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Walla Walla, WA
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Life of a Music Minor

February 16, 2023

A Day in the Life of a Student Musician

Kudzai Mhondiwa

Walla Walla University is home to musically vibrant students who find themselves balancing both their academic careers and their passion for music. Senior biology major and music minor Stefano Fratianni weighed in on his experience of coordinating his strenuous course load while pursuing his passion for the art of music.   

“It's difficult to balance, having to do practice time as well as lesson time – one of the things I noticed is because I have to do 8-10 extra hours on top of my biology.” [1] Fratianni described his experience managing the hefty course load of each week in addition to his time spent honing his piano-playing ability.   

A minor is an opportunity to explore secondary interests outside of one’s major study, it also provides more personality about an individual, networking opportunities, and a method in standing out as a potential employee.  

Fratianni discussed his experience in using music as a brain break during intensive study, saying, “When I’m doing a lot of homework, I’ll practice piano to take a break and relax my brain, and other times if you're practicing for a performance, it’s really engaging.” [2] Fratianni’s analysis of the art of music observes the ability to blow off some steam for the studious college student or immerse oneself in the complexities of music.  

Portrait of Stefano and his pet cat. Photo from Stefano Fratianni.

Prairie Smallwood, writer and content creator at Colorado State University, wrote, “As an engineering major, you might choose a minor in music to de-stress and express your creativity. You could very well meet a music professor who wants to hook you up with an internship that combines your musical abilities and your knowledge of mechanics.” [3] 

For others, a minor is a continuation of a high school passion for incoming freshmen. Fratianni described his early years involved in music: "My brother and I both started learning piano in the first grade – playing piano all throughout elementary school and high school, and then in 5th grade I started learning trombone, and in high school I played for the band.”  [4] 

Fratianni is not short of being a musical artist with his interest beginning from a young age to now as a college student. He dedicates a fixed schedule with regular piano practice. He went on to describe his schedule, saying, "Treat it like a class because if you miss it, you won’t get any better. 10 a.m. – that is my scheduled practice time. I treat it like a lesson and treat practice like a class.” [5] 

As a biology major, Fratianni’s field of study is disassociated from the art of music, but he continues to identify himself as a musician. One could question the reasoning behind Fratianni’s unusual combination of science and music, but the contrast between science and music is where he finds his joy and creativity. 

Students pursuing a more rigorous academic path such as engineering or pre-professional studies could be more hesitant to combine music with their major study. Fratianni concluded with words of encouragement, saying, "Do it if you have the time and you have the passion for it, go for it.” Fratianni also acknowledged the expense of hiring a professional instructor outside of college in comparison to the cheaper option of learning music within college, saying, “It’s an opportunity that you’ll probably never have again.” [6]  

Within the art of music, we can start to learn more about ourselves, our passions, and the motivations that we have yet to discover. Become bold and take your passions to the next stage of your life, regardless of the path you find yourself on.  



  1. Interview with Stefano Fratianni, 2/7/2023. 
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Smallwood, P. (2020, January 27). The benefits of having a minor in college. Admissions. 
  4. Interview with Stefano Fratianni, 2/7/2023. 

      5-6. Ibid. 

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