Music Major

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by holyjunk, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. codemonkey

    codemonkey Guest

    Point 1:
    I just went to and did a quick job search on the keyword C++. The result is over 500 hits. I did the same search on trumpet. The result was just under zero.

    Point 2:
    Back in 1991, I was laid off from my first programming job. I immediately went to the library to look at the careers section of the paper (You remember paper?). An older gentleman there saw me and remarked that there were no good computer jobs available. Well, I don’t know what happened to him, but I was working within a month.

    Some people simply don’t know what they are talking about.

    Of all the people who want to be musicians, how many are really successful? Isn’t it a bit like hockey, or acting? The minor league hockey coach in the cube next to mine says that only 1% of 1% of little hockey players make it to the NHL. How many symphony orchestras are out there? Do you really want to busk at farmers markets for your supper?

    I think many music schools are irresponsible. They sell a dream for hard cash. You can seem music professors at Artists House Music: A learning resource for music and the music business. saying that you should follow your dreams and you cannot be a successful musician unless you devote yourself fully. Well, unless they will accept an essay on your dreams as tuition payment, they are hypocrites.

    If you were my son/daughter, I’d tell you to have a backup plan. You’re road will be rough. I barely made it out if engineering school with just one major, but many of my more gifted colleagues had double majors and did well. You will have to work while others are partying. You will need extra discipline. You will need to love both your music and your backup field especially if it is one of the hard sciences or you will not be successful in your backup.

    Sorry for the long rant. I would have made it shorter, but I didn’t have time.
  2. Hags888

    Hags888 Pianissimo User

    Aug 31, 2006
    Corpus Christi, TX

    Your point #1 is misleading at best. If you're seriously looking for music jobs at "" (whatever the heck that is), then you're looking in absolutely the wrong places. I think it would be better to say that the *way* you get a job in music is totally and completely different than the way you get, pretty much, any other kind of job. In music, with the exception of some teaching jobs, you rarely ever send an application, then sit down with an interviewer for a half day and discuss "your strengths and weaknesses." Making in the performance world is as much about networking as it is about your playing.

    As to your point #2 and conclusion...clearly those are true (read above).

    Being a musician is not an easy road. If you're the typical high school band student, who really enjoys playing in band and doing all the things a "band kid" does (marching band, jazz band, orchestra, etc), that doesn't necessarily mean that being a music major is for you. If you haven't been studying privately since you were 10, auditioned for and made it in your state's "all-state" competition or played in extra-curricular music ensembles (youth symphonies etc), then you need to realize that you're behind the "pack" so to speak. Most successful performers have decades of playing experience behind them by the time they graduate college.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the links that have been posted already. I really like Ed Carrol's quote, "ask yourself if you want to be a musician, or if you *have* to be one." There's a lot tied up in that statement. Basically if you don't have the temperament, discipline, drive and self-motivation to study and practice your art for at least 3 hours *every* day during your high school and college years...then it's probably not worth your time.

    But, I disagree completely that music schools are irresponsible and hypocrites. Teaching and learning is a 50-50 relationship, at best. Allan Dean used to tell me in my lessons that, the only person who can make you better, is yourself. If a student doesn't give it their genuine all, then who's fault is it but the student's? I would only agree that music schools are irresponsible if there was a specific situation where a professor was telling a student who clearly didn't have what it takes that they would succeed. But I truly believe that *anyone* can succeed at anything, as long as they genuinely give it 100%. The problem is, that most music students who fail haven't ever given it 100% (even if they think they have). Music students who "get by" practicing an hour, every other day, and who spend a couple hours a week studying, typically won't succeed as a performer.
  3. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    As an elderly guy who got talked out of a music major by my dad, who was also a trumpeter of no small talent and ability, I went into the military and got away from my passion,music. After 45 years away from my horn, I am in my seventies, trying to make a comeback. It is more difficult than I can properly tell you. I practice my trumpet/cornet at least 4 hours every day, without fail.

    If you were to ask me for my advice, based upon my experience, go with what drives you intellectually and spiritually, be careful to pick one thing as a second major that is a sure fire income and NEVER give up whatever is your passion. In the doing of this, be aware that the rating of the school that you attend, and the GPA that you earn will be more of interest than the particular major that you elect. Major companies looking to hire recent college grads are more interested in their willingness and ability to learn than about what they have already learned. My grown sons ands daughters are amazed at the fields that have been offered to them that are not in any way associated with the courses that they took. Their employers were only interested in hiring smart, hardworking people, with the express intent of retraining them.

  4. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA
    LOU I can relate with you honestly here, although I'm not 70 :cool: , and I agree with you completely.
  5. Jurandr

    Jurandr Pianissimo User

    Feb 23, 2008
    Hello, Holyjunk

    I am also a Sohpomore in high school, and definately considering a music degree with my trumpet, although not on the same scale as you. The way the world is moving, computer programmers and specialists are going to be very important to the future. My school offers intigration with the cisco networking acadamy(lucky for me), and I will be taking that class next year.

    Anyways, to get started, I'd reccomend talking to your music instructor on your career options. The immediate music choices are rather obvious, and my instructor was quick to tell me about music ed, performance, maint/repair, and the likes. He also said that I could probably do "anything I wanted", although I can't be sure how broadly he was talking about that particular subject. My instructor is hard to understand most of the time :dontknow:

    On the flip side, we both have an interest in working with the technology side of the future. Slightly different in interests, maybe, but still similar in many ways. Speak with your computer instructor about how job applications work, job security, availability, and other stuff like that before you lock yourself in on this choice. I sent a simple email to my future teacher about it, and he said that the State Farm insurence agency actually hires students straight out of the classroom. Now, this is for networking, not programming/scripting and C++ and other things like that, but you get the general idea. Students in Technology probably have employers looking for employees, possibly even looking in classrooms.

    Thirdly, look at colleges you think you may apply to. Write them for details on their majors/minors that involve music and computers, and decide how you would benifite most: Music major/tech minor or tech major/music minor. Know what you want to do with your music, i.e. private lessons, education, street performances, "sit-down band", orchestra. Maybe even a professional marching band if your interest is high enough. If you don't know what you want to do with your musical career, try asking one of the Artists in Residence for some info on what they do! I'm sure they'll be more than happy to assist.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Math related things and music have always been great companions. Definitely get your plan B lined up. Music will accompany your life in any case. The rest needs to support the habit!
  7. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    There are plenty of high tech jobs. Companies are in need of nerds to make their computers work. You will have technician status but that beats the soup kitchen.
  8. BradHarrison

    BradHarrison Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    It's always wise to have options and back up plans. Also, it's never a bad idea to enrich yourself by learning more about more things.

    However, keep in mind that mastery of an instrument, and the trumpet in particular, is extremely demanding of your time. My biggest regret from university was that I worked too many hours at my part-time job. I had lots of money to buy instruments and beer but I lost thousands of hours of practice time. Taking more courses will take time away from practice.

    You don't go into music for money or security. You do it because you have to. If you want security, take something else entirely in school and resign yourself to being a great amateur. At least you'll be able to afford trumpet toys!
  9. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    When I last worked in Seattle a sax player named Kenny Gorlick was pretty popular. Some of my engineer friends played in high school jazz band with him. They told me his parents made him major in accounting at Washington University since they were paying for it. He spent all his free time in the music department.

    Fifteen years later he lives comfortably in California using his royalties and performances to fund his projects. He now uses his accounting degree more than ever perpetuating his music legacy. He is a classic music success story with a fall back postition.

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