Not just an “easy A:” What it’s really like to be a music major


Photo courtesy of Jesse Pinedo

Jesse Pinedo enjoys the environment that he is in at Cal State LA among the other music students.

Priscilla Caballero, Reporter & News Break Anchor

Exciting? Yes.

Fun? Absolutely. 

But believe it or not, being a music major is not just all fun and games. In reality, it can also be challenging and time-consuming as well.

Ece Naz Ertunc, a commercial music major, is passionate in her love for music. She sings and started playing piano at the age of four.

“As a music major, I feel like it’s important to say what we do in a day is really important and challenging,” Naz Ertunc said. “We take lessons for our instruments. We take music history, theory, harmony and on top of all that, we have rehearsals for the ensembles that we perform.”

Music is always a fun time for her, and she said she is around a lot of creative minds.

“Since music is a field where everyone who is a music major chose it because they are passionate about it and they live for music, it never gets boring,” she said. “It is always fun and inspiring.” 

Jesse Pinedo, also a music major, started playing music around the age of nine when he picked up the trumpet. He has been playing the trumpet for almost 12 years now. 

“You get to meet a lot of people who are passionate about music, so you can have a conversation and get a sense of what their philosophy is about music,” Pinedo said. “It’s a really supportive environment. We’re all there for each other and give each other advice.”

Practice is time-consuming, according to Pinedo, who personally practices for about two hours a day plus nearly two more hours of rehearsals.

Nicholas Crespin, another commercial music major, plays the piano.

“One of my favorite things about music is the combination of every good memory you’ve ever had in your life,” Crespin said.

In the sixth grade, Aron Adame, a music education major, began playing music eight years ago.

“It’s really cool because you get to hang around peers with similar interests,” Adame said. “You get to network and make a lot of connections through these departments.”

Adame is in various different ensembles, including the jazz ensemble and Afro-Latin ensemble. He said he practices rigorously and is grateful to have made strong connections. 

Ensembles at Cal State LA consist of the entire music department and offer free admission to all their concerts.

Although Ertunc said ensembles can be fun, she also dislikes the common misconception that a music major is “easy,” when in reality, music majors work vigorously hard. 

“Most of the days we have three to four-hour-long rehearsals on top of all our major classes and GEDs,” Ertunc said. “It is so vital to protect one’s mental and physical health during that process and also stay social and connected with the outside world. At the end of the day, when you get to play music and perform, you forget about all of your worries for those couple of minutes, and that’s why I fall in love with it over and over again.” 

Emily Moss, the director of the bands and the head of the music department, encourages students to pursue a music major. 

“Majoring in music is a way to pursue your passion of music-making in a supportive, community environment,” Moss said. “You can challenge yourself, deepen your thinking about what makes music so influential to us as humans, and gain valuable skills that you can use in many experiences for the rest of your life.”