What would you say to a young student wanting to study music?

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by LaTrompeta, Jul 11, 2017.

What would you say to a student wanting to study music?

  1. Don't do it; study something practical.

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  2. Study music if you want, but learn a marketable skill.

    11 vote(s)
    73.3%
  3. Do it but stay completely out of debt.

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  4. Go for it! YOLO! Get into as much debt as necessary.

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  5. H*** no. You will always regret it.

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  6. I don't care what you do, I'm just not paying for it.

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    Has anyone seen the documentary, "Freeway Philharmonic"?
    Its a documentary about professional symphony musicians who are excellent, who travel a lot, and who play in several second-tier symphonies just to make ends meet. Very revealing and interesting, you might enjoy it. I believe (unfortunately) that it's free on YouTube.
     
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  2. Vivek Patel

    Vivek Patel Pianissimo User

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    I enjoyed the documentary, Kehaulani. Thank you for sharing. It's important to note that this was filmed prior to the Great Recession, and is an excellent portrayal of artistic struggles during the last of the golden years. Of course, the mild tragedies of these musicians are not comparable to the miseries, depressions, and suicides of those who entered the labor force during and/or after the Great Recession. A similar documentary of the post-Recession era would involve musicians possessing even greater virtuosity, experiencing significantly more poverty and existential angst, and would conclude with yet more poverty and despair, rather than the Disney-style resolution of "Freeway Phil."

    It is the height of cruelty to treat our youth like Hansel and Gretel, to lead them along trails of false hope paved in the stones of revisionist history. A documentary like "Freeway Phil" still paints an overly rosy and optimistic portrait, one that can very easily distort an innocent child's understanding of the modern world...IMO, our youth should also be exposed to true and unvarnished "red pill" accounts, real world examples of pain and misery ending in ruin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017 at 5:11 AM
  3. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    If you feel that way, have you tried moving to another country?
     
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  4. LaTrompeta

    LaTrompeta Forte User

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    I don't think things are bad at all in our country. We are still the most affluent society the world has ever seen. I think the issue with music is simply a lack of interest, which is independent on economy. It just so happens that a lack of interest in music means it is also one of the least important things for most people when times get tight.
     
  5. Vivek Patel

    Vivek Patel Pianissimo User

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    Actually my esteemed friend, my reasoning, if carried to its rational conclusion, would call for the termination of publicly funded music and arts programs, which is a conservative cause. IMO, these wasteful and overfunded programs sustain themselves by planting false hopes and empty promises in the minds of impressionable children, which is not good. These bureaucratic pyramid schemes feed upon the innocence of youth and should be eliminated altogether. The arts would be in much better shape, certainly much freer, without government involvement, without bulky institutions like the NEA crowding out private investment. Anyways, "move to another country" is a retort commonly leveled against liberals (which I am not)...you're probably looking for something along the lines of "don't be such a reactionary," or "Ok, Ayn Rand." :grin:
     
  6. OldSchoolEuph

    OldSchoolEuph Mezzo Piano User

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    Am I the only one here who knows professional players who are earning a decent living? In fact, the last work-related complaint I heard from one was that it was hard to find time to get away for a few days because the gigs just keep piling up (coincidental, but true). Hey, you'll never get rich, but if you have the talent and the drive, you can make a living doing what you love. (And that love probably has as much to do with success as the raw talent, because that's what motivates you to work at it day & night)

    As for horror stories, I can provide some balance for the ones above with a look at those STEM jobs everyone is so blindly enamored with. I work in engineering for an automaker. The house I live in, I bought from a mechanical engineer pushed out of the company I work for in 2007. He bought it back during the energy crisis of the 1970s from another engineer at this same company likewise displaced. I've seen our neighborhood virtually emptied twice by recessions. Thinking about the cube I occupied when it got bad in 2008: the guy across from me and his wife wound up living in friend's and relative's basements for 6 years before he found work - and he's a highly trained instrumentation engineer. The software engineer on the other side of the cube wall shot himself a couple months after lay-off. The free market plays rough when it "corrects". It's not just tough on musicians.
     
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  7. LaTrompeta

    LaTrompeta Forte User

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    You certainly are not the only person. I personally know a handful of successful musicians who make a decent, livable salary. Most of them are college professors. In fact, I know one professor who got a "big-big-time" job, so to speak. I know a successful horn player who went to Rice, and a handful of other instrumentalists. I went to the same university as Lindsey Stirling, who, coincidentally, was not a good enough player to make it in the top orchestra.

    I also know a lot more people with music degrees who work in other careers now. Fortunately, I don't know a single hobo with a music degree. ;) My concern is simply the pursuit and dedication to a career that may not exist in 20 years. If it were my kids, I would say "follow your dreams, but keep the door open for other opportunities."

     
  8. Acludwig1

    Acludwig1 Piano User

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    I intend to go into the medical feild, however I'd like to keep trumpet as a hobby for the rest of my life.
     
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  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Vivek Patel, TrumpetMD and Acludwig1 like this.
  10. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    Two points. First, I too can point to a multitude of successful musicians. But I can agree with Vivek (I think) that we live in a changing world; for brass players there are either less jobs or the number of jobs are fewer, causing the musician to travel further and further do take the same number of jobs, a real challenge sometimes. But like I said, this challenges the horn player to work as a well rounded musician, not just a horn player. It can be done. It just takes flexibility.

    Regarding my question about moving to another country, it was an honest question with no hidden agendas. I have live and traveled outside of the U.S. for many years and have found, outside of a few cities in the U.S., that there are "foreign" countries that value music and musicians much more than in the U.S. One can make a pretty good living there. It just a question about alternatives.
     
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