Our daughter Olivia’s view of life as an opera major at Boston University:
I am at Boston University studying opera, and will graduate with a BM in Vocal Performance. More than a few non-musicians have asked me what exactly I do at school. “Do you just sing all day?” “Do you break mirrors singing high notes?” “When do you actually start working on your major?” “You’re not fat. How can you be an opera singer?!”
Well, let me answer a few of your questions, you non-musicians!
1. I attend a conservatory – The School of Music – within BU. Therefore, most of my classes are solely dedicated to the study of music. We do have some academic requirements; everyone at BU has to take a writing course. As a singer, I must take Italian language and a second language, either German or French. Other than that, all of my classes are music-oriented. Throughout my four years, I will have taken music theory, piano, ear training, language diction, conducting, a variety of music history courses, acting, movement, private voice lessons, chorus, and a number of performance classes based on a master class setting. At a conservatory, you start working on your major the minute you set foot in the door as a freshman.
2. I don’t just sing all day. Many of my classes have a rigorous academic course load. Conducting, music theory, and my music history courses required more work than many classes taken by my liberal arts friends. Being a vocal major isn’t fun and games. We work hard academically, and have to put in many hours practicing and memorizing music.
3. Additionally, we are a profession that relies solely on our bodies. Sore throat? Cough? Exhaustion? A singer can’t stay up all night and write a paper like an english major. We can’t go out and party all night, wake up, make it to class, and sleep through our lecture. We get sick and we’re f*cked. Some of my non-musician friends simply don’t get that, and they wonder why I can’t go out and party the night before an audition. Would you go out and intentionally break your wrist the night before having to take an exam involving writing lots of essays? No. I didn’t think so.
To read more and view photos Liv posted, follow the link to The Neave Online Publication.