What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

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Elow
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What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by Elow » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:28 pm

I’m curious to see what everyone wanted to be when they grew up and if they’re actually doing that. I’m also wondering what is doing and what it took to get there. All the men in my family are engineers and i kind of feel like i need to be something close to that, but then again i love playing my horn. I still have two years until i’m in college but i still want to try and get a grip of what i want to do with my life. I don’t think i’d like the stress of gigging around and not having a for sure stable income. I know some guys do that, but i don’t think i could deal with that stress. I like the idea of teaching, but i wouldn’t be able to play which i like a lot more. Both my directors went to fsu with the idea of majoring in music performance but ended up changing to music education which apparently happens often. I’d like to say i’m pretty good for playing for my age, ive never not made any honor band that i’ve tried out for (just state and county auditions),i’m sure that will change but for now im pretty confident. My director says if i wanted to i could probably do something at a college, anyone gone that route? How’d it turn out? Any opinion would be nice, thanks.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by Burgerbob » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:04 pm

I wanted to be a band director, and ended up being a performer (well, until early 2020 anyway). Works for me.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by harrisonreed » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:39 pm

Sorry that this is long, but I think my story can provide one perspective about how college and your future career are not related, or at least do not have to be related:

I wanted to be an astronaut. I was in a program in Massachusetts called Future Problem Solvers of America, around 1997-2000, where we talked about cashless societies, global warming, the effect of the internet on society, and other things like that, and how to solve problems that might arise in the DISTANT FUTURE, 2025-2030. Of course a lot of the crazy stuff we argued about has come true or is about to come true. We weren't solving any problems in reality, but it was interesting that we would be given a situation, like what would happen if everyone had some crazy device that had access to any information and could communicate with anyone and it could fit in their head (smart phones did not exist except as an idea in Star Trek), and then would apply the same thought process on paper to that situation, given what we knew. So you had a bunch of 10-15 year olds coming up with ideas like "there will be social withdrawal" and "people might lose interest in reality" and "no one will be able to remember anything on their own any more".

We would submit our thoughts and our process to a board and the whole process would be evaluated by people in suits, and the best ideas (and solutions!) would win the team a trophy. Thinking back, it is crazy how accurate almost all of the situations they gave us ended up being. I even got to speak at MIT about a short story I wrote based on one of the prompts.

So I was going to be an astronaut. I didn't realize that there is basically no such thing as a young astronaut, and there is no such thing as an astronaut degree when I was a young kid. There's a difference between applying a bright mind to a hypothetical problem, and actual hard learned realities that your teachers, even with the best of intentions, tell you bald faced lies about because they really don't know, or they don't want to tell you the truth. "You can be anything you dream" is not the whole truth, and it's mostly a lie. People can dream a lot of things, and choosing one dream can close the door on the possibility of another dream. Teachers should be telling students who want to be astronauts that they need to be in the top 1% of the field of pilots in the Air Force first, or be already successful in a career in engineering or robotics before they even bother applying. And that's only if they are still fitter and healthier than average at age 30, 35, or whenever it is that it makes sense to apply.

I also played the trombone and dreamed about a career as a soloist, like Christian Lindberg. By the time I was applying for college I knew that getting a music degree was foolish from a monetary perspective, but initially my thinking had been, yeah, if I just get through a music program I can afford and stay at the top of the pack in my class I can win the orchestra job, and then the solo career can follow. Better than my astronaut plan, since I was accounting for the intermediate career junctions ... Right? Wrong. Like you say, I never "didn't make" a group I auditioned for. But that just means I was a big fish in a little pond. Being the best trombonist at (insert University or conservatory name here) still means you are a big fish in a little pond. Each of those schools turns out 1-20 "fully qualified" top level trombonists each year. When they swim beneath you in the BIG pond, it's like a whale swimming underneath a rubber duck. And those people are the ones having trouble winning an audition and putting bread on the table, because there aren't enough jobs. And, it turns out, following that path doesn't lead to the actual dream of being a soloist. Christian Lindberg did not follow a path like that. His plan involved 5 years of going to different countries, and doing an independent course of study with famous teachers and practicing for 6-8 hours a day. This is something that isn't possible without some level of financial independence before you even embark on the journey.

So in the end I went to school close to home to save money, and studied white collar crime and society. I minored in Japanese and was in the trombone studio the whole time I was at school. I had a plan lined up for an immediate career that would pay well upon graduation with the MA state police, and I got a 100% on the entrance exam. The best thing I did at school was learn how to actually play the trombone in lessons, and perform as a soloist with the band there, and also playing concertos with local community orchestras. Possibly the only thing I can say was worth going to school for. When I graduated, the global economy was in an absolute slump and all MA state police jobs were going to combat veterans returning from the war in Afghanistan. So I was jobless and had studied something that would not lead to a job offer ... unless I joined the military.

Three years later, on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, I remember thinking about the live recording of DeMeij's T-Bone concerto, and wondering about the path that had led me to catching IED manufacturers in a far flung reach of the planet. It is interesting that, when I thought about it, every decision I had made had led me there, and I was there and made those decisions because of who I am. I was and am very proud of the job that I was doing during that time. When I got back, there was an army band playing for our return and I had never heard of the army band before. So I asked their leader if the band was a temporary duty or what, and if it was could I audition. They said, no, it was a permanent job in the military, but I could audition if I wanted to change jobs. I had already deviated very far from my original plan of becoming an astronaut, so I figured why not, let's become a trombone player. Fast forward to today, seven years later, and I'm in Japan (a country whose language I so happened to minor in in college), playing the trombone for the Army. And I'm proud of the job I am doing and the people I get to work with.

I got an email in march asking for open applications to the Army astronaut program. They want to cast a wide net and see who might be a good fit. I didn't apply this year, but I might next year. I still have dreams.

If you want to be a doctor or an engineer, there is a well defined college/apprenticeship path that will lead you to that job. If you want to be something outside the realm of hard sciences, college won't lead you there directly, unless you have very helpful realistic advisors. Keep your eyes focused on the end state, and study what the people already in your dream job did to get there. Especially ask them what the pool is looking like, and if there is room for new people in that field.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by Cotboneman » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:35 pm

I wanted to be a high school band director; I knew that the moment I stepped into my high school band room in 1971 and was hooked into the band culture. It didn't hurt that my mom and dad were working musicians, so music making was always a part of my life.

I picked up two degrees from DePaul University, taught in Chicago for a couple of years, before finally migrating out to Southern Arizona, where I taught instrumental (and vocal) music in a small, but growing school district for the next 30 years. I retired in 2018 after 34 years of teaching, with enough awards, accolades and students who followed in my footsteps to last me a life time. I wish it were financially as rewarding, but that's a whole other topic of discussion! :lol:
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by Kingfan » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:46 pm

I had no idea what I wanted to be. People suggested engineering (I liked to tinker and was good at science) but my tbone teacher said I had a shot at being a professional. Two quarters at a conservatory of music and I decided no way. I tried engineering and didn't mesh with that either, so I ended up with a general degree with some business courses. I fell into a career (insurance loss control) I liked and paid well and am now retired. I never quit playing for fun, though, and have used music as a foil to my day job. I don't regret giving music a shot, though, as I might have wondered my entire adult life if I could be part of a major orchestra. My brother, however, knew he wanted to be a nurse after we took EMT training in high school and had a great career as an RN. Point being, some people know what they want to be and go for it, but many (most?) fumble their way to a career.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by BGuttman » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:49 pm

I wanted to be a pilot. Then I became horribly nearsighted and being an airman was unreachable. So I decided I wanted to be an Aeronautical Engineer, but I wasn't interested in Space (which was the growing part of the field). Then my parents gave me a chemistry set and I fell in love. I loved chemistry. As a senior in High School I applied to a mixture of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering schools. I got the best deal from Cooper Union, a Chemical Engineering school (it was tuition free back then). While in college I also got interested in photography -- not artistic photography but the technical aspects of photography. After school I got a job working for a major manufacturer of photographic film (but not Kodak). Found that my job really was a cross between chemistry and chemical engineering, so I pursued a degree in chemistry. My chemical and photographic knowledge got me into an aspect of electronics: Printed Circuits. That worked great until my company decided that old Techs were obsolete techs and found myself dumped by the wayside.

What am I doing with a trombone in my hands as an avatar and why am I involved in this Forum? I played trombone from age 10 (5th Grade). In High School my teacher told me I could possibly pursue a career as a trombonist, but I looked around and saw that being a professional musician in 1963 was a dying profession. I could eat better as an engineer. The trombone went into the closet while I was in college (no music program to speak of at Coper Union) and through the early part of my career. I'd periodically pull out the horn to play but I couldn't find an amateur group to play with. Then I got a job in New Hampshire and found Community Bands. I dusted off the trombone, bought a better one, and started playing around. Eventually I wound up busier playing I could ever imagine.

The upshot? There are probably some people who are cut out to be professional trombone players. But they are few and far between. Look at how many Forum members are full time players, compared to the number who are part time, teachers, or who work in other music related occupations.

College is a time to experiment with different possible careers as much as you can. Unlike some other societies you aren't preordained to follow a particular path.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by Finetales » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:41 am

I wanted to be an architect. It was only late in high school that I realized I could do music as a career, and once I found that out there was no other choice. I've had a questionable level of success, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by cmcslide » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:20 am

I knew pretty early on that there was nothing that I wanted to do more than play trombone. Got a conservatory degree, but I was far from the best player there. I was stubborn and resourceful- I was playing cruise ship contracts and gigs with party bands between losing symphony auditions. Never did well at those, but now I’m teaching at a small university and playing the gigs that I really want to...
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by imsevimse » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:25 am

Good reading! Interesting to hear the path we take and how it change and how we adopt.

I had no real job dreams until I was 16 then I decided I wanted to be a professional trombonist. My grandfather was my raw model and he was a musician. I took the path through a music program in high school and was offered a job as a brass teacher in the public music school at the age of 18. I did not understand how lucky I was I just grabbed it and started to teach. I was accepted as a student at "The Royal Accademy of Music" in Stockholm to study trombone and pedagogy. I began to work as a freelance musician while at the Accademy and after I graduated I continued as a teacher and freelance musician for 13 years. Unfortunately the teaching was often rather late at night so I had to turn a lot of gigs down and since the teaching was more secure I choose my students. I had a family to take care of and in time it was less gigs.

The economy in Sweden was bad in early 90ies and there was a need of decreasing the public jobs to save taxpayers money. Our public music school was the first in the country they discussed to shut down completely. To avoid that I was forced to broaden my teaching. Besides being a teacher of trumpet, trombone, french horn and tuba I also started to teach singing, music theory and new courses in "music & computers". At the time I also led one choire and three orchestras. I started to repair wind instruments belonging to the public school after one year of studying this craft at a repairshop in Stockholm. I still had some jobs as a tromboneplayer but they were getting fewer. After working like that for a while I decided I wanted a change. The job also payed bad if you compare to other jobs of similar years of education.

I bought an education to be a programmer and studied in th evenings 1996-1999. During this time I quit all playing and worked 80%. The year 2000 I started as a programmer at a IT-company. In the year 2004 we all lost our jobs there and I went to more studies for another four years at the Royal College of Science to study programming and after this (2008) I have been working as a programmer for another 12 years. During the four years of study I did very little playing of course.

After I got the current steady job my economy is not a problem and I really like this job too. I also returned to playing the trombone. I now play with many bands in Stockholm but most are "kick-start-bands". There are even fewer jobs now than it was in the 80-90ies for me, but there are a lot of opportunitirs to play in rehearsal bands. Many are great with retired professionals or people like my self who just love to play. Before Corona I lived the best of two lives as a programmer and as a trombonist. I had lots of friends there. Hope to return to that after Corona.

/Tom
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by TimBrown » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:55 am

I never wanted to "BE" anything. I never wanted to have to work a day in my life. I did, of course; hard and well until I could retire.

I never defined myself by what I did occupationally. In other words, I may have programmed computers a while, but I never told anyone that I was a "Computer Programmer". I never used the word "Chef" as a noun; always as a verb. I was never a "Chef", but I cheffed many banquets. I never told anyone that I was a Corporal in the US Army Reserve system, but I may have made mention that I served in the National Guard for 6 years and held the rank of corporal.

So if I had to pin it down as to what I wanted to "BE", it was always a carefree guy who could live well without having to lift a finger. Finally, mission accomplished.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:12 am

I wanted to be a lot of things. A musician, a philosopher, a writer, an engineer, a pilot. In the end, I kind of did all of those things except pilot. I went to music school and played professionally for about a decade. Then I became an engineer, and started writing about engineering. Writers are all philosophers in a way.

I personally don't encourage kids to aspire to performance. It's kind of a fickle thing to base a career on. My mother was a music teacher. Music education is different, but I didn't really have the temperament to be a teacher. Music performance for me, and I think for a lot of people, turns out to be a great hobby/avocation. I wanted to play what I wanted to play. I wasn't content playing what I thought was crappy music several nights a week.

First it requires that you live in a big population center. Where I live now you couldn't support yourself just playing trombone. Second, obviously lots of talent and third a lot of drive, but then fourth a lot of luck on top of that.

Just for the record, writing is another "don't do this if you can avoid it" kind of profession. People steal and give away writing constantly (as they do with music). The fact that a writer has to accumulate experience to write about, and then understand how to organize thoughts in a way other people will want to hear is totally taken for granted in our society. Unless you become a celebrity writer, of course.

Engineering/technician is a good solid job, and can be a great creative outlet. It's very satisfying to design and build useful things.

Something you can do that was a big help to me was to go to your state employment office. They probably have some sort of an aptitude and interest test. When I took that, it said I would probably do best to be: a systems analyst (1980s speak for programmer/IT guy), mechanical engineer, pilot, editor, or a bricklayer. Take these tests seriously. I loved to work on bicycles, and drawing different kinds of mechanisms. So I became an engineer.

Music now is a great hobby. I get to play what I choose, and I may never choose to play Eye of the Tiger or Power Of Love ever again.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by 11561man » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:33 am

Wanted to be a band director, got a degree in education in 2015, taught privately for 2 years (not in the public system), then got into FedEx in 2018. You have to put in the time to move up in the company, but it is well worth it.

Go for your passion, but don't shy away from something else that seems to work and has longevity!
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by Neo Bri » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:05 am

Wanted to be a band director. Always wanted to be a musician. I've tried some other things, but I always return to music. I mostly quit gigging to focus on teaching, which is what I always wanted to do.

It's a weird idea to think that each person has a "calling" but I always feel best, happiest, and most useful teaching.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by BurckhardtS » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:24 am

I wanted to be a band director before I decided I wanted to pursue performing while I'm still young. At this rate, I may go back and get my teaching cert, but I'd prefer not to. I wasn't a fan of classroom management and working with students who really didn't want to be there.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by Arrowhead » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:10 pm

I wanted to be a chef, mostly because of watching Jack Tripper from Three's Company.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by RustBeltBass » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:00 pm

1. Professional bass trombonist
2. Yes
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by timothy42b » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:49 am

I’m curious to see what everyone wanted to be when they grew up and if they’re actually doing that.
How does anyone young know what they want to be?

When my children were in school I had a rule: they must take all available math classes, regardless what they were interested in. I explained to them they might not want to do anything technical now, but if they didn't take math they lost the flexibility to change their mind. I also made them take two years of music lessons for the same reason. Neither uses either skill now but they're young.

In high school I assumed I would do something sciency, and started college that way. I went several different directions, worked corrections and mental health, did a masters program in clinical psychology, and 20 years later i went back to engineering school and back into sciency type work, and somewhere along the line that turned into management. Now I'm nearing retirement after almost 30 years as an engineer, and thinking hard about a new direction.

I wish I'd read Shopcraft and Range along the way.
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by shider » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:57 am

I knew from a young age that i wanted to do something with engineering because i was constantly interested in finding out how things worked. I was one of those kid who wouldn't stop asking questions :biggrin:
While i was in school I started the trombone but it never exceeded the status of a hobby ..
The last two years of my time at school we could choose "focus courses" where we had more hours of teaching a week; i chose Music and Physics, as did a whole lot of my friends.

After getting my Abitur (i believe it's comparable to finishing high school?) I went into an apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic, but i knew i didn't want to work as that... Directly after finishing my apprenticeship i took up studying mechanical engineering and I'm now employed as a mechanical engineer at a rather large german company.
Parallel to my professional career I took up conducting in our local youth orchestra, joined a regional british style brass band and am now conducting a youth band.

My job pays the bills and music fills the soul :good:
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Re: What did you want to be when you were young? Are you doing that?

Post by timothy42b » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:18 am

I had two thoughts when I last posted, and only left one. Here's the other.

My kids have a saying: "Daddy, that sounds like a first world problem."

Thinking we can choose a path, rather than just survive as best we can, is a luxury we should never take for granted. Most of the world can't do that.
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