The work it takes to hone skills in music and athletics is not mutually exclusive.
Hours of rehearsal are required in advance of a recital. And, in the same way, hours of training are necessary to prepare for a tennis match.
Albion College senior Josh McGarry should know.
A music performance major with a pre-med concentration and minors in chemistry and kinesiology, McGarry plays on the No. 1 court for the Britons men's tennis team.
"I came in thinking I needed a four point (grade point average) and I let that pressure build," McGarry said. "I realized the grade point average is not everything. I made time for academics, tennis and a social life. My perspective has changed. Everything I do is stuff I enjoy. I'm not doing it because I have to.
"I came here because I knew I could double major – study science and music – while playing tennis," he continued. "One thing can't be everything. You can't sacrifice what you are passionate about."
With his senior music recital coming up this semester, McGarry says there is no secret to success. It comes from consistent hard work, self-discipline and communication between music faculty and coaches.
"(A recital) is not like an exam you can cram for," he said. "It takes long-term consistent work like spending a couple of hours a day memorizing music.
"And there is cross training involved," he added. "Through playing the piano and singing in the concert choir, I have learned to apply everything I've learned. The same thing happens in tennis where work in the weight room, the cardio room and on the court all have to be there.
"Memorizing music has come naturally over the years," McGarry said, noting he has visual memory, but not photographic. "I practiced learning to relate things to each other (in anatomy classes) and I got good at remembering where a particular muscle was located.
"Scheduling conflicts are going to happen," he concluded. "I go to Dr. Abbott as soon as I get my tennis schedule. There are times I've had to miss, but we make it work."
Still, McGarry helps ease the pressure on his schedule by rising early. He can be often be found at the Dow Recreation and Wellness Center before sunrise to do the work necessary to be successful on the tennis court.
Because he did not start on the pre-med track until his sophomore year, McGarry will take the Medical College Admission Test this spring and apply for fall 2020 admission into a medical school. He says it will be good to have a period of time to reset emotionally and mentally before beginning the next grind that he hopes will lead to a career in sports medicine.