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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Tough question in the General forums; Man, band directing is hard work with long hours. You got to want to do that or else you'll fail. ...
  1. #21
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    Man, band directing is hard work with long hours. You got to want to do that or else you'll fail. It's music and can be very rewarding, but the dues are high. Maybe in some place where it's not so competitive as DFW it might be more pleasant.

    Dave
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  2. #22
    Mezzo Forte User bigaggietrumpet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcstep
    Man, band directing is hard work with long hours. You got to want to do that or else you'll fail. It's music and can be very rewarding, but the dues are high. Maybe in some place where it's not so competitive as DFW it might be more pleasant.

    Dave
    I have absolutely no intention of living in the Metroplex area whatsoever. I've lived there all my life, and pretty much hated it all my life.
    Michael Smith
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  3. #23
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    I am sure some would agree with me when I say that loving teaching is one thing, loving teaching in public education is something else entirely.

    Here are a few things to think about

    The idea of a double major might seem cool at first but it will really be 3 majors at once. I think the safest thing to do would be double major for now, but someday down the road, in the next year or so pick one.

    -Checking out a band program before time is a good idea. But I will add this to what has been said. Keep in mind when checking out a middle school or high school program that you will not have the skills already in place to walk in and know how to do things. Learning those skills is why you go to college, and learning patience in part of growing up. So if you do check out a local program don’t decide just on that and that alone.
    Student teaching should not be the first time you get in front of a class room and is the wrong time to find out you do not like being a teacher. Surprisingly many people don’t really get to get in front of a group until then, some don’t even get to do much until they have their own job…way to late in the game to change then.


    -Music is Hard! That is one of the reasons I chose it and stick with it, never a dull moment. All majors require A LOT of work, most music majors in college shouldn’t be music majors and will drop. These are the people at my school that couldn’t pass the upper level entrance exams or kept failing freshmen theory. They are the same people that would say how you play doesn’t affect how you teach. That is a bunch of crap! Your level of musicianship will be a big factor in you having something to say when you teach.



    I would be lying if I said that I don’t sometimes sit and think about all the effort and work I have done vs. the money I make. I know plenty of people that have done a lot less work than I have but make a lot more money. Certainly many of my friends have rethought it, I have known many fine musicians that now sell cars, work at banks or are going back to school for a different degree.

    In the end I think music really is a calling and being a music educator is a calling beyond that. If I had to major in music edu again I am not sure I would do it, but I am sticking with music.

    Good luck!!

  4. #24
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    When I graduated from college I had three teaching fields: history, biology, and mathematics. I loved teaching. I still do. It's the best job I ever had. I used to go to graduations and get teary eyed because of all the students I had grown to love in three years of teaching them and enjoying them for three years- friends I would never see again. The last day I taught, I went home and cried like a baby, because I knew I would miss it so.

    But I quit teaching and went to work at a Dupont rubber plant working 12 hour shifts. I used to stack 2000 pounds of rubber in 50 pound bags on wooden pallets every 15 minutes for the whole 12 hours. At the end of the shift I threw floor sweep over a warehouse floor larger than a football field and swept the whole floor. When I got home at night, I used to stink so badly, I peeled off my clothes at the back door and headed for the shower before I could hug my wife and kids.

    Why did I do that? And would I do it again? I've already mentioned why-wife and kids. And yes I would make that change again any day. While teaching, I taught high school all day, private trumpet lessons every afternoon and on Saturday mornings, taught college algebra and trig at a local college two nights a week, and attended symphony rehearsals two other nights a week. In my spare time I played all the dance gigs I could line up. That's how many jobs I had trying to support my wife and kids. Then I had a chance to work for Dupont at the lowest paying job they had. My immediate raise was almost exactly $1000/mo. Plus for the first time I had medical benefits for my family (they weren't part of teacher pay packages at the time I taught) and a real paid vacation. A lot of people think teachers get a paid vacation every summer, but it's really a lay off. You're only paid for the days you teach. But they split your pay over a 12 month period. On top of that we had to go back to school every other summer at our own expense to keep up with our continuing education credits-a job necessity.

    Busting my butt manually at a VERY, VERY monotonous job for years was quite stressful. But not as stressful as having a kid that needed to see a dentist, and not being able to afford one. It wasn't as stressful as having my car totally crap out and having to walk every where I went or borrowing a car for two months, because I had to finish paying for the bummed out car, before I could get another used car financed. But that was the life of a school teacher, while I was following a job I LOVED.

    It sounds good to say, "Just go into something you LOVE doing. You'll put so much into it that the monetary rewards will eventually just flow your way". But the life experiences of many-me included- prove that is only true for some-like winning the lottery. For the rest of us, it's just plain BS.

    The purpose for going to college is to acquire an education (actually a skill/craft) that you can turn into a paycheck soon after you graduate. Because when the last class bell rings, unless you're independently wealthy, you' re going to have to support yourself and a family. And you better be very sure that doing what you LOVE is going to pay the bills. If not, there better be a Plan B built into your education preparation to allow you to change directions somewhere down the line. Because, crass as it may sound, a certain amount of money is a necessity. And when there is someone in the picture besides you (wife and children), suffering to follow you dream means you're not the only one suffering, while you follow that dream.

    I can't tell you what to do. No one can. But there's a lot of difference between playing trumpet in the section, and waving the baton. Waving the baton isn't playing trumpet, if it's playing trumpet you love to do. A lot of my friends, who are band directors, eventually gave up playing because they didn't have time to be a band director and practice for themselves.

    The advice about a double major is so very good advice, if you intend to go into music in any capacity. It might mean a little more sacrifice now, but the rewards can save you from a world of grief down the line. This is your preparation time. You're setting the stage for the rest of your existence. For most of us, that preparation time only rolls around once, before life catches up, and we stop preparing and get a job. Don't blow it, Aggie. Not liking your job as an engineer beats the heck out of not liking your job, while you're stacking rubber, and watching kids you once taught pass through the warehouse as engineering interns at Dupont.
    S.T.

    What do we have that we did not receive, and if we received it, why do we glory, as if we received it not?

  5. #25
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    Jesse.... right on the button! I guess I was lucky in that I never had any "choices" to make... from the time I was knee high to a large grasshopper I was going to be "an engineer". I wanted to be like my dad and do electrical stuff (he was a military electronics tech) but the reality of 1st year mathematics convinced me to switch to mechanical. I was always the kid who immediately tore things apart to "see how they worked" and then had to face the challenge of putting them back together again. It was (the decision to go into engineering) a "no brainer".

    Once I actually GOT into engineering (a co-op program so I could "earn while I learned"), I went into my first "work term" as a blacksmith's assistant in an industrial manufacturing plant. I watched guys go down to the local pool hall on payday and pay off their loans then immediately proceed to blow the rest of their paycheck in the pinball machines... and then borrow to get them through to the next payday. I watched guys slaving away "on the line" drilling holes in steel pipe (I was one of them for a few weeks). I paid attention to the mindless repetition, the dirt and dust, the stink and the NOISE! I determined right then and there that I was going to complete my education "come hell or high water". There simply was NO ALTERNATIVE for me. I had a great university education with fantastic work terms: I got to do fluid mechanics research in the school labs with guys working on industrial projects and PhD's. I got to spend 4 months in Newfoundland as a "teaching assistant" and lab demonstrator. I spent two terms in Montreal working with a glass container manufacturing firm. In short, I was able to get real-life job experience in engineering and industry.

    I've been through layoffs; spent 3 years out of work once. I managed to have enough savings that I was able to use the time to acquire a second degree in Business Management to "fill in the holes left by a technical education". I've worked in "white collar" head office jobs (suits suck... for me) and I've worked in aerospace (gas turbine design). Right now I'm working at a job where I feel as happy as I've ever been. I get paid decently to "play with the world's biggest mechanno set", I get to wear jeans and golf shirts to work, I'm nearing the final few years of my career. The pension is built up and my medical benefits are "quite nice, thank you" and the house is nearly paid off. I took care of my student loans wayyy back before I got married (but in those days tuition was under $700 Cdn per YEAR).

    Yes... "do what you love". But always remember that the world runs on PRODUCTIVITY, and as harsh as it may sound, the reality is that you have to keep the wolf away from the door. If you can find something that you love that also pays (or at least gives you marketable skills), then you've "caught the brass ring". Music is wonderful.... but it's like professional sports. "Millions try, few are accepted".

    The advice to take a double degree is very astute. A double in eduction and music is great. I'd also suggest considering business management and music.... you'd get a lot of skills for the retail or management side of the music industry that way. You have GOT to have a "day job". If you are really, REALLY good at music and you get noticed, then you can always "convert" to a full-time musician. Then you'll also still have those other skills to "fall back on" should you need to. But to pour all your guts into Music, Music, and nothing but Music? Chances are you'll end up "slinging hash" or serving drinks until (and unless) the "magic moment of discovery" happens.

    Just my wee bit of advice, your mileage may vary.

  6. #26
    Fortissimo User gzent's Avatar
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    Re: Tough question

    Quote Originally Posted by bigaggietrumpet
    Ok, here's one for you music majors and such out there...

    Currently, I am a mechanical engineering major. But the problem is that I'm also currently hating it. My senior year in HS, when I had to decide what my major was, it was a very close race between mechanical engineering and majoring in music. Being the stupid highschooler I was, I figured that I didn't want to be a high school band director and wanted to make a decent living, so I went with engineering. However, I've recently done some soul-searching, and realized that maybe a music major might be a good idea. Does anyone have any advice, suggestions, helpful stories, etc? I could really use some help.
    Michael,

    At the risk of confusing you with more advice...

    The Rev. is absolutely correct, do what you love. That said, we don't always know what we love when we make huge decisions in life. First, pray for guidance. I won't say to who, but just pray, it helps.

    Second, you need to find out what profession you are suited for. I took a personality inventory back in HS circa 1980, it came out that engineering and computer programming were my most compatible professions, with professional musician a few notches behind. I busted my rear and got my Electrical Eng. degree and landed a great job designing Radar systems at Texas Instruments in Dallas. Sure, I had struggles, but it was worth it - very fun and paid well.

    After 12 years and the stress of being a parent, living in the Metroplex and facing relocation to Tucson (NFW) grew, I started to re-examine my professional path. I bought a bunch of books and did the career profile test again. Guess what? It said be an engineer or a programmer! Dang! There was no escaping it.

    Getting to the point, I found a more enjoyable job as a software developer in my home town in MN and moved back. I love computer programming and I play the horn more now than in the past 20 years.

    I have seen the hectic schedule that a pro trumpet player / instructor friend of mine has and I wouldn't want it for nothing. Plus, financially he will always struggle. If you want to make a decent living as a musician you have to work some long, unpredictable hours and travel a lot (unless you're a tenured teacher), then there's the lack of patience thing. :)

    I work 8-5 M-F in a very laid back atmosphere and have plenty of energy left for my hobbies, #1 being the trumpet.

    As mentioned, don't assume being an engineer will be much like going to school, because thankfully it ain't! I hated school, but loved being an engineer. Getting the degree was my passport to getting a great job.

    So, I say get some career counseling and match your personality to a career that fits. Whatever you decide, take your time and don't be afraid to take risks.

    Good luck!

    Greg

    PS - Doing what you love also means feeling like you are paid what you are worth. There are sure a lot of musicians who don't feel they are.
    Stop acting like someone shot your dog.

  7. #27
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    SIDEBAR! My gosh... how many of us in here have a technical job as our "day gig"? Seems to be lots and lots... or is my perception clouded by my reality?

  8. #28
    Pianissimo User Vessehune's Avatar
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    If you don't love what your job is going to be your going to be miserable for the next 40 years.

    I was a music major for several years, but had to leave school with out finishing. A friend of mine got me a tech job at Microsoft and I did that for around 4 years. The job was OK and paid well, but I never had time to spend with my wife, and I hated it so much at times.

    After some seriuos discussion my wife and I did a total 180 and now I am back in school as a music major again. I am really glad that we made this decision and I know I will enjoy being a music teacher much more than being some techie.

    Follow your heart. You only get one chance at life and you might as well be happy. As the saying goes money can't buy you happiness.
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  9. #29
    Fortissimo User gzent's Avatar
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    Toot:

    Yep - its a common theme. It seems really dedicated/obsessed/focused trumpet players have similar personalities and talents as scientific/technical/geeky people. Unfortunately, how many outstanding trumpet players make good instructors? :wink:

    Greg
    Stop acting like someone shot your dog.

  10. #30
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    A word about aptitude tests:

    As I was graduating from Florida State I took an aptitude test at the request of a potential employer to see if I was suited to be an accountant. Well, despite having an A average I scored a 3 out of a possible 10 on the test, SO that company didn't offer me a job.

    Despite my lack of aptitude, I accepted an offer from another international company and began a 17-year as an auditor and consultant, ironically serving my last four years as a partner in the firm that "failed me" in that first aptitude test.

    I gone on to testify before the Financial Accounting Standards Board and written critiques of proposed accounting standard, etc., etc.

    Anyway, you can guess what I think about the usefulness of "aptitude tests". I majored in accounting because I was making an A in my first course and most others were struggling. If I'd taken that silly aptitude test before taking my first accounting course I may have missed out on a really rewarding career.

    If you're seeking a direction, those test might be of some use, but if you're already embarked down a road you like, then forget about them.

    Dave
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