#1
So, I was talking to my mom about the possible outcomes of different music degrees.

We looked at a few different schools' sites (Duquesne, Berklee, Belmont, Carnegie Mellon, to name a few).

I've pretty much decided I would like to major in music and pursue a career with it. Now I just have to look into it more to see what options I have, and if my expectations/hopes are reasonable.

The degree that most catches my interest is performance. I'm primarily a bassist, but I'm almost as good at guitar, and I also sing, play piano and play saxophone. It's pretty obvious to me that if I majored in performance it would be specialized in bass. Now my question is, what are possible career options with something like a B.M. Electric Bass Concentration? Is the general idea with a degree like this to be a session musician or something like that where you go week to week finding different gigs with different bands, or doing a whole tour with a band who hires you or something like that? That sounds like it'd be pretty cool to me (before you ask, I do know the implications that go with that, by the way), but what else is there?

Also, what are some other options? For example, what is a degree in composition or something like that like, in regards to careers?

I don't really want to major in education, although I think pursuing a position as a college professor or something along those lines could be a good option.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#2
Do a degree in music technology...its an easy course at most uni's its fun and it gives u more options. If u do a Bsc in it u can learn all about createing websites and java and all that stuff that will easily land u a job in IT or you can do a Ba which is more about the music...

Its incredibly hard to get a decent job in music...even with a degree...

Ill say that although u might think that music is ur life now...it might not seem that way in a few years time when uve got no money and bills to pay and u wish u could go back in time and take a different route.

I dont mean to sound like a downer but its incredibly competitive out there
#3
Quote by Orethor
Do a degree in music technology...its an easy course at most uni's its fun and it gives u more options. If u do a Bsc in it u can learn all about createing websites and java and all that stuff that will easily land u a job in IT or you can do a Ba which is more about the music...
I've considered music technology. It's just that IT and the more technical aspect of music tech isn't really what I'm interested. I've been considering majors like engineering, as I'm pretty good in math. I realize degrees like this are more applicable, and are sure to land me a solid career, but even so, I'm a bit reluctant.

Quote by Orethor
Its incredibly hard to get a decent job in music...even with a degree...

Ill say that although u might think that music is ur life now...it might not seem that way in a few years time when uve got no money and bills to pay and u wish u could go back in time and take a different route.

I dont mean to sound like a downer but its incredibly competitive out there
Yes, I realize this. I'm not expecting to just get a degree and live happily ever after playing music, I'm just considering my options.

What would it take/what is the possibility of landing a job with an organization, such as a church, or some sort of contract gig like that? Something constant, not like searching week to week for gigs.

I don't know exactly what to ask regarding this, but can someone discuss what a Master of Music is like? For example, what it takes to get into a Master's program, and what other options it opens.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#4
Theres a lot of articles out there on the net about getting a job as a sesion musician etc...

Ull need to be able to site read and know all ur theory...thats the easy part

the hard part is getting noticed...U need something that makes u stand out from all the other musicians and theres an awfull lot of them out there
#5
Quote by Orethor
Theres a lot of articles out there on the net about getting a job as a sesion musician etc...

Ull need to be able to site read and know all ur theory...thats the easy part
Yeah I got that down.

Quote by Orethor
the hard part is getting noticed...U need something that makes u stand out from all the other musicians and theres an awfull lot of them out there
What are some things that could make one stand out? Like, credentials or connections?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#6
Well connections yes but its the standing out that gets u connections in the first place...

how does anyone get noticed lol.

I guess it comes down to the old saying...ur only as good as ur last gig...u just gotta stick at it, staying awesome and with a bit of luck maybe
#7
Quote by Orethor
Well connections yes but its the standing out that gets u connections in the first place...

how does anyone get noticed lol.

I guess it comes down to the old saying...ur only as good as ur last gig...u just gotta stick at it, staying awesome and with a bit of luck maybe
Ah, so persistence and what not.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#8
Quote by Orethor
Theres a lot of articles out there on the net about getting a job as a sesion musician etc...

Ull need to be able to site read and know all ur theory...thats the easy part

the hard part is getting noticed...U need something that makes u stand out from all the other musicians and theres an awfull lot of them out there



Stand out in what?

If I look at for example the backup players of Miley Cyrus, they don't stand out then any other, I wouldn't even notice if she had different players in the band.

U have to stand out in knowing who to talk with, and how to come across as someone they would call.

Good looks will help I think, but standing out might even be a problem, cause it might lead attention away of the person being the front man/girl, which is what they don't want.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
The "Good Samaritan" Award 2009 (most helpful)

[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??
Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 10, 2010,
#9
Quote by xxdarrenxx
Stand out in what?

If I look at for example the backup players of Miley Cyrus, they don't stand out then any other, I wouldn't even notice if she had different players in the band.

U have to stand out in knowing who to talk with, and how to come across as someone they would call.

Good looks will help I think, but standing out might even be a problem, cause it might lead attention away of the person being the front man/girl, which is what they don't want.
Ah, that makes sense.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#10
Quote by food1010
Ah, that makes sense.



Ye,

Except for people who truly stand out, like MJ who took good guitar players, but he was a rare exception.

John Mayer also the rare exception with musicians that really have their own style, especially the drummer is seriously good.

So ye, some band look for people that truly add to their music, but they are not an awful lot in the solo man/girl + backing band.

OR it's probably a band already, what JM actually also did when he brought out an album under John Mayer Trio, instead of John Mayer.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
The "Good Samaritan" Award 2009 (most helpful)

[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??
Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 10, 2010,
#11
Quote by xxdarrenxx
John Mayer also the rare exception with musicians that really have their own style, especially the drummer is seriously good.
Yeah the guys John Mayer plays with are amazing. Steve and Pino (the JM Trio) are phenomenal. The John Mayer "band" has a lot of exceptional musicians too.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#12
Coming from someone who has a B. Mus. (honours degree)....

What kind of performance do you want to get into? Because if it is pop-based, a degree won't help you. Sure, it will make you a better player, but so will dedicated study with someone in that genre. Your four years spent getting a degree will be better spent networking and developing your chops in the genre you actually want to play.

If your goal is to perform classical or jazz, a degree opens doors for you. There are certain grants (Canada Arts Council for instance) who treat applicants with degrees on a much higher consideration than those without, so long as they are looking for grants to further their careers in classical or jazz. If I applied for a grant to go on tour with my rock band, they'd just laugh and throw my application away.

If you want to audition for an orchestra or something, then a degree helps add credibility to your application, but not as much as actually being an excellent player.

I got my degree as a requirement towards getting into Teachers' College. I love teaching, but if that's not what you want to do, then for everyone's sake, please don't.

A Masters degree is attained after your initial four-year degree (honours degree, B. Mus. as opposed to a 3-year BA in Music). Once you have your honours degree, you can apply for entrance into a Masters program. This is typically another year or two of study where, as part of it, you typically become a "published expert" of sorts. You will do a Masters thesis. A friend of mine did his masters in music criticism where he did a detailed analysis of one of Pink Floyd's albums and related it to their lyrics or something. As part of this, he actually got to interview either Gilmour or Waters. Some do theirs on things like "the use of the Neapolitan Sixth chord in works for Chamber Orchestra" for a Masters in composition, or a masters in performance for bass might see you doing something like "the evolution of German bowing practices from 1700-1900." In addition, for your masters of performance, you would surely be expected to perform a concert involving a range of challenging repertoire.

In any case, how well you do in performance has a lot to do with how well you network yourself. "Being noticed" means "being on the radar of the people who make the phone calls." Not being noticed on stage.

Solo touring musicians, whether it be the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, or Kylie Minogue or whatever get the best musicians they can within the budget they're prepared to spend. Don't kid yourself. Just because these backing bands don't come out and shred in a song doesn't mean they can't. Michael Jackson was just good enough to let Jennifer Batten do her thing from time to time - probably because he knew and appreciated that a happy employee is a dedicated employee.

A neighbour of my instructor when I was getting my degree was a guitarist for Celine Dion for a number of years. My instructor, whose credibility speaks for itself, said that this guy could wail like crazy. He just knew that, when he was playing with Celine Dion that he had his place, and did what he was expected to do. In return he got paid quite well. *That's* what they mean by getting noticed.

Kenny Aronoff is considered one of the hottest drummers in the world. He tours as a backing band guy and studio musician for the likes of John Mellencamp, Tony Iommi, the Pumpkins, Elton John, and Bon Jovi. Sure, the fans don't know who he is, so he doesn't get noticed in that respect, but the industry sure as hell knows. That's what gets him the calls and allows him to charge the dollars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Aronoff

He has a degree in music, but it's not his tympani studies that got him the gigs. It was hooking up with John Cougar Mellencamp before he was anybody that opened the door for him.

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.
#13
I don't know if I mentioned this yet, but if I did a Bachelor's in Performance it would be for bass, since that's what I'm best at. I'd still need a bit of preparing to do the audition for guitar. I have a year to improve, so it's not out of the question, but bass is more likely. I also have little to no jazz or classical experience, so I don't know how that would go. I certainly am interested in both though.

Quote by axemanchris
Coming from someone who has a B. Mus. (honours degree)....

What kind of performance do you want to get into? Because if it is pop-based, a degree won't help you. Sure, it will make you a better player, but so will dedicated study with someone in that genre. Your four years spent getting a degree will be better spent networking and developing your chops in the genre you actually want to play.
I certainly intend to do whatever it takes to just be out there making music as a living.

Quote by axemanchris
If your goal is to perform classical or jazz, a degree opens doors for you. There are certain grants (Canada Arts Council for instance) who treat applicants with degrees on a much higher consideration than those without, so long as they are looking for grants to further their careers in classical or jazz. If I applied for a grant to go on tour with my rock band, they'd just laugh and throw my application away.

If you want to audition for an orchestra or something, then a degree helps add credibility to your application, but not as much as actually being an excellent player.

I got my degree as a requirement towards getting into Teachers' College. I love teaching, but if that's not what you want to do, then for everyone's sake, please don't.
I don't intend to be come a high school/younger music director, although I would probably enjoy that job. As I said earlier, I certainly would settle for being a college professor or something like that if it's an option.

I don't teach lessons at the moment, but I'm hoping to start sometime soon teaching guitar to my neighbor. I'm a pretty patient guy and I feel like I'd be pretty qualified for private lessons and stuff like that.

Quote by axemanchris
A Masters degree is attained after your initial four-year degree (honours degree, B. Mus. as opposed to a 3-year BA in Music). Once you have your honours degree, you can apply for entrance into a Masters program. This is typically another year or two of study where, as part of it, you typically become a "published expert" of sorts. You will do a Masters thesis. A friend of mine did his masters in music criticism where he did a detailed analysis of one of Pink Floyd's albums and related it to their lyrics or something. As part of this, he actually got to interview either Gilmour or Waters. Some do theirs on things like "the use of the Neapolitan Sixth chord in works for Chamber Orchestra" for a Masters in composition, or a masters in performance for bass might see you doing something like "the evolution of German bowing practices from 1700-1900." In addition, for your masters of performance, you would surely be expected to perform a concert involving a range of challenging repertoire.

In any case, how well you do in performance has a lot to do with how well you network yourself. "Being noticed" means "being on the radar of the people who make the phone calls." Not being noticed on stage.

Solo touring musicians, whether it be the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, or Kylie Minogue or whatever get the best musicians they can within the budget they're prepared to spend. Don't kid yourself. Just because these backing bands don't come out and shred in a song doesn't mean they can't. Michael Jackson was just good enough to let Jennifer Batten do her thing from time to time - probably because he knew and appreciated that a happy employee is a dedicated employee.

A neighbour of my instructor when I was getting my degree was a guitarist for Celine Dion for a number of years. My instructor, whose credibility speaks for itself, said that this guy could wail like crazy. He just knew that, when he was playing with Celine Dion that he had his place, and did what he was expected to do. In return he got paid quite well. *That's* what they mean by getting noticed.

Kenny Aronoff is considered one of the hottest drummers in the world. He tours as a backing band guy and studio musician for the likes of John Mellencamp, Tony Iommi, the Pumpkins, Elton John, and Bon Jovi. Sure, the fans don't know who he is, so he doesn't get noticed in that respect, but the industry sure as hell knows. That's what gets him the calls and allows him to charge the dollars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Aronoff

He has a degree in music, but it's not his tympani studies that got him the gigs. It was hooking up with John Cougar Mellencamp before he was anybody that opened the door for him.

CT
Ah, so it's pretty important to have connections or be able to get them/be noticed.

I asked this earlier, but what about finding a job as a music director at a church or something like that? First of all, what kind of degree would it take and what are your opinions on a job like that?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#14
Quote by food1010
I don't know if I mentioned this yet, but if I did a Bachelor's in Performance it would be for bass, since that's what I'm best at. I'd still need a bit of preparing to do the audition for guitar. I have a year to improve, so it's not out of the question, but bass is more likely. I also have little to no jazz or classical experience, so I don't know how that would go. I certainly am interested in both though.

I certainly intend to do whatever it takes to just be out there making music as a living.

I don't intend to be come a high school/younger music director, although I would probably enjoy that job. As I said earlier, I certainly would settle for being a college professor or something like that if it's an option.

I don't teach lessons at the moment, but I'm hoping to start sometime soon teaching guitar to my neighbor. I'm a pretty patient guy and I feel like I'd be pretty qualified for private lessons and stuff like that.

Ah, so it's pretty important to have connections or be able to get them/be noticed.

I asked this earlier, but what about finding a job as a music director at a church or something like that? First of all, what kind of degree would it take and what are your opinions on a job like that?


I think you really should focus on what you want to do the most, not what you would "settle" for. If you put all your energy into what you really want the most, you'll find a way to make it happen.

IMHO, a degree in music doesn't guarantee you anything. You still need to show proof to your prospective employers by passing an audition, demonstrating your marketability, having a portfolio of your work (i.e. professional recordings, arrangements), etc. This, of course, will all depend on what your trying to do.

If you want to teach, the best way to start is by doing what you suggested. Teach anyone and everyone you can right now. You'll learn a lot just from experience.

As far as your choice of a main instrument, I think you should stick with bass if you intend to perform. You're better at it, and there is always demand for good bass players, while there always seems to be an over-abundance of guitar players out there. If you played oboe, I'd stay stick with that too for the same reasons.

Besides a university education, I would recommend Tom Hess' MCMP program. It's something you can start doing immediately, and it will definitely add to anything else you're considering.
#15
Quote by Ed Jalowiecki
I think you really should focus on what you want to do the most, not what you would "settle" for. If you put all your energy into what you really want the most, you'll find a way to make it happen.

IMHO, a degree in music doesn't guarantee you anything. You still need to show proof to your prospective employers by passing an audition, demonstrating your marketability, having a portfolio of your work (i.e. professional recordings, arrangements), etc. This, of course, will all depend on what your trying to do.
True. It certainly is a bit of a head start though, right?

Quote by Ed Jalowiecki
If you want to teach, the best way to start is by doing what you suggested. Teach anyone and everyone you can right now. You'll learn a lot just from experience.
Cool, I'll start doing that! I may not end up teaching, but it's good experience anyway, plus it'll be fun and I'll make some money.

Quote by Ed Jalowiecki
As far as your choice of a main instrument, I think you should stick with bass if you intend to perform. You're better at it, and there is always demand for good bass players, while there always seems to be an over-abundance of guitar players out there. If you played oboe, I'd stay stick with that too for the same reasons.
I figured bass would be a good bit more in demand than guitar.

Quote by Ed Jalowiecki
Besides a university education, I would recommend Tom Hess' MCMP program. It's something you can start doing immediately, and it will definitely add to anything else you're considering.
Great, I'll check that out.

Thanks for all the advice everyone! I'll be back when/if I have more questions.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea