After a five day week at school, you find yourself craving the weekends. Two days without a 6am alarm interrupting your well-needed teenage beauty sleep. You can go out on a Friday night knowing you have two whole days to recover.
Imagine replacing the whole of your Saturday with music. Sound terrible? This is what thousands young musicians do every week, travelling quite literally from all over the country to attend a Saturday junior music college. After doing this myself for two years, I can give a pretty good account of the pros and cons of trading in your sought-after Saturdays for orchestra and theory.
It is more than understandable why so many young people do it. Leaving aside the music momentarily, it is one of the most sociable experiences I’ve ever had. To find a circle of friends with such similar interests and dedication can be very difficult but music colleges are a different world. Although your friends are bound to live in a different city and you will without doubt get in trouble endless amounts of times for talking during the slow movement in orchestra rehearsal, these are quite literally friends for life. Whilst I loved the music side, being able to snatch half an hour of corridor catch up was almost as good.
But is it worth giving up your Saturday? The musical experience is undoubtedly something you will not gain elsewhere. In my two short years at a junior music college, I was fortunate enough to perform at venues such as LSO St Lukes and Cadogan Hall. Whilst you may dread the obligatory 9am choir rehearsals, the musical life you build up is worth it. But naturally, there are consequences and after giving such a sparkling account, you may be wondering why I chose to leave after just two years.
It’s cliché but juggling school work with music college becomes extremely difficult. Being the overly stressed-out workaholic that I am, I knew that a combination of GCSEs and all day Saturday music would destroy me. It does also get frustrating constantly having to say to your friends “sorry I can’t come out tonight, I have music tomorrow” or “I’m too tired to come to the party, I’ve only just got home”. Not to say that you won’t have a social life, just that it will most likely be very different to that of your school friends.
All I can say is I had a fantastic musical experience and made friends that I am still very much in contact with but if you’re not ready to give up your precious Saturdays and most likely your Friday nights too, it is probably not the place for you.