Major quesitons...major decisions...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by silverstar, May 17, 2006.

  1. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    Ok, so, I'm not exactly sure where to put this, since it's not really about trumpet playing and it's not about a specific thought it'd get the most hits here.

    I'm looking at possible majors in music, seeing what my options are, at Iowa. One really caught my eye, and sounds like it would be a really interesting major because it incoorporates not only music, but other Performing Arts and business. (Though I hated

    It's called Performing Arts's a course description for you (it describes it better than I could.)

    Does anyone else here have (or know anyone who has) a degree in this? I'd really love to learn more about it and see if it's something I'd like to do.

    Thanks guys!

  2. Joe DiMonte

    Joe DiMonte Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 30, 2006
    Dear Lara:
    I reviewed the link you provided and as a parent who went through college shopping for my three children,the last one being some 10 years ago,you should first inform us what do you you wish to study (Composition & Theory ?) so we can help you to tailor your choice of Universitie's (5 minimum) to consider inclusive of Tuition,Room & Board.

    Here in Pittsburgh,Pa we have three major Universities with Musical programs:
    1) University Of Pittsburgh
    2)Carnegie-Mellon University
    3)Duquesne Univ.

    Good luck & stay ahead of the curve.
  3. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Seems like a good idea...

    The degree title seems very enticing this day and age. On the surface, it sounds great. What worries me are the course descriptions. I didn't see the Entrepreneurship represented there. Perhaps it is embedded elsewhere.

    To say there would be a need met with such a degree is an understatement when one considers the number of highly qualified musicians cranked out annually by music schools versus the number of jobs out there. Factor in the alarming number of young musicians who enter the market with the notion that the real world somehow resembles the experience they had in music school, and you have a very tough situation. Music schools need to factor in a heavy does of reality to genuinely qualify their students for what they will be facing. It isn't enough to just be well versed in the repertoire. Shoot, I took the CSO auditon when John Hagstrom got in on 4th chair. I forget how many hundreds of players turned up, many from major symphonies elsewhere in the US and abroad, to try out fore that gig, but it was in the hundreds! Hagstrom got the job. What are the others to do? I was already a busy free-lancer and teacher, so I knew I could eat, buyt I felt for the others.

    If you're a jazz musician the situation is really alarming. It's getting positively Darwinian.

    This degree sounds great, but the curriculum will have to go a lot further than implied in the course descriptions.

    Manhattan School of Music has quite a reputation for prepping its studetns both musically and professionally. SUNY NY I beleive does so as well.

    Keep an eye on the ITG Journal. There should be some new stuff in there, starting with the next Journal that could help many a young pro free-lancer.

    Just MHO.

  4. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    The thing is, I don't know what I want to do. Right now, I'm at the stage where I'm trying to decide if I really want to make music my career. I mean, there are so many people in my own band that can play better than I do...they're more dedicated than I, I wish I could do what they do. I really don't think, at this point in my life, that I'm at a college level with my playing and discipline. I try to practice at least an hour or two a day, but my school work and grades have always come first. Also, the last month I've been so busy with end-of-the-year activities/award ceremonies/coursework/graduation preparations that I haven't really been able to get any time in on my horn.

    Anyway....I don't know what I want to do. There are so many things that I love, so many things that I'm interested's so hard to choose what I'm best at. I know that my weakness is in math and logical reasoning. I used to say that I hated math, but it's more that it frustrates me and I don't do well in it. I like it alright though.

    So...yeah. I'm not good enough to be professional, and I have HUGE issues when I have to audition for anything. I've never been able to play in front of judges....I freak out and everything falls to pieces. I can paly fine in front of groups of people though...I mean, when I solo in jazz band I'm not very nervous at all.'s a lot of rambling. Did I answer any questions at all?

  5. trjeam

    trjeam Pianissimo User

    Dec 5, 2003

    if you are not sure what you want to do, then go to community college and do your general studies and maybe by the time you're done with that you'll have things figured out.

    you can always take private music lessons, play with local ensembles ext..

    just my 2 cents.
  6. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    The parent in me...


    I have close family in VERY similar shoes. This is what I told them ( a short summary of years of discussions!).

    1.) Here is how you can tell if you really want to be a pro musician. You have to WANT it, and I mean WANT it - BAD. You have to be willing to do almost anyting to study to show yourself approved. You have to love practicing so much that you'll do for hours at a time, just for the fun of it.

    2.) You have to be realistic about your talents versus your ability to learn. Some folks seem to just be able to do it without trying. Others must work at it (I am the latter).

    3.) You forget about getting rich or hitting the big time. That CAN'T be your motivation. If it's about making MONEY your missing the point of the fact that the art is what drives us.

    4.) You have to cultivate a mentality of sharing. It isn't about showing off your talents or dearly fought for and earned skills. It has to be about making the world a bit more beautiful becuase of what you are doing. Granted this sentiment will not put food on the table, but it will help keep you going through the hard times.

    5.) Be prepared to go unrecognized at times for no apparent reason and not let your ego get bruised. We all have to deal with that now and then, but it can be tough on a newbie to the biz.

    6.) Finally, you'll want to get about a near obsessive level of dedication to self-improvement NOW. The US (the world?) is a culture driven by "vanity over talent." The sooner (younger) you can really achieve, the better!

    Now, this last one sticks in my craw, and to perfectly honest, I don't completely believe it, nor do I accept it. It's just that there is some precident. so, if I were you, I'd get at it right now.

    7.) Realize that, to be a professional musician you have dedicated your life to learning, study, self-improvement, and giving/ sharing. When you think about it, that is a truly wonderful thing. Unfortuantely, making a LIVING at it has been getting tougher and tougher to do.

    I was a dedicated long distance runner when I first got into the music biz. I'd often do massive workouts - 25 miles and more. The hours on the road and recovery time were tough. Once I got into gigging, teaching and raising a family, I had to let it go. I just jog a bit in the summers to slim down and keep my wind up. I had to let that go. I also let go being a ham radio operator. I did these things to make sure I could dedicate my energy to that which I love - playing trumpet, jazz, writitng music and sharing it with others to the best of my ability.

    Lara, you post a LOT here. This belies a pretty serious feeling about trumpet. You seem drawn to it. Now, ask yourself, are you so drawn to it, you'll practice eight hours a day, and practice piano on top of that, all the time? Are you willing to sacrifice other activites if they are crowding your practice?

    Again, these are my opinions. This is the advice I've given my young family musicians, based on my experience. If you can live with the challenges and want to, by all means go for it. You should cultivate a sense of wisdom and savvy about it, as well.

    I hope this helps add some grist for the mill.


  7. Tim McGinley

    Tim McGinley New Friend

    Just a quick thought on the issue because there are so many factors that go into your decision:

    In many institutions you do not have to declare your Major right away. They want you to have an idea. However there is no rule that says you can not change majors once you have begun your college career.

    When you begin your studies, a great deal of time is spent knocking out your general ed classes that go into any degree. These are the courses that develop your associates degree level of study. In that time you are shaping your bachelors track. Many of the undergrad tracks share electives. This gives you a semester or two to get yourself "grounded". By then, after being exposed to college life, you will have a more accurate understanding of how you fit in and what degree of dedication you have toward your horn and to your studies.

    I have a great deal of friends that were non-music majors that did a great deal of playing throughout college (and still gig for kicks). On the flip side, I know several people with music degrees working as bankers.
    Point being, the degree (whatever you choose) is what you make it!
    Best of luck!!!
  8. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Lara- Sounds like a great career path. But I agree with Nick here. It seems a bit thin with the course listings. There must be more than what they are showing there. Do you have to declare a major before you arrive on campus or can you start a music major and find out about details from another student already in the program then move in if you decide it's for you? I guess the other options are to just enter it and see then transfer out of it if it's not a good fit for you, or go on to grad school for the very same thing if there was not enough coursework, or transfer to a different school that has more in that area if you find it lacking there. The thing you have going for you is time.
  9. beartrumpet74

    beartrumpet74 Pianissimo User

    Jan 17, 2006
    Lara -

    As a fellow young person...well not that young anymore, and one in college for music, I just can't let your post go by without adding my 2 cents.

    I read the link you provided, and I would be VERY skeptical. Arts administration type programs are very very very new to most music schools, and when music schools develop new majors, unfortunately they tend to rely too much on what they already offer in the way of courses and not enough on the major area of study within the new discipline. What I'm trying to say is... Sounds like a music degree with a little smattering of Entrepreneurship. I am guessing that most people with real jobs in this field got them because of experience and not because of a degree. Many orchestra managers have straight music degrees and then maybe a business degree on top of that.

    That being said, I think you have to go where the jobs are. For example....

    My father is a lobsterman back home in Maine. He didn't go to college for that...that's for sure...and if he did, he wouldn't have gone to a lobster fishing school in Utah....get the point?

    If you are truely interested in this line of work, I highly recommend New York or even better for industry type stuff .. LA

    I am headed back to LA after my degree is done next year, because there are just way more oppourtunities there for what I want to do after graduation.

    Nicks point are very very very very good..... I would head is advice. I would also maybe PM Pat Harbison and ask his advice... Pat is real good with this kind of thing...
    Best wishes ... and please remember... while music school is great for lots of does not always prepare you for a professional career in music.. take it from someone who has made his living playing, and then went back to school. Good luck and best wishes

  10. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    Thanks guys. I talked to my parents for, gosh, 3 hours last night about majors and stuff. Right now I haven't declared a major...I'm in the "open major" slot at Iowa, and I'll be doing my general education stuff this fall/winter.

    I've really thought about music as a major, and the more I think about it, the more I realise that if I made it a major, a career, it would drive me insane. I don't think I want to take music and make it work.

    I brainstormed ideas last night and talked with my Dad. One thing that came up, that I think I could really get into and love as a job, was photography/graphic design. I'd probably have to learn more about computers and stuff, but, I love to take photographs. I think I might go out and do some research on what it takes and everything, but, graphic design and photography really sound like something I could do.

    As for my trumpet and my trumpet playing, I might minor in music or something. I could see myself teaching lessons someday, gigging on the weekends, doing stuff for my church or the local schools. I could even see myself in a Community Band of some-sort.

    So...I don't know. Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate it. It looks like I have some serious thinking to do.


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