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#2167954 - 10/18/13 01:56 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Must just quote some good advice from Whoopi Goldberg
in the movie “In the Habit 2" (an absolute treat) ...
when she says to a young student ... when you wake in the morning and the first thing you think about is “writing” ... then you are a WRITER.
If the first thing you think about is “music” ...
then you are a MUSICIAN.

The OP is clearly a musician and should plug away in spite of

Boo (hoo) saying
“I think you are reaching the point where you are too old and need to seriously focus on earning money.”
What a clown! ... life is not for making money but for having fun.

I like rada’s bit
“Personally, I think you should always go with what you love”

More boo (hoo) gloom and sackcloth
“The reality of the situation is that he'll be close to 30 when he earns his degree and is going to be in a lot of debt while trying to find a job in a field where the job market is very scare as it is even for highly trained and talented people.”

Rimsky-Korskov managed to compose masterpieces while doing
duty on the bridge of a Russian clipper Almaz. ...
Imagine a world without the dreamy blockbuster “Scheherazade”!

As someone who spent 6 years qualifying as Architect at the University of Cape Town I might add that, the competitive nature of studying with students of the same age proved hugely motivational ... but that it was only in my 3rd year that I began to cotton on to the true imaginative capacity of an architect ...
in being able to design in one’s head ... no need for a pencil and paper .

The OP mentioned that his compositions have a “jazz” flavour
(for all the lame duck reactions of the professorial gang consulted) ...
And that, perhaps the greatest song writer of them all was George Gershwin.
(What wouldn’t I do for the royalties on just one of his hits “Summertime”.)









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#2167959 - 10/18/13 02:10 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: btb]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17941
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: btb
[...]And that, perhaps the greatest song writer of them all was George Gershwin.
(What wouldn’t I do for the royalties on just one of his hits “Unforgettable”.)


Can you trust a man who can't get simple, verifiable facts right? George Gershwin didn't write "Unforgettable." It was written by Irving Gordon and published in 1951.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2167962 - 10/18/13 02:21 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
"How the heck can we believe you"

Sorry BruceD old chap, I was getting ahead of myself ...
my rot has been corrected to read "Summertime".

regards btb

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#2167995 - 10/18/13 06:14 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
beeboss Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1198
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: TheHappyMoron
On a side note: we don't pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for education here in the UK



The Royal Academy is £9k a year, 4 years thats £36k + living in London for 4 years (not exactly cheap). As someone who started at the Royal Academy when I was 29 if my experience is anything to go by then you will learn a lot. Whether that is good value for money or will give you what you want are not questions anyone can help you with.If I had my time again in todays financial situation I think I would be tempted to study privately with a couple of carefully picked people.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/davebeeboss

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#2168035 - 10/18/13 09:02 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: boo1234]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: boo1234
The reality of the situation is that he'll be close to 30 when he earns his degree and is going to be in a lot of debt while trying to find a job in a field where the job market is very scare as it is even for highly trained and talented people. I think it makes more sense to get a steady paying job and to do music composition on the side as a hobby, when you take into account that the composition people at the schools he applied to said his compositions and theory skills were lacking.

People need to stop living in fantasy land where you can be what you want to be and should do what you love to do. It doesn't pay the bills.

Simply the truth. However, most members here do not like these facts.

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#2168038 - 10/18/13 09:10 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: btb]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: btb
Must just quote some good advice from Whoopi Goldberg
in the movie “In the Habit 2" (an absolute treat) ...
when she says to a young student ... when you wake in the morning and the first thing you think about is “writing” ... then you are a WRITER.
If the first thing you think about is “music” ...
then you are a MUSICIAN.

The OP is clearly a musician and should plug away in spite of

Boo (hoo) saying
“I think you are reaching the point where you are too old and need to seriously focus on earning money.”
What a clown! ... life is not for making money but for having fun.

I like rada’s bit
“Personally, I think you should always go with what you love”

More boo (hoo) gloom and sackcloth
“The reality of the situation is that he'll be close to 30 when he earns his degree and is going to be in a lot of debt while trying to find a job in a field where the job market is very scare as it is even for highly trained and talented people.”

Rimsky-Korskov managed to compose masterpieces while doing
duty on the bridge of a Russian clipper Almaz. ...
Imagine a world without the dreamy blockbuster “Scheherazade”!

As someone who spent 6 years qualifying as Architect at the University of Cape Town I might add that, the competitive nature of studying with students of the same age proved hugely motivational ... but that it was only in my 3rd year that I began to cotton on to the true imaginative capacity of an architect ...
in being able to design in one’s head ... no need for a pencil and paper .

The OP mentioned that his compositions have a “jazz” flavour
(for all the lame duck reactions of the professorial gang consulted) ...
And that, perhaps the greatest song writer of them all was George Gershwin.
(What wouldn’t I do for the royalties on just one of his hits “Summertime”.)










It is so interesting to notice that the majority of members here (or the most vocal members) are either, I'm just taking a guess:

1. Music hobbyists with a well-paid full time job.
2. Retired or near retirement music hobbyists.
3. Well established music teachers in their 60s.

While the young professional musicians shed some light on how bad the profession actually is, and how bad the music job market is, they get either patronizing or criticizing replies.

To the OP, since one member already said the truth about music as a profession, I am going to just say you should read his reply carefully and judge yourself.

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#2168044 - 10/18/13 09:18 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13775
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Another truth:

Lots of people make a living doing music. You have to be good, creative, and maybe even a little lucky, but people do it every day.

The main difference between going to college for music and going to college for medicine (or any other professional track) is that at the conclusion of a professional degree, there are jobs you can apply for. In music, you have to go out and create your own job.

Looking at the title of this thread, I'd put it like this:

Pros of university: good training, make connections
Cons of university: it doesn't guarantee anything

The problem with threads like these is that the OP wants to skip to the end of his story to find out if he'll be okay. I have some friends to who went back to school late - a few have done quite well. One works as a church musician and recording engineer in NYC. Another teaches and works with an opera company and professional orchestra in Florida. I have other friends who haven't done as well - they ended up going back to school for something else entirely, or found desk jobs or work in sales, etc...

The OP needs to figure out how much he's willing to gamble. Obviously, the biases in this thread reflect people's own answers to that question. Those of us who have chosen music and have been successful or who didn't choose music and regret it a great deal think it's worth the gamble. Those who have found success and happiness doing other things think it's not worth the gamble.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2168060 - 10/18/13 10:12 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: Kreisler]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5009
Everyone who's posted on this thread obviously would be giving opinions colored by their own experiences, or by that of others they know. Or maybe by what they've read.

In my own case, I have an acquaintance who won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, and won several prizes while there, including an international piano competition. After engagements dried up, he decided he didn't want to become a teacher, changed tack and went back to university to study medicine. He's now a surgeon. He regretted ever going to the RAM, because he'd be a lot more successful as a surgeon now if he'd just kept music as a hobby, and he could have just satisfied his performing cravings by taking part in amateur competitions (he'd have had a good chance of winning them), once his medical career had become established. As it is, he is still looking for a consultant job, competing against other surgeons at the same level as him, but much younger. He has no time to play piano any more.

There's a wonderful Canadian ex-concert pianist, Naida Cole, who also changed career and is now pursuing a medical career. Her recordings of French music on Decca - Ravel's Gaspard & Miroirs, Fauré, Chabrier - are still among the best around.

I also know personally of a violinist who plays in a London orchestra as first violin. She supplements her income by teaching, doing sessional work (film music, backing for pop bands, musicals etc). She doesn't regret choosing music as her profession, but tells me that it's a precarious existence. She has to play a lot of music she dislikes (pop and some musicals), teach recalcitrant students, and has to pass an audition every three years to stay in the orchestra - competing against all the young, upcoming violinists fresh from youth orchestras and conservatoires. Many of them (like herself) had failed to attain a solo career, and decided to try for an orchestral job instead.

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#2168075 - 10/18/13 11:13 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 360
Loc: Western NC (US)
Originally Posted By: TheHappyMoron


I'm not really sure what to do with my life.


The first line of the initial post sums it up... Maybe it's not about "going back to school or not," at all!

I should have learned by now that in some cases, investing effort in advice is pointless, because the person lacks the sense of direction needed to act on any advice. Sure enough, OP comes back later to say to "forget the whole thing."

In my case, teacher has suggested going to school to study music (adding that there are no guarantees to employment), but obviously that would color my own answer. And as such, I am plotting to take my own advice to the OP, to go back to school.

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#2168077 - 10/18/13 11:25 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: Alan Lai]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 360
Loc: Western NC (US)
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: boo1234


People need to stop living in fantasy land where you can be what you want to be and should do what you love to do. It doesn't pay the bills.

Simply the truth. However, most members here do not like these facts.


What if you become "what you want to be" and "do what you love to do," and it pays the bills? (smirk) It does happen, you know. It's not fantasy land, it's the land of blood, sweat & tears sometimes.

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#2168082 - 10/18/13 11:34 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: btb]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 508
Originally Posted By: btb


Boo (hoo) saying
“I think you are reaching the point where you are too old and need to seriously focus on earning money.”
What a clown! ... life is not for making money but for having fun.


More boo (hoo) gloom and sackcloth
“The reality of the situation is that he'll be close to 30 when he earns his degree and is going to be in a lot of debt while trying to find a job in a field where the job market is very scare as it is even for highly trained and talented people.”

Rimsky-Korskov managed to compose masterpieces while doing
duty on the bridge of a Russian clipper Almaz. ...
Imagine a world without the dreamy blockbuster “Scheherazade”!






Money may not be everything but it makes things a heck of a lot easier. The prospect of living on low wages and not having disposable income to do what I want to do that I think is fun is not appealing to me in the least. If the op is one of those people who likes to throw hazard into the wind regardless of the consequences so be it.

Let's be real. The op is 99.9999999% not a rimsky korsakov in the making.

I really am trying to be helpful and fiscally responsible. I say the same advice to anyone wanting to major in the humanities or arts. In today's job market it is just a recipe for financial disaster where the vast majority will be barely scraping by each month working part time jobs outside of their fields of study.

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#2168089 - 10/18/13 11:47 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: cefinow]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: TheHappyMoron


I'm not really sure what to do with my life.


The first line of the initial post sums it up... Maybe it's not about "going back to school or not," at all!


okay, if you read the first line you will see it's a statement, not a question. it's simply the way i write, i like to make things a little light hearted. don't look into it so much. honestly.

Originally Posted By: cefinow

I should have learned by now that in some cases, investing effort in advice is pointless, because the person lacks the sense of direction needed to act on any advice. Sure enough, OP comes back later to say to "forget the whole thing."


actually, if anyone here actually took the time to read they would see this whole thread was resolved at the forth post. go on, read it.
since then it's simply been people shouting their opinions. reminds me of the old saying

"the wise speak when they have something to say
and fools speak because they have to say something."


if it makes you all feel better, i have read all your replies and considered them all thoroughly. the reason i wished i hadn't wrote anything in the first place? because it's typical of this forum for people to come in with their advice as if they and only they know the truth about things, and then start crying their eyes out how john knows jack who failed in life because he didn't go into medicine; the reason i get so defensive is when people try to use me as an excuse for them to jump up on their high horse and educate me on everything from finding middle c to cake baking. it's nothing to do with me not being able to handle the reality of the situation, it's your attitudes that irritate me.
i've got what i needed to know. so thank you. problem solved. smile
_________________________
All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

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#2168093 - 10/18/13 12:06 PM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: boo1234]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: boo1234


I really am trying to be helpful and fiscally responsible. I say the same advice to anyone wanting to major in the humanities or arts. In today's job market it is just a recipe for financial disaster where the vast majority will be barely scraping by each month working part time jobs outside of their fields of study.


Yeah, it happens all the time. Not just with music, but with all arts - and other field too, actually. But at least these people are trying to fight the system and they're not simply complacently accepting their supposedly ill fates - which is to live to work insipid jobs. That is the world at its ugliest.

Being poor ain't fun, but there are many ways to make ends meet in any field. You just have to be good, not lazy, and creative. That seems like too much work for some people, which is totally fine, and so they settle for other, "safe" work.

Best of luck, THM.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2168108 - 10/18/13 12:37 PM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: Pogorelich.]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Best of luck, THM.


thank you
_________________________
All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

Top
#2168224 - 10/18/13 05:35 PM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 360
Loc: Western NC (US)
Originally Posted By: TheHappyMoron
Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: TheHappyMoron


I'm not really sure what to do with my life.


The first line of the initial post sums it up... Maybe it's not about "going back to school or not," at all!


okay, if you read the first line you will see it's a statement, not a question. it's simply the way i write, i like to make things a little light hearted. don't look into it so much. honestly.

Originally Posted By: cefinow

I should have learned by now that in some cases, investing effort in advice is pointless, because the person lacks the sense of direction needed to act on any advice. Sure enough, OP comes back later to say to "forget the whole thing."


actually, if anyone here actually took the time to read they would see this whole thread was resolved at the forth post. go on, read it.


Okay, I missed that post. Sorry about my "pointless" comment, that did strike me as unnecessarily unkind, on retrospect.

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#2168262 - 10/18/13 08:23 PM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
Rebecca Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 51
Loc: Sydney, Australia
HappyMoron, what trade were you thinking of getting into? Everybody has given personal experiences, anecdotes and opinions. I thought I'd give you my personal experience as well, not gospel, just my two cents.

I studied music at university for two years until I decided to see the world and do a gap year. In this time, I did a trade and studied to become a chef. I worked in restaurants and then went back to university the next year to finish my degree. I never regretted doing that.

I suppose if you see trade as a fall back option, then it's going to be hard... Trades demand a lot of physical work. They can also pay poorly (depending on the trade). I wanted to be a chef, and when I finish university, I intend to start an apprenticeship in commercial cookery. I'm doing this because I have the burning desire to do it.

Even though Boo1234 has made a good point in concentrating on finding a real job NOW, there is the counter-argument that I have grown up on and that is do everything and anything you want to when you are young, when you don't have responsibilities like a mortgage or a mouth to feed - I take that you are in that situation right now?

I keep thinking, it also wouldn't hurt if you auditioned or submitted your works into a university. If you don't get in, then you can reconsider things, if you do get through then you can think about enrolling.

Anyway - what did you decide to end up doing?
_________________________
Independent Piano and Music Teacher
University Undergraduate Majoring in Music
Total Foodie
http://www.pianolessonswithrebecca.com/

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#2168336 - 10/19/13 02:53 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Lai from US/Hong Kong might just need to add to his guesses ... perhaps, 4,5,6 ...
“That the majority of members are either
1. Music hobbyists with a well-paid full time job.
2. Retired or near retirement music hobbyists.
3. Well established music teachers in their 60s.”
The Chinese gentleman chooses his words delicately in suggesting
“either patronizing or criticizing replies.”

How about
“experienced, well travelled and sympathetically interested.”

Kind regards, btb

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#2168346 - 10/19/13 03:54 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: btb]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5009
Originally Posted By: btb
Lai from US/Hong Kong might just need to add to his guesses ... perhaps, 4,5,6 ...
“That the majority of members are either
1. Music hobbyists with a well-paid full time job.
2. Retired or near retirement music hobbyists.
3. Well established music teachers in their 60s.”
The Chinese gentleman chooses his words delicately in suggesting
“either patronizing or criticizing replies.”

How about
“experienced, well travelled and sympathetically interested.”


I, 2 or 3 doesn't preclude 4, 5 and 6.

Or, to put it another way, they aren't mutually exclusive.......

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#2168349 - 10/19/13 04:27 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: cefinow]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: TheHappyMoron
Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: TheHappyMoron


I'm not really sure what to do with my life.


The first line of the initial post sums it up... Maybe it's not about "going back to school or not," at all!


okay, if you read the first line you will see it's a statement, not a question. it's simply the way i write, i like to make things a little light hearted. don't look into it so much. honestly.

Originally Posted By: cefinow

I should have learned by now that in some cases, investing effort in advice is pointless, because the person lacks the sense of direction needed to act on any advice. Sure enough, OP comes back later to say to "forget the whole thing."


actually, if anyone here actually took the time to read they would see this whole thread was resolved at the forth post. go on, read it.


Okay, I missed that post. Sorry about my "pointless" comment, that did strike me as unnecessarily unkind, on retrospect.


Dear cefinow, my comment wasn't aimed at you specifically, it's simply because your post allowed me to address all the points I wished to address. smile
_________________________
All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

Top
#2168353 - 10/19/13 04:33 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: Rebecca Piano]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Rebecca Piano
HappyMoron, what trade were you thinking of getting into? Everybody has given personal experiences, anecdotes and opinions. I thought I'd give you my personal experience as well, not gospel, just my two cents.

I studied music at university for two years until I decided to see the world and do a gap year. In this time, I did a trade and studied to become a chef. I worked in restaurants and then went back to university the next year to finish my degree. I never regretted doing that.

I suppose if you see trade as a fall back option, then it's going to be hard... Trades demand a lot of physical work. They can also pay poorly (depending on the trade). I wanted to be a chef, and when I finish university, I intend to start an apprenticeship in commercial cookery. I'm doing this because I have the burning desire to do it.

Even though Boo1234 has made a good point in concentrating on finding a real job NOW, there is the counter-argument that I have grown up on and that is do everything and anything you want to when you are young, when you don't have responsibilities like a mortgage or a mouth to feed - I take that you are in that situation right now?

I keep thinking, it also wouldn't hurt if you auditioned or submitted your works into a university. If you don't get in, then you can reconsider things, if you do get through then you can think about enrolling.

Anyway - what did you decide to end up doing?


I am glad you are following your dreams, especially in a more active form than I am! I, too, love cooking!
I am fairly knowledgeable in manual labour work and have worked for landscapers, plumbers, and painter and decorators, and follow cabinet making as a hobby, but ubfortunately I have very little qualifications so I would have to go to college if I wished to make a career of it.
I have decided to leave university and follow music through other means, hopefully as some form of session musician. Fingers crossed eh!
_________________________
All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

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#2168368 - 10/19/13 05:58 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
Personally, if I wanted to become a professional musician, I'd enroll into a music school (not necessarily a university). To be a musician it takes many years of full-time dedicated study and going to a music school provides the opportunity, freedom and focus to do exactly that. It also gives you access to some of the best teachers and allows you to collaborate with fellow students and others in the music industry.

To be a session musician today, you have to be the best of the best. You must have flawless technique, be able to sight-read any style of music and play it right from the first take, know music theory inside and out, and be super reliable.

For keyboard/piano especially, the competition is intense. For some instruments, like the drums, school might be optional but I think for the keys -- well you'll be competing for the same session gigs against people who have performance degrees from Berklee, Juilliard, etc., in addition to their years of professional experience.

I watched a "behind the scenes" clip the other day about a studio session in London for a movie I've never heard of. Turned out the pianist sitting in for the session was Yuja Wang. I mean, how does one compete with someone like her?
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

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#2168502 - 10/19/13 12:49 PM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: peekay]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1243
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: peekay
Personally, if I wanted to become a professional musician, I'd enroll into a music school (not necessarily a university). To be a musician it takes many years of full-time dedicated study and going to a music school provides the opportunity, freedom and focus to do exactly that. It also gives you access to some of the best teachers and allows you to collaborate with fellow students and others in the music industry.

To be a session musician today, you have to be the best of the best. You must have flawless technique, be able to sight-read any style of music and play it right from the first take, know music theory inside and out, and be super reliable.

For keyboard/piano especially, the competition is intense. For some instruments, like the drums, school might be optional but I think for the keys -- well you'll be competing for the same session gigs against people who have performance degrees from Berklee, Juilliard, etc., in addition to their years of professional experience.

I watched a "behind the scenes" clip the other day about a studio session in London for a movie I've never heard of. Turned out the pianist sitting in for the session was Yuja Wang. I mean, how does one compete with someone like her?


Sure, and my feeling would be ‘you can’t compete’! Here, you’re describing just one corner of the session world where of necessity you need the kind of musicians you describe but since the advent of ‘modern’ pop music – from say the early 60s – there’s been a sizeable core of rhythm section session musicians who, from a more or less shaky, ear-playing start, cut their teeth playing in bands. I’m thinking particularly of guys playing guitar, bass and drums but also keyboards/piano many of them far more skilled in their own specialisms (C&W, Soul, R&B, Blues etc) than their classically trained counterparts.

This is also a difficult session world to penetrate but the necessary skill set is different from that required by most film and TV commercial sessions which are scored in detail. Of course, there are exceptions but generally a formal musical education is rarely going to be of much use in the former.

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#2168548 - 10/19/13 02:38 PM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
I think for keys, unless you're already an established session musician "from the old days" (60s-80s), more and more the field is getting dominated by people who went to school (have solid technique & theory) plus have many years of experience in various professional capacities (bands, etc.)

Part of the reason is because today we have top musicians from Jazz-oriented schools like Berklee and UNT, in addition to the glut of classically trained Curtis and Juilliard graduates, in addition to all the fine graduates from the thousands of other music colleges and university programs worldwide.

That is, wide access to high quality post-secondary music education means the bar has been lifted for musicians everywhere. All these schools are cranking out many many more musicians than there are jobs, so the competition for any job is really intense.

The guy/gal playing that simple 3-chord keyboard part in a pop recording might have a doctorate degree in piano performance. Sad but true.

For the recording industry in particular there are a couple of trends which favor musicians who went to various schools:

- Audiences today demand note-perfect performances in any genre. Everyone is expected to play with perfect technique. Minor sloppiness which might have been tolerated in the past are no longer acceptable in professional recordings.

- More than ever, time is money. Studio time in particular is expensive. The record label producer is not going to tolerate any session musician who's anything but top notch.

Musicians who started out their early careers with a diploma or degree in performance have an edge vs. everyone else. The gap between the "professional" player and the "amateur" player is always widening, and it's difficult to be a professional player these days without spending years perfecting your technique in schools.

There is room in the music industry for those who didn't go to school. E.g., I know a terrific singer/songwriter here, and school is just not for her. But when she goes to record, she's surrounded and complemented by A-list musicians who all went top schools. It's just the way it is.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

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#2168647 - 10/19/13 07:03 PM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: TheHappyMoron]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 559
Loc: Germany
Here's my two cents.

After passing Abitur (the German equivalent of A level), I started to study computer science. Because that's what I wanted to do.
One question I heard fairly often at the time, from non-musicians who heard me play the piano, was: Why are you not studying music. I guess my piano playing must have impressed them. So after 2 years, when I hit a wall in computer science theory, I guess I asked myself the same question. So I dropped out of computer science and went to find a place to study music and math with the goal to become a schoolteacher.
After two years, when I was 23 years old, I started to study music, and later graduated from university in music and math. Due to another change of university I was already 30 when I graduated.
After one year of teacher's training I decided that teaching was not the job for me. So I quit, and started a training to become a technical writer. This lasted one year, and afterwards I immediately found a job at a software company, and I've been working there ever since.

So I've come back to the roots. My job is working with computers and computer programs, and I do music as a hobby.
I fit into the category of hobby musician with a well-paying full-time job. And I was almost 33 when I got a job at that company.

So to the OP: You can go to university to study music; but don't expect to make money with it. On the other hand, it's never too late to learn a job with which you can make money. If people tell you that you should have a job by age 30: Take that advice with a grain of salt.
Another thing: Don't get into debt. I am lucky to live in Germany where there were no university fees at the time I went there. I don't know the situation today; but getting into debt is not a good idea IMO.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2168765 - 10/20/13 02:34 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: patH]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17941
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: patH
[...]
Another thing: Don't get into debt. I am lucky to live in Germany where there were no university fees at the time I went there. I don't know the situation today; but getting into debt is not a good idea IMO.


I don't know how so many young people just out of university (in North American, mostly) and either not yet working or in low-payings job and with mountains of debt hanging over their heads can sleep at night. More and more, however, from what I hear and read that seems to becoming the norm. These are the people, I am afraid, who will spend so much of their early earning years struggling with their low incomes to pay off huge debts, to the point that they may have little money to build for a secure future wherein they can look forward to enjoying the fruits of their labours.

It's a sad situation.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2168780 - 10/20/13 04:00 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: peekay]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1243
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: peekay
Everyone is expected to play with perfect technique. Minor sloppiness which might have been tolerated in the past are no longer acceptable in professional recordings.

.... It's just the way it is.


Yep, Mac Rebennack got away with murder....

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#2168854 - 10/20/13 09:56 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: cefinow]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: boo1234


People need to stop living in fantasy land where you can be what you want to be and should do what you love to do. It doesn't pay the bills.

Simply the truth. However, most members here do not like these facts.


What if you become "what you want to be" and "do what you love to do," and it pays the bills? (smirk) It does happen, you know. It's not fantasy land, it's the land of blood, sweat & tears sometimes.

That does happen and I know some of my friends who are exactly doing what they love to do and earning a lot of money.

However, those are VERY RARE. It takes not only your own personal skill and knowledge, but also luck and sometimes, your nationality.

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#2168857 - 10/20/13 10:01 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: btb]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: btb
Lai from US/Hong Kong might just need to add to his guesses ... perhaps, 4,5,6 ...
“That the majority of members are either
1. Music hobbyists with a well-paid full time job.
2. Retired or near retirement music hobbyists.
3. Well established music teachers in their 60s.”
The Chinese gentleman chooses his words delicately in suggesting
“either patronizing or criticizing replies.”

How about
“experienced, well travelled and sympathetically interested.”

Kind regards, btb




Interesting reply. Let's see:

Experienced: in what way? There are numerous of different kind of experience.

Well traveled: Is it well connected or well traveled? One can travel around the world without making any career enhancing connections, or one can travel to 3 countries making career changing connections.

Sympathetically interested: As you said, just interested, maybe doesn't really care.

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#2168859 - 10/20/13 10:05 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: patH]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: patH
So to the OP: You can go to university to study music; but don't expect to make money with it. On the other hand, it's never too late to learn a job with which you can make money. If people tell you that you should have a job by age 30: Take that advice with a grain of salt.
Another thing: Don't get into debt. I am lucky to live in Germany where there were no university fees at the time I went there. I don't know the situation today; but getting into debt is not a good idea IMO.

Couldn't agree more.

But the good thing in learning piano is, you will never run out of students. There are a huge demand in piano lessons everywhere, compared to, say, flute or saxophone. And there are many community colleges have class piano.

So if you are into teaching piano, you can guarantee an OK income.

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#2168901 - 10/20/13 11:42 AM Re: pros and cons of university [Re: BruceD]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 508
Originally Posted By: BruceD

I don't know how so many young people just out of university (in North American, mostly) and either not yet working or in low-payings job and with mountains of debt hanging over their heads can sleep at night. More and more, however, from what I hear and read that seems to becoming the norm. These are the people, I am afraid, who will spend so much of their early earning years struggling with their low incomes to pay off huge debts, to the point that they may have little money to build for a secure future wherein they can look forward to enjoying the fruits of their labours.

It's a sad situation.

Regards,


The problem is that majority of them are paying $50k+ per year for degrees in things they like (languages, sociology, renaissance art, underwater basket weaving grin ...) rather than something that will get them a high paying job. Compound that with them not being able to get important internships during school because their major has no practical application and you have a lot of unexperienced/un-hireable people with a boat load of debt that they have no way of repaying.

How many of the top touring concert pianists have come out of conservatories who were not already famous before they went into one? I'd venture to say the number is quite low, making me believe that if you have not been discovered by the time you're about to go into college, it's not going to happen for you if you dream about being a touring artist, therefore you should pick something else to do.

I think it's partly the parents fault and a society that indoctrinates kids with the belief that they can do anything and will be happy if they follow their heart's desire. Well, yes you can be anything and study anything in school, but you're going to be saddled with a lot of debt on your way out if you choose poorly.

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