#1
I'm currently a 3rd year high school student and I want to take up on a music degree to pursue my guitar playing as a performer/composer. I understand that it's not necessary to take up on a music degree to further my guitar playing, but I want to experience being surrounded by different types of musicians. Plus, a music degree also opens up different opportunities if I cant rely on guitar playing for income, such as song writer,producer,sound engineer.. etc

My other option is that i stick to my guitar lessons and take up on a different degree such as business, and still pursue as a guitar player. I won't have to worry too much about income and be able to pursue as a performer.

Ive been playing electric guitar for half a year, but ive had 3 years of experience with classical guitar. I can't picture myself not pursuing guitar in the future, so i need advice with planning it. What would you guys suggest?
#3
I'd recommend option 2.

You can always go back and get that music degree after if you really decide its worth it.

Honestly, a music degree will help you get skills but they are very expensive and oftentimes you will carry that dept for quite a while since you don't have the amount of job opportunities that a better degree/diploma/trade might offer.

After those 4 years are up what would you do? Besides helping you get a teaching job at a music store, that degree isn't going to do much in terms of getting you work. Think of school as an investment, why would you invest 10k-40k per year (depending what school) in something that is unlikely to generate a steady, high income and that also does not require that degree as a prerequisite anyway? You could get work as a musician now with no degree if you had the skill set.
Quote by The Spoon
Unless you're sure she likes you, telling her you like her has a 110% chance of failing.

But hey, at least you have a 10% chance of absolutely guaranteeing failure.
Last edited by British_Steal at Dec 18, 2013,
#4
Quote by British_Steal
I'd recommend option 2.

You can always go back and get that music degree after if you really decide its worth it.

Honestly, a music degree will help you get skills but they are very expensive and oftentimes you will carry that dept for quite a while since you don't have the amount of job opportunities that a better degree/diploma/trade might offer.

After those 4 years are up what would you do? Besides helping you get a teaching job at a music store, that degree isn't going to do much in terms of getting you work. Think of school as an investment, why would you invest 10k-40k per year (depending what school) in something that is unlikely to generate a steady, high income and that also does not require that degree as a prerequisite anyway? You could get work as a musician now with no degree if you had the skill set.


This. +1

Felt same way as TS. You don't need a music school to make you good at guitar. The time and money could better be invested in something like an accounting or engineering degree.
#5
I went to university for sound engineering. I ended up with a gig in the videogame industry doing guitar transcription and what have you, but I was lucky.

Going into music as a career these days is borderline insane, but it can most definitely be done, you just need to have the talent, and after that, the opportunity. And perhaps past that, the temperament to be able to deal with a fairly non-materialistic lifestyle, because you're likely to be making not alot of money.

I wouldn't advise anyone who wants to make a decent living for themselves or their family to enter the music industry, but of course there are exceptions everywhere. It's really a matter of assessing your marketable skills, and if those happen to be in music, then there you are.

Best of luck in whatever you may choose to do!
#6
Keep in mind that the "opportunities" that a music degree has collectively add up to about 0.1% of the opportunities a business degree does. I know people who went into music and are regretting it more every day.
#7
TS I know you really like playing guitar. I like guitar too. I also like Playstation heaps. I also like showers and watching violent movies. I reckon I'll never stop doing any of those things.

So to make sure of this I need to:

(A) Make one of them a job. Professional musician, gamer, shower taker and Schwartznagger critic would be my optimum jobs.

OR

(B) Find a job that lets me do all of the above in my free time. Luckily there's heaps of these, practically every other job in the world.

Keep your options open mate. I know someone who studied classical flute at uni who has not played for 20 years. She said she was tired of being broke. I know another guy who has done nothhing but play paid gigs since he graduated. Still lives with his parents at the age of 39.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
If you really want to get into the music business, do it without uncertainty, or it will cost you. Check out this thread https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1626296 Also, you really don't need a degree to be a music producer and composer and all those things, what you really want is to market yourself properly (can't think of better words)
And, like AlanHB said, keep your options open. It's very unlikely you'll make it just playing with a band, or solo.
#9
When I applied to uni, I didn't know if I wanted to do Music Technology, recording, playing etc. as a degree, and Media editing/filming etc. as a hobby, or vice versa.

Choose which you enjoy more, and which you think would be better as maybe a hobby. Eg. do a Music course, but set up businesses, whatever else in your spare time. Or, do a Business course and love the guitar like your first born child.
Caution:
This post contains my opinion and/or inaccurate information


Quote by vayne92
I'm genuinely beginning to think you're the best troll of all time


"Emocore is like, when you cry when you break a guitar string"
- Thurston Moore
#10
Man, I'd say to go ahead and get the more reliable degree (business, finance etc.) so that you can support your pursuit of music.

If you go after music as your main source of income, you'll be exhausted, sick of it and disappointed with the results.

Keep playing, but set yourself up to make music your side or second income.
Paul Reed Smith CE-24 2005 and Santana SE with Seymour Duncan pickups.
Line 6 Amplifiers
Boss Effects and Steve Vai's Wah Pedal
Dunlop Picks and Elixir Strings .48


WEBSITE
https://www.guitarchalk.com
#11
Thank you for all the advices! Originally i was considering architecture then have music as a hobby, but I was worried that it might be too demanding and i wouldn't have anytime for my music. But i understand how i might not have anytime at all for music if I dont find a way to support myself in the future. I'll try looking into other courses/jobs that won't be too demanding yet sufficient enough to pay for my guitars
#12
you are in your third year of high school, you'll probably change ideas a million times before going to university. take private guitar lessons with the best players in your area for now, learn basic skills you will need if you want to be serious about music (sight reading, improvisation, technique...).

keep in mind that in university (not all universities, but in most places), you are most likely to learn about jazz or classical if you enroll in a guitar performance program, so no rock and metal. the degree itself is useless (except if you want to apply for a teacher job in some places), you don't need a paper to play music, but the skills you develop there and the contacts you make are invaluable

you'll see for yourself what path you want to take, but i doubt you'd get encouragement answers from successful musicians here because they are too busy with gigs/teaching/composing/working another job to spend time online
#13
First, in the current economy, a lot of degrees can seem as worthless as music degree. How is the job market for architects anyway? Last I heard, it was hella' tight.

The safest degree would probably involve computers, technology. The great thing about that is that there are a zillion ways that computer know-how can help you with a musical career, whether it involves music for video games, or truly understanding how to harness the power of a digital audio workstation, learning to program electronica, being able to harness online marketing or ventures to promote your music (build your own website, create a Youtube channel, etc.) I mean, you don't need a computer degree for this stuff, but it sure can help you stay ahead of the curve, and ahead of the competition.

So, I'd recommend a major in computer science with a minor in music.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#14
Quote by krm27
First, in the current economy, a lot of degrees can seem as worthless as music degree. How is the job market for architects anyway? Last I heard, it was hella' tight.


This is a regular argument. The "current economy" means it's hard to find work as a musician. However when thr economy was strong, it was still hard to find work as a musician. The plain truth is that someone is more likely to need a building designed (architect) rather than a musician.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
I recommend doing what you want to do and not what other people think you should do.
.
#16
Quote by AlanHB
TS I know you really like playing guitar. I like guitar too. I also like Playstation heaps. I also like showers and watching violent movies. I reckon I'll never stop doing any of those things.

So to make sure of this I need to:

(A) Make one of them a job. Professional musician, gamer, shower taker and Schwartznagger critic would be my optimum jobs.




This analogy doesn't really work because you're equating making a job out of consuming entertainment with making a job out of producing it. Both are difficult, but really, I know plenty of people that have made it alongside people who haven't.

The way I look at it, there are two major factors:

1. I make far less pursuing music than I do working another job to fund a music hobby. The difference is that music is also my job, which means that I don't have to spend as much money for a free time music hobby because I'm doing it during standard working hours.

2. Do you plan on having a family? If you're going to be single for a long time then making a living off music isn't hard at all if you have any discipline - if others will be relying on you for a certain standard of living that requires more than musical equipment then you really need to consider that.


Don't expect to have a whole lot of non-musical stuff either, unless you're really great at managing your money.
#17
Quote by krm27
First, in the current economy, a lot of degrees can seem as worthless as music degree. How is the job market for architects anyway? Last I heard, it was hella' tight.

The safest degree would probably involve computers, technology. The great thing about that is that there are a zillion ways that computer know-how can help you with a musical career, whether it involves music for video games, or truly understanding how to harness the power of a digital audio workstation, learning to program electronica, being able to harness online marketing or ventures to promote your music (build your own website, create a Youtube channel, etc.) I mean, you don't need a computer degree for this stuff, but it sure can help you stay ahead of the curve, and ahead of the competition.

So, I'd recommend a major in computer science with a minor in music.

Ken


Economy here could be hard for musicians from where i am (Philippines) But what do you mean by safest? Like if you compare it to a business degree, would my I have more chances of getting the income i need?
#18
Quote by SuperKid
you are in your third year of high school, you'll probably change ideas a million times before going to university. take private guitar lessons with the best players in your area for now, learn basic skills you will need if you want to be serious about music (sight reading, improvisation, technique...).

keep in mind that in university (not all universities, but in most places), you are most likely to learn about jazz or classical if you enroll in a guitar performance program, so no rock and metal. the degree itself is useless (except if you want to apply for a teacher job in some places), you don't need a paper to play music, but the skills you develop there and the contacts you make are invaluable

you'll see for yourself what path you want to take, but i doubt you'd get encouragement answers from successful musicians here because they are too busy with gigs/teaching/composing/working another job to spend time online


Yes but from where I'm from, college entrance exams are coming in a few months. The university I was looking up on has AB Music Production, although if it were jazz studies I wouldnt mind either. But this course doesn't focus only on music education, more on training us to write jingles, film scores, so we're open to practical jobs of a music degree.
http://www.benilde.edu.ph/content/course-flowchart/sda/abmp-page1.pdf So i thought it was "practical" enough to make a living with this degree. Especially if i work for radio stations/commercials/ From what i've been told, you could earn a ton by writing 1 minute jingles.
#19
I'm saying, as a very general opinion, that the job market for computer science majors is better than for any other major, period, with the possible exception of some jobs in the health care / elder care sectors (due to the Baby Boomers).

I graduated at a great time in the economy generally, and I had a friend who wanted to be an architect and he finally gave up, as it was too hard to get into a good graduate program. A lot of people want to be architects. If you love it and want to fight for it, sure, go for it. But I would not recommend it as a "safety" career just to make an income while you pursue your musical aspirations in your spare time. The best "safety" career is computer science / computer programming.

Also, a lot of computer jobs can be telecommuting, you can set your own hours, you have a level of independence that is good for a musician. And the money is good, so you maybe can get buy working less than full time, focusing more time on a music career. I think it's hard to be a part time architect.

And, too, to the extent a lot of music production is on computer, when you learn computer science you are learning something that can advance your ability to make music. I've been learning home recording for the last year, and I have had to learn a lot of stupid computer shit in order to figure out how to set that up.

I also hear all over the place that making a living off music is so hard these days, and the one bright area (relatively speaking) is video games, but it's still hard to break into, and if you are actually a computer programmer working on the games, I'd think you'd naturally be in a position to market your own work. I mean, there's just a lot of synergies that don't exist with architecture.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#20
Quote by Vlasco
This analogy doesn't really work because you're equating making a job out of consuming entertainment with making a job out of producing it. Both are difficult, but really, I know plenty of people that have made it alongside people who haven't.


Well what I'm actually saying is that just because I like doing something a lot does not mean that I have to make a career out of it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#21
As someone who's went through a music course, let me just say this. When I started, I was so sure about guitar, I loved it, I wanted to play it all day every day and was so sure of my future. When I finished the course, the idea of playing guitar as a career made me sick, and I now study Musical Theatre, thank god I had singing to fall back on, otherwise I would've been trapped. I personally think that's a danger to any musician, everyone's going to change in some manner, I mean, on my course, people pursued their study further because they changed and became a Jazz guitarist, or wanted to become a lecturer by the end of it, I changed from an open minded guy looking forward to pursuing every genre to someone who is now against the study of any music other than Classical. Some lost their passion and now work at Tesco full time, again, thank god I had another talent to make use of.

I will say, though, that as well as studying Musical Theatre, I am a professional composer, and because of my Musical Theatre background, I now have highly paid work composing and arranging for musicals, it's my dream job, and I'll do it all alongside my stage work when it comes to it, and I'm in that profession with little to no qualifications, and I taught myself composition, as my course didn't teach it themselves.

Of course, the study of music has some applications, we may be completely different people, I don't mean to scare you off, but, again, everyone mentions the practicality of it, whether or not you're going to get well paid work, however, the fact that you're turning fun into a job must be considered on an emotional level. To quote an exchange between me and a lecturer; "You have to play music you don't like if you want to make money." "If I'm going to do work that makes me miserable, I may as well have an office job, and I bet that'd pay more." Very strong language indeed, but I cannot overstate how much I hated music education, I wouldn't do it again if you paid me.
#22
As a counterpoint to the above, my general experiences with music education are positive. Even if I don't end up doing it for a living I have zero regrets.

I think the lesson here is never listen to Musical Theater.
.
#23
Quote by krm27
I'm saying, as a very general opinion, that the job market for computer science majors is better than for any other major, period, with the possible exception of some jobs in the health care / elder care sectors (due to the Baby Boomers).

I graduated at a great time in the economy generally, and I had a friend who wanted to be an architect and he finally gave up, as it was too hard to get into a good graduate program. A lot of people want to be architects. If you love it and want to fight for it, sure, go for it. But I would not recommend it as a "safety" career just to make an income while you pursue your musical aspirations in your spare time. The best "safety" career is computer science / computer programming.

Also, a lot of computer jobs can be telecommuting, you can set your own hours, you have a level of independence that is good for a musician. And the money is good, so you maybe can get buy working less than full time, focusing more time on a music career. I think it's hard to be a part time architect.

And, too, to the extent a lot of music production is on computer, when you learn computer science you are learning something that can advance your ability to make music. I've been learning home recording for the last year, and I have had to learn a lot of stupid computer shit in order to figure out how to set that up.

I also hear all over the place that making a living off music is so hard these days, and the one bright area (relatively speaking) is video games, but it's still hard to break into, and if you are actually a computer programmer working on the games, I'd think you'd naturally be in a position to market your own work. I mean, there's just a lot of synergies that don't exist with architecture.

Ken

hmm right, I'm still open to that. Im currently looking at Information Technology, it seems to open more opportunities other than a focusing only on computer sciences. Thanks for your advice!
#24
man if you go to music school right then you'll spend 4 years trying to learn music in spite of it anyway

go to jam sessions and take lessons with a bunch of cats in the real world

keep expanding your listening

READ

stop thinking music is an art, start thinking of it as a language and then develop that idea until you think that's as far as it'll develop then do it again next month

right now i'm researching 'free play' as it effects childhood development and paralleling it to musical growth

keep it interdisciplinary
#25
Quote by smartguyreviews
man if you go to music school right then you'll spend 4 years trying to learn music in spite of it anyway

go to jam sessions and take lessons with a bunch of cats in the real world

keep expanding your listening

READ

stop thinking music is an art, start thinking of it as a language and then develop that idea until you think that's as far as it'll develop then do it again next month

right now i'm researching 'free play' as it effects childhood development and paralleling it to musical growth

keep it interdisciplinary


I see, so what profession did you choose that enabled you to connect it to music?
#26
music education

I like teaching a lot

but the most successful gigging musician I know personal is a bass player who works as a computer programmer by day. I only see him playing with decent guys - he has the luxury of saying 'no' to shitty or far away gigs

just keep an open mind, you've still got plenty to figure out and even more time to do it
#27
I would only ever pursue a music career if I could play my instrument for 10 hours a day and not be bored.

I did it once (10 hrs a day) and didn't touch it the next day.

A hobby instrumentalist would be someone who does maybe 0-3 hours per day. I heard most serious people do 4+ a day. Probably more.
Last edited by BananaBasket at Dec 21, 2013,
#28
Not knowing you, it's hard to give you solid advice, HOWEVER, I went for option 1. It was the best decision I've ever made.

You have to be realistic - I tour and record with the bands I'm involved with, but I realised a long time ago (especially as I made the economically suicidal decision of playing extreme metal) that gigging will probably never be the base of my income. I'll keep trying to make this so, but I'm aware of the dangers, and have been since before I started my degree 4 years ago.

Could you see yourself teaching guitar in the future? Teaching makes up the vast majority of my income. I personally love it - I find it incredibly rewarding and the money is pretty good too. That being said, if I didn't take to teaching like I did, I've no idea what I'd be doing to pay the bills - There are certainly ways, but it's not easy. Basically I built up a 'backup plan' that also involved music. Am I a musician or am I a teacher? Either way, I like it, so hey!

The 10 hours practice thing as mentioned above? ... Not quite. You do have to be disciplined and work your ass off, but sitting practicing your scales for 10 hours can do as much harm as it can good (You do NOT want to develop wrist problems from overuse!), but you will be spending hours rehearsing, recording, teaching, producing, whatever you find yourself doing, there will be a hell of a lot of it. You will also find yourself working long hours on evenings and weekends - can you do that?

Doing this, in the future you'll probably - as in, almost certainly - find yourself being self employed. There are certain freedoms and perks that come with this, but it puts your business directly in your hands. You're the one filling out invoices, sorting out your own hours, finding your own work for each day and basically motivating yourself to get your ass out of bed in the morning and finding regular work for yourself. It's totally doable, but unpredictable and some hate it.

Long story short, doing any job involving music will involve a lot of hard work and determination for something that you CAN make an income out of (despite what anyone may tell you). However, you will never make 'big' money like a lawyer or doctor, it will involve compromise and versatility, and if you expect the rockstar life, then think twice. I'm really, really glad I went for it, however the fact that I am now is largely because I'm happy with a lot of the aspects of it that some people would hate.

It's 3am and I'm rambling, but I hope that helped!
I was bad with usernames at age 12. Ah woe.
#29
Also to remember is that you can rarely rely on one type of musical income. I rarely see anyone ONLY perform or ONLY compose or ONLY teach, its almost always a combo of all. Teaching is the only one where you miiiiiiight get by without help from other musical pursuits.
#30
If you can't see yourself as a business owner (and most people can't), do not become a full time musician.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
#31
Quote by IgnoreThis
Not knowing you, it's hard to give you solid advice, HOWEVER, I went for option 1. It was the best decision I've ever made.

You have to be realistic - I tour and record with the bands I'm involved with, but I realised a long time ago (especially as I made the economically suicidal decision of playing extreme metal) that gigging will probably never be the base of my income. I'll keep trying to make this so, but I'm aware of the dangers, and have been since before I started my degree 4 years ago.

Could you see yourself teaching guitar in the future? Teaching makes up the vast majority of my income. I personally love it - I find it incredibly rewarding and the money is pretty good too. That being said, if I didn't take to teaching like I did, I've no idea what I'd be doing to pay the bills - There are certainly ways, but it's not easy. Basically I built up a 'backup plan' that also involved music. Am I a musician or am I a teacher? Either way, I like it, so hey!

The 10 hours practice thing as mentioned above? ... Not quite. You do have to be disciplined and work your ass off, but sitting practicing your scales for 10 hours can do as much harm as it can good (You do NOT want to develop wrist problems from overuse!), but you will be spending hours rehearsing, recording, teaching, producing, whatever you find yourself doing, there will be a hell of a lot of it. You will also find yourself working long hours on evenings and weekends - can you do that?

Doing this, in the future you'll probably - as in, almost certainly - find yourself being self employed. There are certain freedoms and perks that come with this, but it puts your business directly in your hands. You're the one filling out invoices, sorting out your own hours, finding your own work for each day and basically motivating yourself to get your ass out of bed in the morning and finding regular work for yourself. It's totally doable, but unpredictable and some hate it.

Long story short, doing any job involving music will involve a lot of hard work and determination for something that you CAN make an income out of (despite what anyone may tell you). However, you will never make 'big' money like a lawyer or doctor, it will involve compromise and versatility, and if you expect the rockstar life, then think twice. I'm really, really glad I went for it, however the fact that I am now is largely because I'm happy with a lot of the aspects of it that some people would hate.

It's 3am and I'm rambling, but I hope that helped!


Thanks for that! I think what i needed to know was the reality of both options so i could compare them side by side. And honestly i can picture myself in both options and i'd still be happy with my life. I'll keep trying to map out the opportunities of both options until i find which option draws me the most.
#32
^^^ It's really hard to make this decision when you're still in high school. It seems so obvious that you should continue doing what you love, but then you move out and have all these expenses that you didn't have before. Rent, food, electricity and transport start adding up. You start wondering why your friend who didn't get into uni is stacking shelves at the supermarket is making twice as much as you, who is playing guitar with 10+ years experience. Eventually you get over the pasta and rice breakfast/lunch/dinner and seek extra jobs to supplement your music. They quickly make more cash and you can afford steak again. You then realise that you'd never go back to the former lifestyle and decide to keep doing those extra jobs until you graduate at which point your degree will be recoginsed and you'll make the extra money. So you graduate and there's no change, except that your student welfare benefits are now gone and you have to work longer hours at those jobs that you thought were temporary.

And then you finally make one of those jobs your full time job, and the music becomes temporary. Your mate who was stacking shelves at the start of your studies is now an assistant manager of the store, making $80,000 a year. You're really just starting off your career and score the $30,000 wage to go with it.

That's just one common path that leads to musicians taking up a different career. The real crappy thing about it though is that they don't have formal qualfications in their new career, which can limit their future opportunities.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#34
^^^ Well you're a music student. Do you live out of home and if so do you make enough from music to pay for rent and food?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#35
As a very recent graduate, I do. I'm renting in London so it's not at all cheap, but through teaching I do, despite still not working that many hours, giving me a huge margin for expansion to earn more.

Sadly TS, I have to say plutocracy is a big part of it too, as is the case with most music stuff. I got my foot in the door for working in schools by basically making the right friends haha. So practice your friendly smile!
I was bad with usernames at age 12. Ah woe.
#36
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Well you're a music student. Do you live out of home and if so do you make enough from music to pay for rent and food?

Are you talking to me or someone else? I'm an Engineering student. I study music as a hobby.
#37
Quote by macashmack
Are you talking to me or someone else? I'm an Engineering student. I study music as a hobby.


Oh right. For some reason I thought you were a music student.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud