How to Stay Involved in the Arts as a Non-major

Love the arts but not majoring in them? You don't have to give up your watercolor-painting, tap-dancing, horn-playing habits just yet!

For many college students passionate about art, music, or theater but not planning to pursue those subjects as a major or career option, the prospect of keeping the arts in their life can be daunting. However, there is a multitude of ways to remain involved with the creative subjects you love even if you don’t study them intensively.

College classes

One way to stay involved with the arts is to take them as non-major classes through your school. You might have time in your college schedule to take a drawing class, a drama workshop, or a music theory course. It’s a good way to gain an in-depth knowledge of something you’re already passionate about. And, depending on your school’s requirements, if you take multiple courses you may be able to count them as a concentration.

Another way to learn about the arts is to take a class that may ultimately give you a deeper appreciation of the art form you love, even if it doesn’t directly involve creating. A music or art appreciation course might do the trick, or maybe a cinema class.

If your course load is too heavy and you find you can’t squeeze in the time to take courses in the arts, never fear! There are still other ways to keep the artistic side of your life alive.

Lessons

Individual lessons are a good way to continue developing as a solo musician. Every music program has its own criteria for their lessons, so the best place to inquire about this is probably at the music department.

In addition to individual lessons, some schools offer music instruction as a class. This could be a good way to take music lessons on a less-formal basis, as the feedback is likely to be less intense than in an individual lesson.

Extracurriculars

Extracurricular ensembles or clubs are a popular and endlessly varied way to stay involved in the arts. For music, your college could have a choir, a capella group, orchestra, band, pep band, chamber music society. For theatre, there could be campus-wide productions your school puts on or maybe an improv comedy group. For art, look for activities like figure-drawing sessions or a photography club, where you can meet with like-minded students. Go ahead and join whichever group best suits your talents and interests.

If your school does not offer the classes or extracurriculars you want to be involved with, all hope is not lost. Your school might be part of a consortium that allows you to cross-register at other institutions with art and music programs, like the ProArts Consortium in Boston. Check to see if you can enroll in those arts classes or ensembles. You could also check to see if there are community theater, music ensembles, or art groups you could join near your school.

If you are religious, it is often easy to connect religion and the arts. See if your school has a gospel or other religious singing group. If you attend a local church, see if you could join their choir or use your artistic talents to help decorate or help with outreach projects.

DIY

Finally, you can always remain involved in the arts on your own time. If you need a specific space to do art or practice an instrument, you could contact the relevant department to inquire about practice rooms or studio use. Or just make a little time each week to be creative. Paint outside, play a piano in a common space, start a band with your friends, or take photographs.  

Even if you are too pressed for time to join an extracurricular activity or set aside regular chunks of art, remember you can still remain involved with the arts as a spectator and appreciate the things you love until you can find the time to participate again. Many schools have theater productions, concerts, and art shows that are open to everyone in the campus community. Take advantage!

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