How did you choose your career?

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by silverstar, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    I'm struggling to figure out what I want to do with my life. Since my frosh year in high school I've been convinced that I was going to be a band director. I've since come to the conclusion that I'm not really cut out to teach, as I'm more of a one-on-one type person. It seems like my choices are endless and I'm kinda floundering out here in the sea of college preparation.

    So that brings me to my question. I have four things that I love: Music, Biology, Cooking, and Little Kids.,

    I'm trying to figure out what kind of career I can go to college for that has one of those (or a combination) in it.

    How did you all figure out what was your calling? I know that Manny is a performer and Bandman is an (awesome, hero-like) band teacher. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of other great jobs out there that you all have. How did you know it was the right job for you?


  2. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005

    A conductor once told me that when students would say they didn't know if they should major in music or something he would always say, without a doubt, do the other thing. At the time, I thought he was a real jerk saying something like that! Aren't we supposed to be encouraging music! But after going though an undergraduate program, being away from school for a couple years and now back into a graduate program, I have to say I agree with what he said.

    Music, in whatever capacity you do it (performing, teaching college, teaching public school, whatever) takes an unwavering dedication to do it properly. In my opinion, music education is far too important to do (forgive the expression) half-assed. I've seen way too many people who were not really dedicated to music in any way, but got education degrees and went out to teach. Most teach only a short time (which is actually good for education in general) and then find themselves with a degree they don't want to use and no specialized skill or knowledge to do something else.

    I went through some tribulations in my trumpet playing that caused me to question if I really had the desire to persue it any further. It's a lengthy story, I'd be happy elaborate privately it you'd like, but it would be irrelevant to the public discussion. The gist of it was that I thought about going into pubic school teaching (I was always [and am currently] pursuing a performance/college level teaching career) but in the end, decided that I just couldn't dedicate enough of myself to it to really do it right. I was lucky to have two of the very best HS band directors there are and I know that thier level of dedication was beyond me. There were aspects that I knew I'd enjoy, but overall, I knew I'd always be holding something back, because my real passion is playing music and teaching trumpet, not conducting a school band.

    I"ll continue in a moment (computer difficulty)

  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Ok, computer issue solved...

    I don't mean to put down anyone who has chosen an education career. For the right person, it can be vary rewarding and really offers a chance to effect students lives in a positive way. A good friend of mine turned down a gig in an Air Force band to teach high school and he's never regreted it. He's also more dedicated to education than almost anyone I know.

    I know many people who play their horns as a hobby, play very, very well and enjoy every second of it. Don't ever let anyone tell you the only way to enjoy or be involved in music is as a full time job. One bit of unsolicited advice: whatever you major in, if you enjoy playing the trumpet, keep doing it! Play the in the band or a jazz band or something. I'm sure lots of people on these forums would tell you they wish they hadn't quit playing at some point.

    One last thing...Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're a sophmore in high school now, right? I wouldn't get to caught up in trying to figure out your future just yet. It sounds like you have many interests and, with time, you'll realize that there is one you simply can't do without and that'll be the one to stick with. Go with your gut feeling, it's usually correct. I did that when I was choosing between colleges and I made the right decision twice! In any case, relax and enjoy life! Do stuff you like, whatever it is. When you discover what you're really passionate about, find a way to get paid to do it and you're set!

    Hope that helped, sorry it was so long!


    (You could always cook little kids and then study them! While listening to music, of course!)
  4. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    How did I pick? I had it down to music or mechanical engineering. I loved playing my trumpet, but I also enjoyed the stars, and had wanted to work at NASA since I was like, 10. Luckily, I had some good friends who pointed me in the direction of mechanical engineering. Was it the right call? Compared to music, yes. Will I become a ME (an abbreviation)? Who knows? The one thing you're gonna learn when you go to college, regardless of where, is that you'll learn of degrees that you never even knew existed, and just sound like a blast. For instance, my brother was thinking of becoming a computer science major (for those of you who don't know, the program for that down here is SUICIDALLY hard). Since I've come here, and he's researched it, he's now considering heavily becoming a naval archaeologist (you should see the kid talk about old warships). Shoot, I'm starting to kick around becoming a college math professor. You just never really know what path life's gonna show you.

    As far as the careers that you mentioned above, I think I can safely say that biology offers the most out of them. You can do anything from being a biology teacher, to being a forensics expert (and then you can pay for about a dozen or so Monettes). Whatever you do, don't let someone else pressure you into something you don't want to do, and keep an open mind.
  5. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    I'm a junior. I'll be turning 17 in....a little over a month!

    Anyway, I understand that it takes dedication to be a band teacher. My directors are at school pretty much everyday except Sundays, sometimes until 10 or 11 at night (and they get there around 7:30 in the morning). They have to put up with kids that hate the class, kids that hate them, kids who like band but have no motivation, kids that really try hard but always mess up....etc. I really couldn't do that.

  6. jpkaminga

    jpkaminga Pianissimo User

    Jul 1, 2004
    A very small percentage of american students are currently majoring in math or science, in developing countries however these fields are very popular amongst those who make it to universities, in the future american mathematicians, engineers and scientists will be greatly outnumbered if this trend continues, this is not a bad thing in general but for the US it can't be good, it makes me think about dropping philosophy and going into engineering or biology, there are many more promising careers in these fields, but there are other things to worry about besides the size of one's paycheck, like enjoying and being proud of every day's work, but that is proly more difficult than it seems once one leaves academia
  7. Dr G

    Dr G Pianissimo User

    Nov 9, 2003
    I read this thread with great interest for a number of reasons. Without belaboring the point, we live in a world in which it IS possible to have more than one career, speciality, etc. In fact is is almost mandatory because the rate of change in our dynamic world is very rapid.

    There are a number of free internet sites that have aptitude, personality, vocational interest, and other tests that just might give you some information that you had not before considered. Keep in mind, however, that this activity should be considered more as curious entertainment than the final word on anything. Additionally, all of us change, so your interests today might not be the same as they were yesterday.

    The Greeks catagorized their education into the Trivium [3] and Quadrivium [4] and felt a person had to be educated in all areas. While it may no longer be possible to do that, the idea that a person needs to continue to study [if only to keep up] is important.

    In the words of a noted authority on mythology --- "follow your bliss"
  8. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    I take issue with the statement of “I've since come to the conclusion that I'm not really cut out to teachâ€.

    Running a band is something you learn in college and out on the job that is why you go to college for it. If the sole reason for not being a band director is that you “aren’t cut out to teach†then I believe your decision is flawed. You would be letting a 16 year old decide your career path and that path would be based with a lot of assumptions and incorrect information. That is like Manny saying at age 16†hey I can’t win an audition right now, so I am not going to try to make it as a trumpet playerâ€.

    And even if you are to grant your original idea that you aren’t good with large groups there are still a lot of different types of music positions out there. You could go the Elementary route and there are other options as well such as the college teaching route.
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    Perhaps if I outline briefly how I got into this business it might give you some clarity.

    I also wanted to become a music teacher/band director but when I was in Junior High school. Shortly after getting into High School that became a desire to just play. After I entered Juilliard I knew I wanted to become a great player. Towards the end of my education at Juilliard I knew I wanted to play in an orchestra. During my time at Juilliard I played as many different kinds of gigs as I had time for. Not for any reason other than I wanted to make money and I knew that working was better than not working.

    I guess the point was that by high school it was very clear in my head that I just wanted to play.... any place that would have me, I just wanted to play! Maybe it helped that I stank at every other academic subject but english. I wasn't smart enough to have other options. So, it was a clear choice. Music was the one thing I could do where I had satisfaction. So, it was clear.

    I find that young people know so much more about the downside of everything today. We really didn't so much. We just set our sights on something and went for it. Although,I had a trio of well-meaning teachers in High School who thought it awful that I was going to Juilliard and not going instead to Manhattan School and getting an ed degree. They were very concerned for my future. Imagine... a latino kid comes out of the projects and gets into Juilliard and the only thing they worry about is that I'm setting myself up for future unemployment! I'm glad I've had a lifetime to prove them wrong.

    Now, I have the best of both worlds. I've been able to pursue my Junior High dream at the same time as my college dream with the MO and the MYS.

    My respect and admiration for the band directors in Junior High made me want to be like them. My respect and admiration for the great orchestral trumpeters made me want to be like them. I have a talent for both and so, here I am writing to you using the english language that I adore.

    Lara, if you love to play, play. If you love numbers, use them as much as you can. If you love science, go about the world with a keen eye.

    Feed your interests. If you can't figure it out, then go to a liberal arts school with a band or orchestra where you can do different things and just enjoy the process of learning. You'll make it in whatever you have a passion for. Don't worry about it. Honestly, don't.

  10. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    That's very inspiring Mr. Laureano. Before I went to college and decided that I was going to do music as a career, my brother (who is an amazing bassoon player), gave me a huge lecture on what to expect as a teacher and performer, one of the quotes that I remember very much from that conversation was when he said "Music isn't a career, it's a way of life," man was he right. Although I'm not even out of college yet, I got my hands full around town doing freelance stuff, not to mention convering my own practice stuff for ensembles or lessons, and a full studio of lesson kids in surrounding areas. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but just wanted to leave with that quote, one that has helped better understand what I was getting myself in to.

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