#1
I originally posted this on the RSD forums, but it probably has more relevance here.

Pretty much from the age of 15, I had this idea that I was going to teach Psychology.

At 19 years old I've just lost any passion I had for the subject, and right now, the mere thought of copying up my lecture notes or working on my presentation is exhausting. I'm not going to give up on my course, the rest of the time here is too much fun (especially considering I've come from a small market town where nothing happens to a moderate sized city).

Been thinking this evening, what AM I going to do in a few years time, when my stay at university is over? I want to spend a year travelling, but on the longer term, I have no idea at all. I know some people don't know what they want to do until they're middle aged, but if you have an idea in mind, than surely you're better off in that position?

Talking to one of my flatmates, she asks me "Well just think about what you like to do".

The answer was right in front of me the entire time. I've spent the better half of a weekend meticulously working on a song. Music, a real passion of mine. As an eventuality, I would love to be able to write music for a living, weather as a session musician, or in a band, or in a more compositional role, or even all three (actually, preferably all three). The whole time it's been a "dream", but at the rate I'm going it's one that will never be realised.

Here comes the problem.

Without a grasp on music theory, you are pretty much ****ed in the world of music. I am not yet at the point where I would be able to apply for a music based course. Nor do I think that my technical abilities (I play guitar) are yet at the point of going into some kind of course.

However, by the time I finish my Psychology course (2012), if I improve at a similar rate that I have been, I should be up to the right kind of standard. I've looked at this in the past (it's not a new idea, I've wanted to be a musician ever since hearing Iron Maiden's "Rock In Rio" for the first time in 2004), and something with Guitar-X School in London seems to be the most "practical" course out there.

I have thought about applying for this course after I have finished my Psychology BSc.

Maybe if anyone else is in a similar position, or has been in a similar situation? I just know that I don't want to ever end up in a job where I hate what I do.

Thanks,
Fraser
#2
Life's tough. If you can't get through a few lectures, term papers ...ect How you gonna pull off the real thing?

Something to consider......

when you get out of school and have a job, you still have a long life ahead of you. I have friends that are successful in their non music related careers, and are still successful/ competent musicians.

I find that they are happier than the guys that are 50 - 60 years old, with nothing but experience playing gigs. Gigs which are disappearing fast. They are struggling to makes end meet, and are generally not happy people.

Money isn't everything. But when you have to get it for yourself, you'll find it's actually quite a necessary thing to have, if you wanna like eat and be healthy n stuff.


That being said, music may be the right career choice for you. Just keep in mind it's statistically a tough field to make a living in....... but not impossible.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 17, 2009,
#3
I am 17 currently doing my A2 levels at college and am going to hopefully go onto a Psychology degree at University (freaky 'eh?!). XD

My suggestion is to simply go with your heart. If you really are willing to dedicate yourself to music then put yourself out there, play with other musicians, possibly join a band and learn some music theory be it by yourself or with a teacher or even doing a music course.

Make sure your gears up to scratch as well.

You've also gotta' think at what you wanna' do within music. I mean guitarists have to cover ALL aspects of music to be even considered to be session guitarists within studios. But if you have the dedication and the right way of looking at it you could go far.
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#4
It depends; quite a lot of modern musicians don't know anything about theory, they either get in through who they know or being scouted. I'm only 15 so I can't be too much help, but I am looking to pursue a career either as a record producer (which DOES require theory knowledge) or a blues guitar player, which also does. Both of these require serious investment though. I'm afraid thats all i have to say!
#5
Some kinds of creative jobs require a technical knowledge of music and some don't.

Do (generally):
-film score composer
-writing jingles and backing music for commercials
-orchestrating parts based on a demo so other musicians can come in and play them 'for real.'

Do not (generally)
-songwriter

What sorts of things do you want to write? In any case, it is not an easy path. There is WAY more competition right now than the industry can support. You'll really need to make a name for yourself with something in order to stand out over everyone else.

Producer - Right. Studios are closing down left, right and center these days. Where do you think all those experienced producers are going? And yet people somehow get it in their minds that they want to compete. Good luck to ya.

There's always gigging and teaching private lessons and stuff, but if that's not your cup of tea, you're in for a rough go. In fact, even if it IS your cup of tea, it's a hell of a go.

Here's a response I gave a while back to a very similar thread....


this from a 39-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.


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

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#6
Quote by Fraserwatt

At 19 years old I've just lost any passion I had for the subject, and right now, the mere thought of copying up my lecture notes or working on my presentation is exhausting.

But you only have to do it once, really. At least that's my opinion. I'm leaning towards going back for my masters to teach. I'm pretty much in the mentality that the first year will be rough teaching but after that it's just minor editing. Just use the slides for every year and change things if I see fit but it's all done. The only thing left is grading, which isn't that bad. Plus you get a lot of time off; great for music.

The other idea is to sign up for an intro guitar class next semester. It will give you some music theory, help you read music better, and improve your technique. Then see where you can take it from there. You may be able to change majors just like that.
#7
Quote by Physcosick
I'm pretty much in the mentality that the first year will be rough teaching but after that it's just minor editing. Just use the slides for every year and change things if I see fit but it's all done. The only thing left is grading, which isn't that bad. Plus you get a lot of time off; great for music.


Yes, your first year teaching will be the hardest. The first year of any job is the hardest.

What you describe to me, though, is all the makings of a not-so-good teacher. Using the same info year after year will have you completely out of the loop with respect to modern research inside of five years. The study of psychology has new information coming in all the time.

The advantage of teaching at the university level over the elementary/high school levels is that you don't *have* to care about how well your students learn. Truth is, though.... even at that level.... the good teachers still do care. That means modifying teaching practices and spending extra time, etc. to help those who are struggling and to reach next year's learners better than you reached this year's.

Without making these changes, you become jaded, bored, and boring. (and arguably, ineffective)

Now, whereas in university you don't have to deal with a lot of the behavioural crap you do in elementary/high school, and you don't need to spend as much time catering to the specific needs of your students, as a professor you ARE expected to be doing research on behalf of the university. You're expected to be publishing articles in academic journals. You're expected to be an academic - that is, one who contributes to the ongoing nature of the study or discipline in some way. In a field like psychology..... if you're not researching and doing your own studies.... you're dead in the water. You'll never get any kind of a tenure, and you will be passed over for opportunities, and might even be squeezed out of your job.

I really don't believe that teaching - at least if you want to be good at it, which for most of us, is a prerequisite of enjoying it - is an easy way out at any level.

I teach grade five. Thirteen years in, and I still put in a 50-hour work week on average, and through the day, I hardly have time to use the bathroom never mind eat a lunch. No, I'm not complaining, because I'm lucky enough to enjoy my work, and I recognize this as part of the 'collateral cost' of that job. I'm just pointing out that the stereotypes of teachers - at any level - are very, very dangerous to those who buy into them and find themselves staring into the jaws of an entirely different beast when it comes time to face reality.

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

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#8
Although you may identify your passion as music, this does not mean that it has to be the primary income earner for your life. It's possible to work one job and gig on the side, you just will never have a chance to make it big.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
Listen to axemanchris. He knows his stuff.

I definitely plan on keeping music as a hobby. I feel that if I were to do that as a living I would lose my passion for it. I'd rather play the music I want to play when I want to play it, while working a job that I enjoy and makes me more than enough money to just survive, so that I'll be able to have decent gear.
#10
Quote by axemanchris

What you describe to me, though, is all the makings of a not-so-good teacher. Using the same info year after year will have you completely out of the loop with respect to modern research inside of five years. The study of psychology has new information coming in all the time.

Those are the minor changes I'm talking about. I may update some definitions or add a few slides/images/graphs, etc. And as you teach more you might come up with new things you want to discuss or new methods and you'll incorporate them into future lessons or next year. But it's not like I have to do an entire school year of lesson plans each year... just have to update it each year. I don't see how that can be debated.

By the way I'd be teaching earth science/geography/physical science. My only question I have to look into is the actual future outlook for teaching the subject.
Last edited by Physcosick at Nov 17, 2009,
#11
I'd suggest you also look at different jobs in the music industry. Managing, working at labels, things like that. It may not be playing music, but you're still involved in music somehow, and if you do end up wanting to go %100 music later, you'll have your foot in the door with some people in the industry.
#12
Is there a market for music psychologists? That's kind of a half serious, half joke question... but if there is that'd be amazing.
#13
Quote by isaac_bandits

I feel that if I were to do that as a living I would lose my passion for it.


I respect your opinion, but in my opinion, I do not find any logic in that statement when I try to think about it deeply.

Quote by axemanchris


.
.
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axemanchris's long post.



Great advice as a man with experience. Thanks for that. I enjoyed reading it.


For TS -

So you know it is a tough career to make a living out of. The responses here might have scared you. But you should also know that there're hundreds of other financially successful musicians who are making millions. And there are others who ruin their whole life and going back to college for other majors. And also there's this other kind(that I'm aware of) who make enough money to live a successful life raising a family even without being workaholics, like all of my college teachers. The world is a place with negative and positive possibilities. So, back to what your flatmate said; "Well just think about what you like to do." Do want to make music your career(as your personal taste)? Will you invest the effort and the time it will consume? Would you change your mind halfway through? Do you think you can make a living out of it? These are all the questions you need to ask yourself. So, it is good to hear everyone's advice and get to know the ups and downs of the industry, but don't make them scare you away from music if that is what you want. I am 20 years old and in college following a music degree and looking forward to transfer into a university to get a bachelor's in music composition, and hopefully work into graduate work too. So, I don't have real experience in the actual music business. But the above responses have not changed even a tiny bit of my decision to make a living out of music(though I learn valuable stuff from them about the industry). So, what do you wanna do?


Good luck.
Last edited by YA89 at Nov 18, 2009,
#14
Pull the band-aid off fast or slow?

Try technology. Way back in the day I wanted to be writer/graphic designer/rock star/psychologist/English teacher/football coach/etc.

Very early in my young adult life I decided that low paying jobs with convicted felons while I orchestrated my next dream wasn't working out too well. I took a left turn into a technological career, and now I couldn't be happier since it provides well and enables my hobbies. In fact, my current band is made up of guys from work with the same mindset.

Follow technology, and you'll find money. Make money, and you'll need to work less to make ends meet and buy cooler stuff. Without having to work 60-80 hrs a week just to survive you can then spend more time creating/recording/gigging and still have enough time left over to play Legos with your kids and melt your brain on the Xbox. And if your band doesn't want to play Disturbed, then you can quit it without worrying you won't eat.

Chris, you are such an old square!
#15
Quote by cheapr2keepr

Chris, you are such an old square!


Flaming a moderator. Nice. **warned**

hehe... just kidding, of course.

I've maintained for years that nerds are the new jocks. Hey, I'm an experienced nerd, mkay?

Quote by YA89

I respect your opinion, but in my opinion, I do not find any logic in that statement when I try to think about it deeply.


I'm not sure if I appreciated advice similar to what Bandits gave either when I was 20. There is a certain amount of wisdom in doing something that you enjoy for the sake of enjoying it. There's never any pressure of "I have to do this." As soon as you get into a routine of "I have to do this," you're not doing it for you on your own terms anymore. You're doing it for someone else, often on their terms. At that point, some people start enjoying things a lot less - even resenting the fact that they now have to do it that way.

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

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#16
Bottom line is whatever you do has to pay the bills. Knowing music theory is not a means to this. I could have sworn somewhere that Paul McCartney does not know a great deal about music theory but he's not done bad for himself, love him or hate him.

If you want to be successful in the music business then study music and study business, then learn how to integrate the two together. Otherwise you'll end up like so many others working an unrelated day job waiting for that break.

Thing is that it CAN be done! Just make a plan and get as much help as you can from people who are in the know along the way.