What to Do for College?

ttf_EWadie99
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_EWadie99 » Sun May 07, 2017 4:20 pm

Next year will be my senior year of high school and I've been rethinking my plans for college and thinking about doing a double major which they are being bass trombone or trombone performance and computer engineering.  Any thoughts?  Suggestions are welcomed.
ttf_BGuttman
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:15 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Sun May 07, 2017 4:31 pm

Unless you are a real whiz at computer programming, the coursework may leave you very little time to do another major.

Most schools will let you participate in Marching Band and Concert Band even if you are not a major.  Some schools will even let you take lessons.  Wind Symphony and Orchestra may be auditioned positions, but you may be good enough to win.  Same goes for Jazz Band.
ttf_bigbassbone1
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:34 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_bigbassbone1 » Sun May 07, 2017 4:44 pm

I dont get the double degree/ double major thing.... I am assuming that whatever you choose to study at college you want to give yourself the best chance of success? I think all you are doing by enrolling in a double is taking your best focus away from both and handicapping yourself.

The people I know who have done double degrees almost %100 percent of the time turn out like this,
.they get kind of "middle of the road" marks for both of their focuses.
. They do very well but not outstanding at one and nearly fail the other.
. They drop both after a while because the work load to do well in both at once is difficult to manage.

It is super rare to see anyone do really well at both.

Its totally up to you of course but I hope you will consider choosing ONE focus to study on and give it %100 of your attention to give yourself the best chance of success in that area. If you choose your computer thing, there are plenty of avenues to play trombone outside of that on terms that will not impact your computer studies. If you choose trombone, I can say from experience you just do not want anything else getting in the way of your focus, you are in constant competition with other trombone players, most of whom will have more practice hours available than you because they will not be trying to fit practice around a computer degree.
ttf_Gabe Langfur
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Gabe Langfur » Sun May 07, 2017 5:20 pm

I resist the idea that everybody should focus completely on one thing when they are as young as possible. If you love playing, go for it. Take lessons, play in the best ensembles you can - youth orchestra, jazz, whatever - and talk with your teacher about what schools would be good for the level you're at by the time you would be auditioning. If you love working with computers, keep doing that too.

If, by the time you are submitting your college applications, you still think you might like to do both, apply to schools where it's possible.

At some point you will probably decide where to put more of your energies. I see no reason to rush that decision.

I know people with multiple trombone degrees who are working with computers, and I know people with undergrad degrees in other things who are great professional musicians.
ttf_MTbassbone
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_MTbassbone » Sun May 07, 2017 6:44 pm

I am will Gabe on this one.  Don't rush it.  You don't have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life when you are 17 or 18 (or 19, 20, 21...or even later, a lot later).  A read an article recently for which I cannot recall the source, but the basic premise was in the future people with skills will be more sought after than people college diplomas more so than today.  I have two degrees in music, and I am not currently working my field.  There is a balance.  Pat Sheridan has had some interesting thoughts on this matter recently on his Facebook page, particularly about the affordability aspect. 
ttf_harrison.t.reed
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sun May 07, 2017 7:04 pm

Just pick a school that lets you take lessons/studio as an elective course along with an ensemble as an elective. You might have to ask the trombone prof. way in advance.

If what you really want to study is the trombone, get a technical degree like programming and take the one and only class in a music degree that is actually studying the trombone (studio) as an elective. The rest of the classes in a music degree should be business and ensembles, but they aren't nearly as useful.
ttf_Burgerbob
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:59 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Burgerbob » Mon May 08, 2017 7:36 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Yesterday at 07:04 PM
If what you really want to study is the trombone, get a technical degree like programming and take the one and only class in a music degree that is actually studying the trombone (studio) as an elective. The rest of the classes in a music degree should be business and ensembles, but they aren't ...

I don't disagree that those should be classes, but the last guy I want to play with is one that doesn't know anything outside trombone... Like music history, theory, how to use their ears away from the instrument, how to arrange, compose, etc.
ttf_BGuttman
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:15 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Mon May 08, 2017 8:46 am

Quote from: Burgerbob on Today at 07:36 AMI don't disagree that those should be classes, but the last guy I want to play with is one that doesn't know anything outside trombone... Like music history, theory, how to use their ears away from the instrument, how to arrange, compose, etc.

But you don't need a class to learn a lot of that stuff.  Not all of us plan to be composers, arrangers, etc.  Some of us just want to play trombone to a decent level.  Of course if you want to make a living in music you need a lot of these skills or you won't eat.

If Wadie just wants to be a good player, he can be a good player with a day job.  Not uncommon.  Even JJ Johnson had a day job for when the gigs dried up.  Charles Kavalovsky was a PhD Physicist before he became principal Horn of the Boston Symphony.  Alexander Borodin was a professor of Chemistry in Tsarist Russia and composed in his spare time.
ttf_Exzaclee
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Mon May 08, 2017 9:59 am

You can double major and do just fine provided you manage your time well and aren't married to the idea of graduating in four years.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Mon May 08, 2017 10:02 am

Most of the best players I've ever got to perform with learned how to arrange on their own, have fantastic chops, even better ears, and don't look too far in the past for musical inspiration. You learn how to be a musician on the job, not in a book.

Quote from: Burgerbob on Today at 07:36 AMThe last guy I want to play with is one that doesn't know anything outside trombone... Like music history, theory, how to use their ears away from the instrument, how to arrange, compose, etc.

Everything you mentioned has little to do with playing in an ensemble and being a musician. You don't need any music history to be a musician -- you need to just listen and play with musicians who are better than you (see: any successful rock band). This also removes much of the need for any strenuous music theory -- the more you listen and play, the more you ignore everything in the theory books that isn't already intuitively obvious. I don't know why composing skills have anything to do with playing in a group. "I don't want to play with THAT guy. He's never composed anything!" That kind of crazy talk is just academia trying to academia itself.

The last guy I'd want to play with is a class trained monkey who knows every note to play when he takes a solo and squares the crap out of it.
ttf_W/SBTRB
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_W/SBTRB » Mon May 08, 2017 10:54 am

Here are some thoughts for you to consider:
1. At a previous institution I taught 40% of the freshman class change their majors. there were approximately 4500 students in the college.

2. More students double major than one may believe though I don't recommend it.. Students are willing to spend a 5th year and the extra money to get it done.

3. Of the high school students I have taught only two have majored something in music. One went to Shenandoah University majoring in Music Technology and a jazz minor. He is now working as a recording technician at Arizona State. The other majored in music education at Appalachian State University. He got a music teaching job in his home county a year after he graduated. All of them have performed in youth orchestras, and wind ensembles outside of their school.All make all county and all district. I have a student right now who has been in all state band and jazz band, was drum major for his high school and he is going to North Carolina State to major in engineering. He plans to play in whatever he can. I am amazed and thrilled to see the work ethic these students have.

4. Beware of the college debt problem. Realize that grades do matter and they really matter when it comes to financial aid.

Best wishes!
ttf_Matt K
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Matt K » Mon May 08, 2017 1:05 pm

QuoteOf the high school students I have taught only two have majored something in music. One went to Shenandoah University majoring in Music Technology and a jazz minor.
Oh cool! I think I went to school with him when I was there a few years ago. Small world!


As far as double majoring, its certainly better than doing two undergraduate degrees as I did!! I was in school for nearly 7 years. I did 4 of music ed and then 1 year of music performance masters. I decided to go back and get an MIS degree (sort of like CS but without some of the more advanced math, which is substituted for business).  I can wholeheartedly say that you may want to consider that as well.  But CS/Engineering -> MBA is also not uncommon.

If I were to do it again would I do it differently? Well, MIS didn't exist when I started, so its hard to say but I may recommend getting a minor instead of a major. There are a lot less requirements but you can still optionally study the interesting and useful things and you'll still likely get a great job at the end of it and definitely still have the ability to be a great player. 
ttf_discus nerd
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:01 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_discus nerd » Wed May 10, 2017 3:23 am

Do not major/minor in music.  Major in computer engineering. As an undergraduate, play in as many ensembles as possible and if the spirit moves you, study with a teacher that you respect. Then, after you graduate, get a good job and play in the same groups as the poor starving music education or worse yet performance majors.  Image
ttf_Burgerbob
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:59 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Burgerbob » Wed May 10, 2017 12:21 pm

Whoa! Ok. You guys win. Studying music is useless.
ttf_timothy42b
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:57 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_timothy42b » Wed May 10, 2017 12:40 pm

Quote from: Burgerbob on May 10, 2017, 12:21PMWhoa! Ok. You guys win. Studying music is useless.

Years ago I had a conversation with somebody in the Chicago Symphony organization.  I'm not sure what he did, something to do with running the business end I think.  He told some good stories, coming up on juries and realizing he hadn't touched the horn all year and needing to get chops quick, etc. 

Anyway, he seemed a smart and successful guy - dressed well and bought all of us dinner.  <g>  He advised anyone who wanted a performance job NOT to go to a conservatory and study music.  Instead, move to a city with a major symphony and a good university.  Take lessons from the symphony pro, and get a much more rounded education in some other major from the university.  You'd end up just as skilled a player but with a much less narrow education and better outlook.  I never heard if anybody took his advice, none of us at the table had performance aspirations at the time. 
ttf_BGuttman
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:15 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Wed May 10, 2017 12:43 pm

Quote from: Burgerbob on May 10, 2017, 12:21PMWhoa! Ok. You guys win. Studying music is useless.

It's just that studying music is entering a VERY competitive field.  I keep telling people that to succeed in the Music Biz you have to want to play more than you want to eat.  It has to be a compulsion.  If you can't think of doing anything other than music, by all means study it.  But we have too many kids who think that becoming a trombone player is like becoming an automobile mechanic and all you need to do is start applying for jobs.  That industry doesn't work that way; hasn't for about 50 years.  Most of the traditional avenues for musicians to get a regular paying job have evaporated.  There are 1000 qualified players coming out of schools for each open position.  If you are one of the best of the best, of course you should go.

Another thing: lots of musicians don't graduate from conservatory -- they find jobs through networking connections.  It's amazing how few Berklee entrants leave with diplomas; the joke on campus is that if you graduated you weren't good enough to get a gig.  I think that's a bit extreme but there's probably a germ of truth in there.
ttf_Burgerbob
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:59 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Burgerbob » Wed May 10, 2017 1:07 pm

I'm not arguing that music is not a difficult and low paying business. It is. I am living in LA, playing and teaching as I finish up my master's degree.

But if you feel that music if your thing? Don't compromise.
ttf_Bimmerman
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Bimmerman » Wed May 10, 2017 1:22 pm

I have no input on studying music at college, as I didn't. I didn't play at all between senior year of high school and first year of grad school, where a machining class reinvigorated my desire to play (aka...let's make mouthpieces, how hard can it be? Turns out, hard)

Through playing in ensembles in grad school and freelancing a minor amount at the same time, I met quite a few folks with interesting backgrounds. One, an engineering manager at Apple, got most of the way through a trumpet performance degree before switching to CS, and he has had a very well paying and enjoyable career from the sounds of things. He still freelances a ton and plays at a very high level, but he does it more for fun than the money.

I don't think double majoring is a great idea unless there is significant overlap in the programs (i.e. use Trombone major classwork as electives for CS and vice/versa). The only "trivial" double majors I know of are friends who double majored in computer science and computer engineering, or computer engineering and electrical engineering, or Aerospace & Mechanical eng-- point here is these are pretty complementary majors with only a few select course differences at the basic undergrad level. Specializations for these really don't crop up until senior/grad school. That's not to say you can't double major between arts&science and music and engineering colleges, just that the overlap is less so your workload will be greater.

I would look into a minor or certificate program in one of the two fields, either Music or CS, as a way to study the useful parts of both.

Don't get into engineering for the money. The money's good, no doubt, but if you aren't enjoying it (and, by extension, enjoy applying math and physics to problems) and are driven to succeed at it you will hate it. Flip side's true for music. I found I was burnt out at the end of high school, and didn't want to consider it as a job, just a hobby. I've been happy with that decision, you might not be.

Another thing to keep in mind for any engineering program: if you don't seek out and excel at multiple internships by the time you graduate, you will have difficulty finding a job. This takes up valuable time, both because you will be working a job and because to get the internship you have to kill it in your studies. The end result is that something has to give, as there are only so many hours in the day.
ttf_tbathras
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:57 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_tbathras » Wed May 10, 2017 1:35 pm

I will share with you my own experience.  I'm not offering advice, just a narrative on how I got where I am.

I, like you, was very active musically in HS - literally in every band and chorus the school offered.  I loved playing, but it never occurred to me to try to do it as a profession.  My other passion was computer technology; that's what I went to school for.

I play for the 1st semester of my freshman year at university - then stopped because the music classes were too little credit with relation to the amount of time spent.  I had to focus on my major.  I continued to not play for over 12 years.  I restarted in 2013. I don't know how I went that long without playing.

I am now working hard to catch up to my peers who have been playing the whole time.  I'm getting there, but it is a lot of work.  But, I have a very good paying job in a big field.  I also work from home - I sit next to my horn all day and can practice whenever I want (in short bursts).

What would I have done differently?  Well, if I had know about community bands, I hope I would have had the brains to join one back then to stay active.  We have a couple groups in this area that, though they are "community", they play at a high level.

What am I glad of?  I play for the fun of it and put the food on the table with my computer job.  Getting paid  to play, for me, is just a bonus (and can even make playing more stressful in some ways).

Am I as good a top level pro?  Nope; I don't have anywhere near that many hours on the horn.  Am I good enough to play the music I like with the groups I like at a high level?  It would seem so, but sometimes I feel like I'm just hanging on.

I also look back and wonder how cool it might have been to have gone the music major route and play trombone/teach/whatever for a living.  It seems tantalizing sometimes.
ttf_hyperbolica
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_hyperbolica » Wed May 10, 2017 1:50 pm

I studied music, then went to the Navy as a musician (which I could have done without any college at all). Then I took some aptitude and interest tests, and that turned my life around. I went back to school for engineering. Today I play where I want to, and I never have to sleep on a friend's couch unless I want to relive the bad old days.

Your likelihood of "making it" in music, whatever that means, is pretty low, regardless of who you are. Your likelihood of making a pretty good living as a medical technician (for example) are pretty good. Your state employment agency, and maybe your school, will have some aptitude and interest tests that you can take for free. Do that. It is important to do something you enjoy as well as something you're good at.

My test told me I could be a bricklayer, a systems engineer, a pilot, or an editor. Today I'm an engineer that writes, so that test 27 years ago nailed it. I also play trombone for fun, and unlike most of my friends who stuck with music, I make a decent wage. Musicians one of the most over-educated, underpaid groups of professionals you can find because there are so many people who will sacrifice everything to do it, you don't have to pay them much. And the number of people who wash out is high. For me, the 6 years I spent as a musician were fun, but it was a diversion, it wasn't a career. I wouldn't say it wasn't worth it, and I do remember the time fondly, but I wouldn't recommend it as a way of life. It's like the Peace Corps, or the military.

If I could go back and do things again, I'd do what others have recommended for you. Take that aptitude and interest test, then go to a school that lets you major in engineering (or whatever), and minor in music.

Best of luck.
ttf_Bimmerman
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Bimmerman » Wed May 10, 2017 2:16 pm

Another thing to note is it's never too late to go back to school, debt load notwithstanding. One of the brightest engineers I met in undergrad originally went to school for a communications degree, graduated and worked for most of a decade, then went back to school for engineering BS/MS at 30.

What you start studying at 18 will not determine your life and career trajectory, unless you let it.

I will say that regardless of what you study, do NOT take on a heavy debt load. Go to the school that gives you the most scholarship or financial aid money or is in-state. There's nothing worse than graduating at 22, with $140k of debt at 8% interest, and no ability to realistically ever pay it off. I know a number of people who are utterly crippled by college debt, well into their 30s, without a paying professional degree (JD, MD) to show for it. Hell, do whatever you can to limit your college debt load-- work during school, do internships, go to the best in-state school, apply for any scholarship you can find.
ttf_Gabe Langfur
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Gabe Langfur » Wed May 10, 2017 3:41 pm

Please nobody take this the wrong way...everybody is giving advice based on their life experiences, and that's valuable.

Most of the people on forums like this are hobbyists, some hobbyists who get paid to play but don't depend on it for their livelihood. There are not a lot of working professional musicians here. You are getting a highly biased consensus of opinion here.

I am a working professional musician, and I'm here to tell you it's not that bleak. If you go the route I did, you will have to work non-playing jobs in addition, maybe for a long time. But it's possible to do, and it's possible to be happy doing it.
ttf_EWadie99
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_EWadie99 » Wed May 10, 2017 4:17 pm

FWIW, I am in my school's top ensembles which are Jazz Ensemble and Wind Ensemble and have the bass trombone spot in both and I haven't played tenor since ninth grade (not including marching band.)  I did struggle during my first years of high school and currently have a 2.59 GPA and have some advanced classes I math and science. I'm currently taking Foundations of Calculus and Honors Physics and will take AP Calculus BC and AP Computer Science A next year.  I also found out that my SAT score was a 910 which in Math I got a 590 (above the benchmark) and in Reading, Writing, etc. I got a 320 (below the benchmark.)  I've been looking into different universities/colleges like Oakland, Wayne State, Central Michigan, Michigan State, etc. and haven't thought of where would be best, but I'll think of something.   
ttf_BGuttman
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:15 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Wed May 10, 2017 4:44 pm

Colleges will overlook SAT scores for Arts majors if you have a stellar audition.

In my Engineering class, we had guys with 800 Math SAT scores and 350 English SAT scores (mine were more balanced at 734 and 640).  You don't need great English scores to major in a STEM subject (nor will you have to pass an audition)

From my experience, courses with Labs (Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science) will have a larger hour load for the same credits than courses that are all lecture.  Music is even worse -- you have a lot of ensembles you have to be part of that may not even contribute credits but require hours.  Also, practice time is extra.
ttf_Bimmerman
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Bimmerman » Wed May 10, 2017 4:48 pm

Quote from: BGuttman on May 10, 2017, 04:44PMFrom my experience, courses with Labs (Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science) will have a larger hour load for the same credits than courses that are all lecture.  Music is even worse -- you have a lot of ensembles you have to be part of that may not even contribute credits but require hours.  Also, practice time is extra.

On the flip side, Orchestra has always been great as extra study time. While the Conductor is doing something with the woodwinds or strings, the lower brass is usually studying or browsing the internet on their phones, if we would get called in at all. It's not hugely productive study time since you are there to play music first, but you can make use of the downtime.
ttf_MTbassbone
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_MTbassbone » Wed May 10, 2017 5:18 pm

Gabe has talked about working non-music jobs that he still enjoyed.  A person I went to school with picked up the locksmithing trade.  Now they freelance as much as they want, and essentially freelance as a locksmith as much as they need to supplement their income.  They are very happy.  My point is developing a trade could be a very lucrative endeavor that would make you much more financially secure and diversify your income stream. 
ttf_discus nerd
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:01 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_discus nerd » Thu May 11, 2017 3:07 am

Quote from: Burgerbob on May 10, 2017, 12:21PMWhoa! Ok. You guys win. Studying music is useless.
Far from useless. I am trying to give advise that will allow a person to have the best of both worlds. A good paying steady job and a good playing career. I make good money with a math teaching position and play everyday and gig when called.
ttf_Exzaclee
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Thu May 11, 2017 6:24 am

I teach at a school in Oklahoma that is fairly cheap (tuition hikes notwithstanding) and produces a lot of teachers and professional musicians. I've had more than a handful of students who double majored - usually one of the "soft" majors like accounting (I only call that a soft major because it doesn't require the same amount of after school hours a music degree requires.) The students who get really serious about music will often drop the double major or just take those classes in the summer.

Pretty much every serious performance track student will take more than 4 years (my performance degree (B.M.) took 12 semesters - I took over a decade off to hit the road, play cruise ships, write and meet girls).  The extra ensemble and private lesson time is a huge help for someone wanting to get a road gig or re-locate to a bigger city after school. All of the professors in our jazz department have extensive performance resumés (and no doctorates!) and work with you to develop the skills you need so you don't get fired. Sometimes students leave before they get their paper. We encourage that if the situation is right: school will always be here when you get tired of the road, or NYC, the ocean, or wherever you go. If a student isn't quite ready we'll let them know what areas of their playing need work and do our best to help develop those areas. We have alumni from NYC to LA and everywhere in between who are playing or have played with heavyweights and who are always free with their time and resources when it comes to helping out young musicians. I don't think any of them would say that their education was a waste. I think all of them value the connections they made here. I know I value them! This place is like the center of a huge web of resources. I would estimate that at least 85-90% of the work I've had over the last 20 years was connected in some way to the connections I made in school.

Many of our education students graduate in 4 or 5 years depending on whether they take summer classes or not. Some will stick around a little longer to play in the bands and take extra courses. As hard as a performance degree is, the education degree is really much more work - I don't recommend it as a double major unless you know you're going to be here at least 6 years and/or can test out of a lot of required basic classes. An ed degree is really a double major anyway - you still have to do many of the performance requirements plus all of the education classes. I will say this about our program: I don't think there are many schools that prepare their students for the classroom like ours - particularly not in Oklahoma. The guy who runs the music ed at UCO is a former school teacher and a great musician (and trombonist) - and better yet he doesn't have a PHd so he actually focuses on practical matters like keeping a classroom full of middle schoolers engaged and securing funding for your program and doesn't waste your time with some published theory about classroom management written by a doctor with less then 2 years actual classroom experience. Many schools don't prepare their students the way we do, some don't even require a semester of student teaching. We place them with band directors who will get them working right away. We even sent them out to start up a program at a school that had to cut their band due to budget cuts a few years back. Our students graduate ready to go.

In Oklahoma, education has absorbed 53% of the state budget cuts over the last few years. Our school is a "small" regional university without much in the way of funding so we feel this hit more than large schools like OU and OSU. The faculty and students I get to work with just shrug this off, roll up their sleeves and get to work. I don't think any of them would suggest that school is useless, or that majoring in music is worthless.

If you love it, if you don't give up easy, if you want it, then do it.
ttf_timothy42b
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:57 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_timothy42b » Thu May 11, 2017 7:16 am

Quote from: MTbassbone on May 10, 2017, 05:18PMGabe has talked about working non-music jobs that he still enjoyed.  A person I went to school with picked up the locksmithing trade. 
Everyone here, but especially every young person, should read:
https://www.amazon.com/Shop-Class-Soulc ... B00273BHPU

Shop Class as Soul Craft:  An Inquiry into the Value of Work.  by Matthew Crawford.  It's available at your local library.  If I were advising students regularly I would have several copies on my shelf. 
ttf_Matt K
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Matt K » Thu May 11, 2017 7:26 am

I don't think anybody suggested studying music wasn't worthwhile. This is a little different than other questions from people asking if they should major in music but rather should one double major in music.  In the case of "should" major it boils down to whether or not they are ready and dedicated enough to really give it a go because its obviously rather competitive but still possible --- or if they should double major or major in something else.  OP is already at that 2nd stage where they want to either double or major in something else but still play.  And in that circumstance I think to some degree (pun intended) it takes away from some musical opportunities because there are only 24 hours in a day. 

A person making a career out of music does need to know at least the basics of set theory, shenkerian analysis, and some of the more edge cases of stuff from the theory & history classes if for no other reason than they themselves might have to teach or research those subjects.

A person who is an Engineer is not likely to use those skills, but not majoring doesn't restrict them from that study if they find it edifying.  However, I will say that there is just about a 0% chance I will use the stuff I learned in the 4th levels of my theory classes ever again.  I do have a deep appreciation for what came out of the Second Viennese School but I won't be writing it, I won't be teaching it, and I'm not particularly likely to be analyzing it in my spare time.   That does not mean that the music is not valuable, but from someone who wants to play I suggest that the time is better spent playing - practicing, lessons, other ensembles, etc.  In the schools I've attended, minoring gives you all of those opportunities without the coursework that is dedicated to getting you ready to study music at the masters level.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Thu May 11, 2017 7:47 am

That was my thought. If your logic is, "maybe a double major will save me if I can't make it in music", you're already likely less committed to something that takes 100% commitment than you need to be.

I think majoring in music performance in the current climate, unless you're at one of the premiere schools, is already dubious. It's not entirely crazy, but it is dubious. Double majoring is beyond that, especially since most music majors take more than four years to complete their degree with only one major. Student debt is crippling, and music doesn't pay all that well. Most of the professors on here might be forgetting that tuition and fees are up 10000000% from when they attended school.
ttf_Gabe Langfur
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Gabe Langfur » Thu May 11, 2017 8:06 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on May 11, 2017, 07:47AMMost of the professors on here might be forgetting that tuition and fees are up 10000000% from when they attended school.

It's true that the costs of school have outpaced inflation. It's also true that it's still possible to get huge portions of it paid for by scholarship.

My wife and I had huge student loan debt by any measure. We were finally able to pay it off with home equity.

I say don't let finances dictate every life decision. Do what you love at the highest level you possibly can, and with determination and some luck you will eventually be paid to do it. I know it sounds pie-in-the-sky, but it's how I'm living my life, in which I now have a reasonable income and great standard of living doing what I love every day.
ttf_Gabe Langfur
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Gabe Langfur » Thu May 11, 2017 8:10 am

I'll add another thing: I teach at Boston University, a very expensive private university, particularly for undergrads. We've had four undergrad trombonists graduate in the last two years, and all of them are going on to great grad school situations with all tuition paid plus stipends.
ttf_Exzaclee
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Fri May 12, 2017 6:49 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on May 11, 2017, 07:47AMThat was my thought. If your logic is, "maybe a double major will save me if I can't make it in music", you're already likely less committed to something that takes 100% commitment than you need to be.
Most of the guys who were double majoring when I was back in school (I graduated 4 years ago) were doing it so they could get a day gig when they went to New York. That's not a lack of commitment, that's practicality. Do you know what a closet in Brooklyn costs now?

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on May 11, 2017, 07:47AMI think majoring in music performance in the current climate, unless you're at one of the premiere schools, is already dubious.
That's ********. like I said, we produce plenty of musicians that are out and doing it. Most of those that hit the road (or NYC) are performance majors. My B.M. degree is a performance degree. What exactly is dubious about a performance degree at a "non-premier" school? Why would that same degree from Eastman be less dubious? I'm not following your logic here.

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on May 11, 2017, 07:47AMStudent debt is crippling, and music doesn't pay all that well. Most of the professors on here might be forgetting that tuition and fees are up 10000000% from when they attended school.
Uh, again I graduated 4 years ago. And I don't think any of us have forgotten how much tuition costs... I deal with that everytime I recruit, everytime I recommend someone for a scholarship, and everytime I take out a loan at the bank so I can loan some bread to someone who may be having financial issues.

I got two degrees from UCO. I also had scholarships and only paid about $700 all told for both. I worked and gigged to pay my bills. The average music student that attends UCO uses loans mostly for rent/books/food etc. because all of the band ensembles (wind ensemble/jazz ensemble/marching band) pay scholarship money. Most of our music students are pretty sharp academically (I would guess we probably get more kids from the top 10% of their class than the other colleges at UCO) and get academic scholarships as well. I would estimate the average student loan debt after graduating UCO for most of our music students is about 20-25K. And like I said, it's still possible to graduate without any debt, like I did. I was poor when I graduated high school, that's why I chose UCO over one of those "premier" schools. The name of the school doesn't mean anything - it's the people you study with.

If I'd have attended one of those "premier" institutions for my undergrad I'd have had well over $140K in debt. I made all the UNT/Eastman/Juliard/USC/MSM/Berklee connections I needed on the road.

A few years ago (2011) I was auditioning for Masters programs, I ultimately decided to stay in OK for family reasons. The scholarship offers I got from some of those premier schools were mind boggling - I wish that money had been there 24 years ago when I was auditioning for my B.M. One semester of one of those offers would've paid for 4 years at UCO and left over enough for a new Shires (or two.) The more expensive the school, the larger the scholarship offer. It ain't like med school/law school where you have no choice but to commit to a ridiculous amount of debt.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Fri May 12, 2017 7:25 am

So, Exzaclee, a couple things. First of all, you brought up academics -- the OP has had many topics that he's started to discuss his less than stellar academic performance. I'm not bagging on that, it's what he's said about himself. So all the stuff about top 10% of the class stuff doesn't apply to this topic.

Another thing, I may make the job prospects for music seem bleak, but your version is far too optimistic. Of course a music teacher will make it seem like pots of gold and rainbows. If you could tell me with a straight face that the thousands and thousands of music grads that are produced each year are gigging in NYC and holding down a day job, I'd be impressed. If you could tell me that even 5% are doing that with a straight face, I'd still be impressed. Of course great musicians can get gigs. You've gotta be kidding if you think more than 20% of the kids studying music are that great. I say that because, even if you know a few cats making it in NYC, what percent of the music degree student body do they represent? 2%? 4%? That's really bad odds to be giving out advice on. Even if 30% of the music grads were rocking out and earning a living from mostly playing, you could still say "there's a 70% chance that you will not make a living performing".

I brought up the premiere schools because they have much smaller class sizes and much higher standards. Most of the students in those programs are great musicians.

In any case, I could rephrase one thing I said. ALL prospects of jobs in music and music degrees are dubious. It's not a technical degree. It's like a degree in English. Of course industrious students will be successful, but for this particular topic that was started, I think the people urging the OP to pursue a technical degree are correct.
ttf_Exzaclee
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Fri May 12, 2017 7:45 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Yesterday at 07:25 AMSo, Exzaclee, a couple things. First of all, you brought up academics -- the OP has had many topics that he's started to discuss his less than stellar academic performance. I'm not bagging on that, it's what he's said about himself. So all the stuff about top 10% of the class stuff doesn't apply to this topic.
That's was more of a general comment, but yeah, it does apply to this topic. I noticed you failed to mention the music scholarships (which would pay for 2/3 of the tuition in many cases - 100% of tuition in my case.) The illustration was to show that scholarships are available. Academic scholarships aren't even the biggest ones. There's a ton.

You also seem to have forgotten that earlier I specifically mentioned getting a double major was do-able. You totally forgot to bring that up but that all relates to this topic as well.

As far as being too optimistic? I've posted on here several times about the time and dedication it takes to be a professional musician. You think I'm just here selling the program? I don't have to sell this program, it sells itself. I think you'll find similar schools have similar success stories. I never claimed that all of our performance majors get gigs - just that most of the ones i hung out with did. There's a few of my classmates that went into different fields after they got tired of the grind of being a musician. Frankly, I know more law school grads not doing law than i know music grads not doing music. Getting a job in a symphony is difficult. Carving out a job as a freelancer paying all your bills is difficult. Those aren't the only two options.

ttf_Matt K
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Matt K » Fri May 12, 2017 8:25 am

In this context, the double majoring may bring additional scholarship opportunities, which would be good. ---Disclaimer: This next part assumes as my last post does that the Engineering is taking a front seat to the music and the desire is an Engineering job after undergraduate is what is desired.  (I know several people who have gone through that path recently).  However, if double majoring causes one to need to spend extra time in the school or otherwise be unable to do an internship during school then it may actually have a negative overall result, at least fiscally speaking.

Even if you have to pay out of pocket for a state school, if you're a US Citizen you can get 100% of those loans at a lower interest rate.  The average starting salary for engineering, depending on field, is ca $60k.  Getting through school in 4 years, even if you take on $100k in debt, will still net more money than getting a scholarship and staying for an extra year.  And, of course, you can also get scholarships for Engineering as well as work study.  Depending on your state, that figure is much, much lower. (WV in state is ca $8k / yr = only $24k + living expenses for 4 years).  So an extra year of school can cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $46k net loss + whatever residual value of experience you would pick up. If less than 100% of the schooling is paid for with scholarships, that number clibs, obviously. (If you pay for it out of pocket, its ca. $24k 'loss' + $60k loss for each year not in the work force + residual value of experience lost).

Similarly, if you have a second major you're picking up extra coursework that - even if you can fit it all in - may detract from your ability to get an internship, which isn't a necessity per se but greatly helps full time job prospects after graduation. (And may even lead to full time employment as it did in my case).

Which is not to say that majoring in music is not worth it, but you can get a great deal of value from the music school without majoring in it. At least you could at the school I went to, where non-majors participated in just about every ensemble that existed (minus some of the chamber groups just because of numbers), took lessons for "major" credit, and weren't restricted from any music class that they had the necessary prerequisites for. 
ttf_savio
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_savio » Fri May 12, 2017 1:01 pm

Quote from: Gabe Langfur on May 07, 2017, 05:20PMI resist the idea that everybody should focus completely on one thing when they are as young as possible. If you love playing, go for it. Take lessons, play in the best ensembles you can - youth orchestra, jazz, whatever - and talk with your teacher about what schools would be good for the level you're at by the time you would be auditioning. If you love working with computers, keep doing that too.

If, by the time you are submitting your college applications, you still think you might like to do both, apply to schools where it's possible.

At some point you will probably decide where to put more of your energies. I see no reason to rush that decision.

I know people with multiple trombone degrees who are working with computers, and I know people with undergrad degrees in other things who are great professional musicians.

 Image

Leif
ttf_sonicsilver
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:57 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_sonicsilver » Fri May 26, 2017 1:26 am

Lots of interesting advice above, particularly from Harrison, Zach and Gabe. Three different musical careers and naturally three different perspectives.

The course I wish I'd done is Composition for Media or Digital Composition for Screen or some such similar title. These degrees didn't exist when I was college aged. You had a choice of classical performance at a conservatory place, classical academic at a university or maybe a jazz course somewhere.

To the OP, there is plenty of scope to combine music and computing in a degree course these days in some kind of music technology or sound engineering course. Would that be of interest?
ttf_EWadie99
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_EWadie99 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:36 pm

Well, just thought I do a little update; my GPA increased to a 2.65 which isn't too bad and the last quarter I got 3 A's and 3 C's.  I narrowed down my choices to four universities which are: Oakland University, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, or Central Michigan University.  I'm still unsure on what to major in but I'll think about it more in the near future.     
ttf_Exzaclee
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:44 pm

Good job Ethan!

Keep grinding at it, you seem driven. That's what your teachers want.

That's what I look for - we don't necessarily look for the best musician on a particular instrument, we look for the hardest worker.

As far as majors, take your time. You might find that majoring in something else suits you better. You might find that you can't do anything but music.

Follow your path. You'll be alright.
ttf_anonymous
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:09 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:06 am

Ethan,
I think Gabe and Bruce are spot on, respectively, in their suggestions. Explore in your youth...embrace the whole you, not just the musician part. And yes, most of the top (public, at least) Universities are not going to ignore a very talented, non-music major instrumentalist in filling a seat in their best ensembles. Nowadays, I hear that "some" of the colleges are using a "curtain" (similar to the pros) at least for the initial on-site placement audition. I could be wrong about this last point.
Now, How about MINORING in music?   

I remember fondly, more so now that he is gone and I get up in years, Frank Crisafulli offering some advice about music as I entered college. (Ed Kleinhammer pretty much echoed the same advice later on.) I was going to major in accounting at the University of Illinois, but the business college at that time did not offer a minor. Frank said "Good, stick with accounting." After I gave him a startled glance, he chuckled, "No, this is not about your ability, it is about some security." Long story short: I ended up majoring in Business Operation Research, a weak Industrial Engineering degree of sorts. I was placed in Harry Begian's top band as his principal bass trombone as a sophomore business major and was tapped for the University's Pit Orchestra. I do recall...and this is way back...that John Daly, former principal at the Denver (now Colorado) symphony was a Psychology major. More recently, I believe he got his PhD in Finance and launched a second career as a business professor.     

I would be interested in other viewpoints here on the forum, but I would venture that the larger public schools (e.g. Indiana U, IU of Michigan, U of Illinois; there are probably a lot of other schools, large and small) might provide more flexibility for non-major instrumentalists whereas the private academies such as Eastman, Cleveland Institute, Julliard, etc. would largely require a music commitment at the point of undergraduate admission.

What I do think is still very important (still now)is the reputation of the trombone teacher(s), at least in presenting your credentials to qualify for an initial professional audition down the line. Realistically, there has to be some screening out, or appropriately "screening in" of candidates, the orchestra committee can not simply hear 500 players. I continued to go to Evanston, IL for lessons, as the Illinois professor was not a fit for me at the time.     

Keep in mind, my now ancient observations pertain to my experiences in the Symphony side of the profession.
ttf_John Thomas
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:33 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_John Thomas » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:04 am

Ethan,

I am going to give you another school to consider that is in Michigan.  Western Michigan, the trombone teacher there is Steve Wolfinbarger.  He is a great teacher.
ttf_EWadie99
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_EWadie99 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:10 pm

Quote from: John Thomas on Yesterday at 10:04 AMEthan,

I am going to give you another school to consider that is in Michigan.  Western Michigan, the trombone teacher there is Steve Wolfinbarger.  He is a great teacher.
Well, I would but my dad is a chip (he's currently taking online classes on Central Michigan University) which they have a huge rivalry, so not sure how that will turn out for his reaction, but I'll see if I can look into it.

As for major, I think I'll do bass trombone performance since I love playing bass trombone in the bands I'm in.  Or computer engineering which I'm taking AP Computer Science A and MS Office next year. 

 
ttf_djdekok
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:59 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_djdekok » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:13 pm

Quote from: EWadie99 on Yesterday at 12:10 PMWell, I would but my dad is a chip (he's currently taking online classes on Central Michigan University) which they have a huge rivalry, so not sure how that will turn out for his reaction, but I'll see if I can look into it.

As for major, I think I'll do bass trombone performance since I love playing bass trombone in the bands I'm in.  Or computer engineering which I'm taking AP Computer Science A and MS Office next year. 

 

I'm a WMU and U-M graduate. You wouldn't go wrong at any of the schools you mentioned earlier. People in Michigan (I'm born and raised there) tend to think of WMU and CMU as teacher colleges, which is what they started out to be, but in my estimation most all of the state schools that offer a music major (I don't think Lake Superior SU or Michigan Tech offers it) have solid music programs.  I don't know about CMU's engineering programs but WMU's are solid.

Wayne and CMU unfairly get short shrift, but there have been some fine teachers at both schools through the years.
WMU--well, you'll rarely hear me say a bad word about Western ('87, MM Conducting, with trombone study with Russ Brown and Steve Wolfinbarger).  The DOB at WMU, Scott Boerma, is a trombonist as well. Apply yourself here and I promise you won't regret it.
Oakland and Grand Valley, have been up-and-coming for decades.
Ava Ordman will be a demanding teacher, but you'll know your stuff by the time you leave MSU. (can't believe I said something nice about ol' Spartyland Image)

ttf_anonymous
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:09 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:23 pm

Computer Engineering? Then, Illnois and Michigan would be good calls; highly ranked...as are their music schools.  Very hard to get into those Engneering schools, but you know that already, I'm sure, To get considered for the top performance music ensembles there, more often titled Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, etc. you should just tell them that you are willing to meet the rehearsal requirements when you take an audition for placement. The course description, and thats where the rehearsal time are listed, will state that the course is normally for Music majors, but that does not preclude your acceptance into the ensemble if you are willing to do extra rehearsal time to be in them.
Wayne
ttf_Matt K
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Matt K » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:25 pm

If you want to go down tech, you may also wish to consider something out of the business school too.  The school I went to has a good MIS program (information systems) and leaves you very well rounded.  There is also now a music minor in basically the business of music... and some of the classes count towards both. So you may be able to double dip, get some credit towards the minor just by doing the major.  Something to consider at least.  We did programming in my degree, but mostly focused on applied programming without getting too much into the thickets of lower level languages. Did mostly SQL and C#.
ttf_anonymous
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:09 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:48 pm

Yes, teachers at CMU, but also performers...
I often joke about Randy Hawes (Detroit SO Bass, and now Northwestern faculty) going to the "Central Michigan Conservatory of Music." So, the observations about going to WMU, CMU, Mich. State are very, very valid with respect to dedicated teachers. A rap on many of the prestigious academies, such as Eastman, is that you are not guaranteed attention, as in time with the master performing faculty, as the enrollments are actually pretty large.
Michigan has a very fine musical tradition, from grade school up...college directors include Revelli, Begian and Carl Bjerregard, etc.
Yep. you are in a good spot geographically.
ttf_Pancitcooker
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:59 am

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_Pancitcooker » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:43 pm

"Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life."

I just completed my first year teaching music in the public school system teaching general music and band K-8. I also teach trombone and euphonium privately to 20 students and am a brass tech at a local high school. Even though I'm always working during my "off" hours.. I really don't feel like I'm working at all because I enjoy teaching music so much.

I graduated high school with a 2.5 GPA and never took lessons before college. I didn't decide until the last semester of my senior year on what I wanted to do for college. I decided on music because I thought, "Well, music is easy! It's the only thing I'm good at anyway." So.. I pursued music education. I got into a program as a "pre-major" and quickly realized that music was hard and I wasn't good at trombone. I almost quit after my third year into the degree because of some poor performances I had. I decided to stick with it and graduated. Every step through the program was hard and looking back I appreciate it all. The failed auditions, the poor performances, the "pre-major" status to begin my collegiate career... it all made me into who I am today. I don't know if I was lucky.. but I personally know I worked really hard to get to teach public school, private students, and marching band.

Music is not an easy path whether it is education or performance.. but I do know that I would much rather "work" all these hours (12-14 hrs per day) and enjoy what I do than do something I don't enjoy. You have to find your passion.. and it might happen at the beginning of your collegiate career or it might not happen until later on. Do something you really enjoy and it will support you financially.

Just my two cents!
J
ttf_EWadie99
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:00 pm

What to Do for College?

Post by ttf_EWadie99 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:42 pm

UPDATE: I'll buy some AP prep books for Calculus BC and Computer Science A and will look over and study over the rest of the summer and before the AP tests.  I'm still thinking about the major but who knows, maybe I'll make the double major idea work out.  Just thought I give a little update.
Post Reply

Return to “Schools, Colleges, and Conservatories”