The BRHYTHMIC podcast. This podcast is specifically designed for music students, their parents and music tutors. Produced by Bron Harrison and the team at BRHYTHMIC, each episode contains nuggets of gold for you to sink your musical teeth into.

Bron Harrison dives into the pros, cons and misconceptions of ‘bludge’ subjects as well as sharing her HSC results and what subjects she choose.

The good ol’ bludge subjects: music, art, drama, design and tech, religion or the ‘easier’ 2 unit subjects. There are always a handful of students that go into their subject choices looking for an easy way out, a way to coast along, a way to relax amongst the other more ‘difficult’ subjects.

Equally, there are also students (and their parents) that are concerned that if their child chooses ‘arty’ subjects that their marks will be dragged down.

Well, I’ve got some interesting considerations for you to think about before you put your selections forward:

I believe and highly recommend that you should choose subjects that you enjoy, over subjects that you don’t enjoy but choose for the wrong reasons – to drag your marks up. The reason for this is that you are more likely to put time into preparing for your exams with subjects that you enjoy asn get better results. Also, if you have that niggling feeling of wanting to do a subject, but don’t, you probably will go back to this subject later in life if it was something that you really, deep down, want to do. It’s ok to enjoy the learning process. Choose subjects you enjoy.

I did ‘arty’ subjects and got a UAI mark in the nineties. It’s possible and highly probable. My subjects were 3 and 2 unit music, drama and 2 unit Maths (which all the kids used to coin ‘Maths in space’ or ‘Maths in a Sandpit’), 2 unit English, 3 and 2 unit Business. At the time I needed 92 to get into a business degree and with my humble subject selection I managed to smash my goal. How? I did really well at the subjects because I loved them. I ended up topping 3 unit music performance. Ironically my worst subject result, which was 2 unit business, didn’t even count towards my UAI and that’s what I ended up going on to study at university: Business. Oh, the irony.

There are always other ways to get into courses if you don’t get the marks. If you are willing to show that you are going to put the work in, universities will allow transfers to other degrees. I have had close friends not finish their HSC and walked into Masters degrees that they subsequently achieved with honours (with no HSC or bachelor degree) simply from sheer willpower and a deep desire to learn.

The important thing is not your mark, but your thirst and craving to get better at something – to know more about something. To have an internal curiosity that makes you strive for more knowledge.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the teacher does come into play. I have heard many people say, “don’t let a teacher that you don’t like make you not choose a subject”, but really, who are we kidding? It’s like not leaving a job because you don’t like your boss. Why stay in a circumstance we don’t like if we can change it? If you don’t gel with your teacher, it is a relationship you are going to have for nine months. My point is, yes, it makes a difference, but keep it in perspective – can you deal with them for that period or are you going to be a happier, healthier student if you choose your second option subject with a teacher that inspires you?

If you choose arty subjects, you may have an emotional side more so than your non-arty colleagues. Brace yourself for one or many mini-breakdowns. I will never forget the day I found myself on the tile floor at home collapsed in a pile of hopelessness, crying, saying “I can’t do this” in a blabbering, slobbery mess before one of my major performances, my little brother in year 9 at the time by my side offering his pearls of wisdom and some tissues. It’s normal. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to feel these feelings. Just make sure you have a bottle of water, tissues and remind yourself, this will pass, and, you’ve got this.

One of the best things about doing ‘non-academic’ subjects for your HSC is that you are using a completely different part of your brain. This means that you have more ‘mental capital’ to apply to your academic subjects that require you to use more lateral, logical parts of your brain. It also means that if you have any final works, performances etc. these are usually all done by term 3 and you can focus on your other subjects.

In summary, don’t do subjects because you think they are a bludge (they are not – they take a WHOLE LOT OF WORK); do subjects because you truly enjoy them and want to learn more about them. Don’t bother choosing subjects because you think they will bring up your marks. You will likely ‘bring up’ you marks with subjects you enjoy.

Pretty simple.

Good luck.

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The BRHYTHMIC podcast. This podcast is specifically designed for music students, their parents and music tutors. Produced by Bron Harrison and the team at BRHYTHMIC, each episode contains nuggets of gold for you to sink your musical teeth into.