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Old 10-07-2012, 08:07 PM   #21
ValyrianSteel
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I'm currently studying a performance degree (Bachelor of Musicianship in Guitar to be precise). I don't regret it - I've sure as hell improved at quite a pace, but will it get you work? ... Maybe?

My way of looking at it is that I've used the time I've spent studying to get as good as I can, upping practice, keeping busy with music etc. The worst thing you could do in my opinion, however, is assume that this will get you a job!

If you do it, then start thinking about your career post (and pre) graduation ASAP. I've only just started my third year but at the same time am focusing on specialising in teaching - getting work both privately and in schools and keeping an eye out for any cool sounding performance opportunities.

So my answer is... It helps! Sortof.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:42 PM   #22
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I did my honours degree in music. It got me into teachers' college, which is exactly where I wanted to be.

A degree is not a waste of time or money, depending on what you want to do with it.

What you haven't specified is what you want to make a living at music doing.

If you want to be a classical or jazz musician, a degree in performance will very likely open some doors. Canada Council arts grants and such have historically required that you have a degree in music, for instance.

Otherwise, not so much.

Lemme find a post a made a long while back about making a living in music....

Here it is....

Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
Here's a response I gave a while back to a very similar thread....

this from a 42-year old who was in your same shoes back many moons ago....

About being a musician:

I think if you have hopes of making a career in music, you'd best make that your plan. If you get a big fat record deal and get famous, then awesome. If not, you're still following the course you've planned for - to be a professional musician.

First: You have no pretenses of being a rock star. That's fine. Do you know what it's like to be a full-time musician? I mean... *really* know?

There can be really decent money in playing gigs. It's a tough road, though, full of balancing business with pleasure. Weddings and corporate gigs pay really well. You'll walk out of there with a few hundred in your pocket for only a few hours work. Problem is.... how many hours do you work in a week? Solution = hustle, hustle, hustle.... you've got to be out there pounding away to get those gigs.

Of course, weddings are generally only on weekends. If you're really, really, really lucky you can round out your week with corporate events. Problem#2 is..... you want to play Disturbed, not Neil Diamond. Solution = suck it up. Don't bite the hand that feeds. You know what side your bread is buttered on. Some people call it selling out. Professional musicians call it making a living. Smile and sing along.... "Sweeee-eeet Car-o-liiiine.... ba DA-ba-ba...." Sure, don't laugh all the way to the bank, but at least all the way to the grocery store. Geez.... that's still only a few gigs a week. Sounds sweet as a teenager, but eventually you have to take on the real world. "when you're an adult, it's no cliche.... it's the truth..." (go ahead... identify that quote... )

So how do you round it out....well.... If you go to school for music and get a classical background, you can open yourself up for solo/duo gigs outside of your wedding band for other functions, corporate events, etc. People will hire a classical guitarist for whatever. Since there's nobody to share the money with, you do okay. Of course.... still no Disturbed. You're still sucking it up playing some version of Hotel California 'by request' (or even not....) right along side your Sor, Tarrega, Dowland, etc. That gives you a couple more shows.... but you still need a 'real job' as an adult - that is, one that pays for rent/mortgage, food, car, etc.

The poverty line for a family of four in the USA (I'm not American either, but they provide a handy bench mark) is $21, 200. For an individual, it is $10 400. That's about a thousand a month... just to live above the poverty line. Another point of comparison... take an average city.... Cleveland Ohio. Rent for an average apartment seems to be about $600. Then food, phone, insurance, gas, hydro, internet, spending, etc. Yikes.

So wadda ya do? Well... you can rent yourself out to bands as a hired guy. Need a guitarist? I'm your guy! I'll do it for $XXX. Artistic freedom? Nope. Now you're totally selling your soul. More Sweet Caroline. Maybe some Shania Twain or Dwight Yokum. Maybe some Bob Seger and Tom Petty. Who knows, really? Of course, you have to be able to sit down and learn these tunes on very short notice, and know them well enough to gig on them with one rehearsal if you're lucky.

Of course, you can't always count on those. Take on a few students (remember that hustle thing?) to help round things out. So, now you're above the poverty line. You've got sporadic hours that seem to pretty reliably fill up your evenings and weekends, and see you working quite late. At least you get to sleep in. Or not. Because tomorrow you have to learn some Green Day and Blink 182 and U2 for a cover band on Friday, and you don't have all day because some kid is coming over at 4:30 for his lesson and another at 5:30, and then you have to eat and start getting ready to head out for your gigs. And then at some point, you have your OWN kids and family to work into that crazy schedule!! (of course, with the screwed up hours you keep, you may wind up being single for the rest of your natural life... "Wanna go on a date? How's Tuesday afternoon for you?"..... another career hazard!)

Still sound like fun? If it does, you have what it takes to be a professional musician. If it sounds pretty crappy, then..... keep music as a hobby. Or incorporate it into some other career path. (that's what I did....)

One thing I'll add here is that, here is what happens with pursuing a career "to fall back on" via the college route:

You meet tons of girls. You meet a girl that you like best out of all of them. (for me, it was a couple years after university, but whatevs) You finish school. Inevitably, you find yourself with a girl, a job ticket into a career, and a girl who wants to get married.... and so do you. And you have the means to make money and start enjoying things. So you take that job that you've worked hard to get.

Music really does become something that you do in your spare time. You still have to make it a priority, or else you will have no spare time in which to justify making music, and then it gets forgotten. If you make it a priority (and make sure your partner is supportive of your music), then you can make it work. Because you're not always going to have very much spare time - especially when kids come... unless you make time to do it.

I know all this seems light-years away, but it comes a heck of a lot faster than you think it will. Trust me.... I spent a few years laughing about someone who said, when I was 23, that "30 is just around the corner." And after what seemed like only a couple of years, it became eerily UNfunny.


As far as getting signed, you probably have until you're 30. But that's a whole other discussion. Session guys can go on and on to a ripe old age.

CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawk
Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:39 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
Not really. The connections you make when you study there mean wayyy more.


I;m not so sure. It is probably close to 50/50.

But if you plan to move a long distance to study and then either move back home or move on else where then the name of where you studied takes over.

Also, if you go to a big name music school, make sure every one you meet and know knows about it.


TS, this ciould be worth a read.

http://beta.musicradar.com/tuition/...uitarist-552866
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:50 AM   #24
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^^^ And then you will be known as one of the 500 people who graduated from that awesome school in that half year and just watch the money come in.

I'm sorry if I'm coming off a bit pessimistic here, but in my personal experience I haven't seen any link between success and having a formal qualification as far as music goes. In your article the second session guy doesn't mention having qualifications, and just happened to be at a party where Tears for Fears were present, and knew who he was. He'd obviously been working on connections for a while.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:16 PM   #25
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And then there's this just in:

In the United States, student loans are one of the few debts that survive bankruptcy proceedings.

So........
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:19 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
^^^ And then you will be known as one of the 500 people who graduated from that awesome school in that half year and just watch the money come in.

I'm sorry if I'm coming off a bit pessimistic here, but in my personal experience I haven't seen any link between success and having a formal qualification as far as music goes. In your article the second session guy doesn't mention having qualifications, and just happened to be at a party where Tears for Fears were present, and knew who he was. He'd obviously been working on connections for a while.


i wouldn't say that an education is worthless, though, even for a music degree. at the end of the day, connections are about luck and those interactions are easier to come about when you're out there playing shows regularly rather than being inhibited 40+ hours a week practicing and studying with a bunch of people looking for the same connections you are.

at the same time, however, most people going into music college, frankly, are probably not up-to-snuff to play session music, don't know what it entails, might fall out with music and become an astrophysicist, etc.

it's an expensive thing to take a chance on, but i'd say everyone should at least put aside a year to try uni before they plunge head-first into the "real world". even if you get through 4 years of college without a record deal or a badass band, you do have 4+ years of working your ass off that could define your habits and playing style for the rest of your life. i mean, at the end of the day, you don't go to school to get a job - you go to school to get an education, and if your focus is guitar, you'll learn the hell out of your instrument.

it's just hard to justify saying that it's worthless - it all depends on the person. you could probably use that degree and still have a one-up over most people when applying for a regular job to buy equipment and pay the bills just because you have a degree.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:32 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
I did my honours degree in music. It got me into teachers' college, which is exactly where I wanted to be.


So you're a music teacher? Cool.

I don't mean to hijack, but I need some advice too. I'm trying to combine music with another field too, but I'm kind of failing to find a good way. I already have a BS in Computer Science, and closest thing that mixes healthy amounts of music and CS is this in an MS program is:

"Music Technology"

However, it is very unlikely I'd get in, which is why despite the fact that I'm applying, I'm searching for alternatives, but whenever I search for "music technology" I only find BM or AA in music production. I'd really be more interested in an MS or MM since I already went to school for over 4 years to get a BS. I don't really enjoy CS, but it provides more job security than I think any pure music degree could, which is why I'm trying to build up on it and steering it into a more musical direction (I can still have job security, but chances of going on a more musical direction improve).

Any suggestions?
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:37 PM   #28
axemanchris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
So you're a music teacher? Cool.


Ironically, no. I got my qualifications to teach music from grade 4-13 (we still had grade 13 back then), but wound up landing in the elementary panel and found that I love it.

So, I've been teaching grade five for 14 of the past 16 years. The two years were ones where I did music, and they were the two years where I did not enjoy teaching.

CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawk
Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:06 PM   #29
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I see. I thought you said you combined music with another field and saw you said you were a teacher, so I thought you meant you were a music teacher.

Anyway, a more typical music technology program:

music technology

I'd consider getting an AA like that because I'm sure I'd learn tons of things there, and I learn better in a class-kind of setting than on my own (I struggle on my own. I'm super ADD and easily overwhelmed and lose sight of where to even begin). However, like I said, after nearly 5 years spent in that BS in CS coupled with my desire to get an MS, I have to be very careful about where/how to spend the money efficiently.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:08 AM   #30
axemanchris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
I see. I thought you said you combined music with another field and saw you said you were a teacher, so I thought you meant you were a music teacher.


My qualifications are as such, and I taught music for a few years. I just didn't enjoy it. High school level was fine enough, but elementary and middle school music was not for me.

CT
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Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawk
Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:45 AM   #31
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This is what happened to me -

Age 17, decided I want to teach electric guitar for a living.

Consider going to BIMM to get degree, do well in audition, etc.

Take gap year and work my ass off trying to get teaching work.

Around the end of the year I have enough work to barely live off, so I commit to growing my student roster and I turn down BIMM.

Now, around the start of last year I would have graduated with absolutely no work and very little experience. Instead I'm teaching full time and I'm seeing guys with degrees really struggling to get any work at all in these recessionary times - and guess what? Very few people in my business, employers or students, care if you've got a degree.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:09 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
My qualifications are as such, and I taught music for a few years. I just didn't enjoy it. High school level was fine enough, but elementary and middle school music was not for me.

CT


i remember our band director in middle school being extremely overqualified as a player, but he was 28 and purposefully directed middle school so he had the benefits of teaching while being able to essentially gig full-time. his wife did the same thing until they had their kid a few years back

high school would be great if you want to invest all your time into teaching, but middle school has a lot less paperwork, saturday rehearsal, or intrascholastic activity. depends on the person completely, though.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:01 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
My qualifications are as such, and I taught music for a few years. I just didn't enjoy it. High school level was fine enough, but elementary and middle school music was not for me.

CT


Oh cool. So what do you work on nowadays, if you don't mind me asking? Might give me some ideas.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:35 PM   #34
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Any position teaching music is incredibly hard to find. Most people just scratch by teaching privately. If you want to teach privately you will have a better chance having a degree in performance on either piano or guitar since those are the two most popular instruments in the world. But from my own personal experience getting a position in a school or university basically requires an older professor to die off or something and private music instruction has taken a serious beating the past decade due to all the free material available on the internet.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:52 PM   #35
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I want to be a musician :'(
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:25 PM   #36
axemanchris
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CryogenicHusk - I teach grade five.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
i remember our band director in middle school being extremely overqualified as a player, but he was 28 and purposefully directed middle school so he had the benefits of teaching while being able to essentially gig full-time. his wife did the same thing until they had their kid a few years back

high school would be great if you want to invest all your time into teaching, but middle school has a lot less paperwork, saturday rehearsal, or intrascholastic activity. depends on the person completely, though.


Wow. What a load of sh!t. I say this as someone who has taught both middle school and high school music.

Virtually *any* teaching position is demanding for the person who wants to do a good job at it. There is no reason why a middle-school music teacher would have any less paperwork than a high-school teacher, unless he or she is cutting corners from their paperwork. There is no reason why a middle school music teacher can't run extra-curricular bands and other performing groups. (most districts don't give teachers the keys to schools - just their classrooms - so there would be nobody to let them into the school on a weekend unless prior arrangements are made with someone who can let them in.)

A music teacher has one of the busiest jobs in a school. Sure, most marking is done on the fly, but not all of it. The expectations for extra-curricular activities are greater than anyone else, except maybe the gym teacher. This applies to middle school and high school equally.

It sounds to me like this guy was taking every easy way out he could so that he could focus on his real priority, which was gigging. If teaching is not your priority, you should not be a teacher.

CT
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Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawk
Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:33 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by axemanchris
Wow. What a load of sh!t. I say this as someone who has taught both middle school and high school music.

Virtually *any* teaching position is demanding for the person who wants to do a good job at it. There is no reason why a middle-school music teacher would have any less paperwork than a high-school teacher, unless he or she is cutting corners from their paperwork. There is no reason why a middle school music teacher can't run extra-curricular bands and other performing groups. (most districts don't give teachers the keys to schools - just their classrooms - so there would be nobody to let them into the school on a weekend unless prior arrangements are made with someone who can let them in.)


marching band

Quote:
A music teacher has one of the busiest jobs in a school. Sure, most marking is done on the fly, but not all of it. The expectations for extra-curricular activities are greater than anyone else, except maybe the gym teacher. This applies to middle school and high school equally.


other than the period for concerts and competitions, there was basically nothing to do outside of the classroom other than instrument rentals which were handled early and late in the school year because they were yearly

Quote:
It sounds to me like this guy was taking every easy way out he could so that he could focus on his real priority, which was gigging. If teaching is not your priority, you should not be a teacher.

CT


as freshmen after 3 years with him all of his students in the 1st band were in wind ensemble or symphonic band in high school, and it was perfectly doable in addition to full-time gigging, teaching private lessons, and alongside a jazz band. he was offered the position to lead the nearest high school band (that the vast majority of us headed to) but he refused because he simply made more between gigging and middle school without having to do 8 hours of marching band rehearsal a week alongside late night friday football games.

he also only had to manage beginner (6th grade) classes, a 2nd band, and a 1st band, as well as a jazz band that met once every two weeks, as opposed to 5 bands. plus, we're talking 100-200 kids as opposed to 300 "young adults".

i don't see how you could compare high school and middle school education, but we're from completely different countries, and i'd imagine yours is far more thorough and exacting than ours in terms of educational standards.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:03 AM   #38
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This whole thread is just people with no experience disagreeing with people who have experience.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:30 AM   #39
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Also note: the TS hasn't responded at all to his thread.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:40 AM   #40
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This whole thread is just people with no experience disagreeing with people who have experience.


i'm not gonna pretend i teach schools, but i did have experience as a student where a full-time musician taught capably and even at a middle school earning sweepstakes isn't something you can write off as "well he wasn't a real teacher if he gigged too and taught middle school so he'd have time for it"

again, though, different countries, different educational practices.

but really, marching band, i mean, that's like 15+ extra hours of week plus a month of school that middle school teachers don't have to do. it'd be hard to say they're the same workload.

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