received her degree in vocal performance from Stanford University and decided to return to school as a UO premed student.
“[Singing] wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life,” Sacks said. “I didn’t want it to become work. I wanted it stay something that I loved.”
Sacks said she wants singing to be an artistic outlet, not an economic crutch. She said she is now taking chemistry, calculus, and other science classes, and singing with the opera ensemble “to stay sane.”
Sacks is what she called a “novelty” for not using her music degree to pursue a career. She encouraged other students to pursue the arts, but emphasized the need to keep art a personal tool for enjoyment, not something to fulfill a requirement.
“If you’re good at biology, be a biologist,” Sacks said. “You’ll still be a musician, and [music] will always be there for you.”