#1
What are your thoughts on majoring in Music Composition/Theory? Do you see any benefits at all? I mean, can't you just learn it all by reading books etc. ? What does "college" have to offer in terms of the B.A?

The lecturer is just going to read what is in the book anyway? I just don't get it.
#3
I majored in that. I make more money than you. A lot more.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#4
Well I just want to know what a classroom would offer that a book does not?
#5
Regardless of major, a shitty program where the teach just lectures off the books is not effective. A good program will go above and beyond that. Mentoring, guidance, inspiration, how to apply this bs to real situations. A good school will also emphasize on not the technical knowledge, but the interpersonal and disciplinary skills you need to be successful in the real world.

If all you're looking for is some technical knowledge, by all means, grab any theory book and memorize to your heart's content.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#6
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Well I just want to know what a classroom would offer that a book does not?


Proof and validation. A damn degree.
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#7
In general I agree with you, I think. Music is a hobby for most people, and for the sane and those rooted in reality, it remains that way. It makes more financial sense to study something with more potential lucrative jobs and opportunities on the other end.
That being said, I studied music/music technology in school, and I'm pretty happy with my current situation and the future is looking good as well. You do the best at what you like the best.
#8
I would start by thinking about your reasons for considering a BA in music. As with anything in life, we only get out what we put in. Pursuing a degree can open a lot of opportunities to network, perform, and learn with other musicians. I spent time studying Jazz Guitar in California and had the opportunity to mentor with a very well established Jazz guitarist. I learned a lot from him and those experiences will be with me for the rest of my life! I also performed with many different ensembles, jammed with some really cool people, and had fun everyday I went to class.

If your goal is to become a professional musician and you want to pursue higher education in music, then getting a BA in music certainly makes a lot more sense then pursuing a degree in something else. If you wanted to become a lawyer, you wouldn't go to medical school right? Music isn't any different... but you have to keep everything in perspective.

There are plenty of opportunities for someone to make a living as a musician if that's what you truly desire to do. With all that in mind, the music industry doesn't care if someone has a degree in music so don't consider pursuing one thinking the piece of paper will help get a record deal...it will help establish credibility and provide many opportunities for growth as a musician and a person if you make it work for yourself. It's really what you make of it - whether you are studying music or anything else.
#9
sure you "can" learn everything on your own, but if you go to school for it, you don't have to be one of those people that constantly asks about how to make your pentatonic scales more modal.

on another note, I'm going to school for music education and its probably the best decision I've made with my life. If you're not willing to commit don't bother though, its a lot more work than it sounds like.
#10
Xiaoxi, you often mention how you took music and 'made it', as it were - I'm genuinely interested in your story, if only as an example of someone studying music and doing it right Do you mind shedding some light? I was gonna PM, but I figure some other people might be interested too
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#11
I thought about it and I agree with what Casualty said. I made a big decision to keep it as a hobby about 3 years ago when I started college. I went with criminal justice for pure financial/economic reasons. I love playing music to death, and nothing would make me happier than to have it as a job but it's not practical. When your young parents say you can do whatever you want, that's b.s. It's more like "we'll son, at this point you have the potential to do a lot of different kinds of things if you try."
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#12
I major in Composition. And it's not like what you think at all. We don't learn from a textbook or lecturer, but from writing actual pieces for musicians (both students and international performers). Before writing we research thoroughly what the instrument can in terms of range, timbre and extended techniques. Then we look into both traditional and contemporary repertoire. As we write it, we go to the musicians for feedback as they workshop our pieces. You'd be surprised how much you learn in a short time if you've ever done it before. We're also free to write in whatever style we choose to, although it does lean towards 20th/21th contemporary art music.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Jul 17, 2013,
#14
GoldenGuitar, has it helped you much, career-wise? Composition is what I'm looking to study in England next year, am looking for as much info as possible!
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#15
Quote by HeretiK538
Xiaoxi, you often mention how you took music and 'made it', as it were - I'm genuinely interested in your story, if only as an example of someone studying music and doing it right Do you mind shedding some light? I was gonna PM, but I figure some other people might be interested too

Woah woah woah, I never said I made it. Making a lot of money is not necessarily the same thing as making it as a composer Come back to me in 10-15 years and then MAYBE I will be slightly "making it"...

Before you major in music and assuming you want to do something related to this as a career, you have to basically ask yourself: are you someone who can manage his own business? Now here's the bad news: most people are not. You have to be honest with yourself and really objectively gauge whether you have the qualities to run a successful business by yourself. If not, then I do not recommend studying music. If you have "how will this degree help me get a job" mentality, then you need to study something else more employable. Music/arts is not for employees.

Here's the perfect example of an "employee" type person who studied music:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=31695434&postcount=51

Don't end up like this.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#16
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GoldenGuitar, has it helped you much, career-wise? Composition is what I'm looking to study in England next year, am looking for as much info as possible!

I'm finishing at the end of this year (that's if I don't decide to do honours), but I'm not expecting composition to get me anywhere any time soon. Most composers cannot sustain a living purely through composing, so you have to be versatile and willing to do other things. They might be musical things, or they might not be.
#17
Point taken, Xiaoxi! I get a lot of "yeah, but what will you *do* with it" stuff when talking about it, but I just figure, I may as well dive in and see how far I get, in terms of writing stuff. Offering my services to film makers, friends making games, etc, and if and when I study music, that'd augment it. I shouldn't like to self-evaluate, but if being able to manage yourself as a business is important, then that's good to know! Cheers for the advice
Rotten Playground
Listen to me and Jameh muck about on a podcast
as if you have anything better to do.


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#18
Getting a form education has multiple advantages if you're serious about music:

1) Intense, thorough education
2) Objective evaluation of your abilities
3) Advice from successful professional musicians
4) Exposure to tons of music you'd otherwise never hear
5) Being part of an active, creative community of musicians

The networking is really the most valuable part of that. You're just not going to find musicians anywhere else who will learn, rehearse, and perform your music for two beers and a slice of pizza.