Life as a student musician

Balancing educational responsibilities with a life in music

Post-secondary education can be stressful and take up a lot of time. Balancing the responsibilities of school and music can be challenging, but for Brett Ticzon, it was all about prioritizing.

“I’ve definitely had my fair share of balancing school and music, especially during exam season,” Ticzon says. “I think the key is to prioritize your tasks and to make a plan to set aside time for both schoolwork and music stuff.”

Ticzon is a University of Winnipeg graduate and plays in three local music acts: Ivory Waves, Black Cloud and Living Hour.

Ticzon says things have gotten too busy at times, and he’s had to turn down shows and musical projects in the past. However, he says music is a healthy hobby, which is important to have in one’s life, especially as a student.

“It’s really easy to stop working on music altogether for a long period of time, so keeping a musical routine isn’t a bad idea,” he says. “It’s also nice to socialize a little bit with bandmates if school is getting too intense.”

Isaac Tate, a member of local band Urban Vacation, says keeping up with music outside of school has been beneficial for his mental health. Tate studies music composition at the University of Manitoba.

“The work I do with writing music at school often involves a lot of time being spent alone at my desk or at a piano,” Tate says.

“While I enjoy those moments, doing music with Urban Vacation involves spending time and making music directly with people that I love a lot,” he says. “Having that direct connection to people through making something together always picks me up from the general stress of life.”

Tate says balancing priorities between education and music can become difficult.

“Music takes up a lot of time, whether it be through writing, practising or recording. Post-secondary education also takes up a lot of time and effort,” he says. “It’s all about finding a balance and making sure that you’re taking care of yourself.”

Ticzon agrees a balance can be found by prioritizing tasks and setting time aside to get them done.

“Everyone’s work ethic is different, so just find a balance that works for you,” he says. “Some days might be straight schoolwork, but it’s worth it if you want a degree.”

Through the Winnipeg music community, Ticzon says he has been able to make friends and play music with talented people who he might not have met otherwise. To him, finding or creating the balance between education and music is worth it.

“Having this balance allows me to take time to reflect and feel grateful for the opportunity to be doing the work that I want to do and to be doing it alongside such wonderful people,” Tate says.

Published in Volume 73, Number 17 of The Uniter (February 7, 2019)

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