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Music education or performance for undergrad?


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bach101
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:25 am    Post subject: Music education or performance for undergrad? Reply with quote

Hi guys i just had a lesson with my private teacher and we talked alot about why he thinks i should get a music education degree. His idea was that what if you don't get a job after college you have something to fall back on and then I could do my masters in performance. I really don't want to do education I heard that you have to learn to play a little of all the instruments and whouldn't that take alot of time away from your trumpet studies? Plus he told me that you can be a Music education major and still win jobs and be as good as a music performance major. He told me he was a music education major at eastman and he won the prinicipal position in Houston, but maybe he was just really good when he went in to college. Any thoughts and opinions? Thank you.
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drayhn
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nothing worse than a teacher who doesnt want to teach.
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PAB
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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nothing worse than a teacher who doesnt want to teach.


What he said.

Your teacher is right - music ed majors can be monster players. But if you don't want to teach, don't. It wouldn't be fair to yourself (you'd be miserable) or your students.

-Ben
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bach101
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I definitly want to teach someday, but at a college level which i'm not sure, correct me if i'm wrong, you don't need to have a music ed. degree. it goes by your playing history (that's what my teacher said, he told me his music ed degree did not get him his college teaching job, his experinece as prinicipal trumpet in the Hoston Symphony for 14 years did) so I figured, wouldn't doing music performance get you a better job and then in return a college job?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't do music ed unless you want to teach K-12 public schools IMO.
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Nonsense Eliminator
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This question has been asked many times, with very similar results.

I think there are two things to consider: Whether education is a reasonable backup, and whether the particular MusEd degree you end up in will interfere with your ability to succeed as a performer.

Some people feel that you should only consider a MusEd degree if you Really Want to Be a Teacher. This, in my opinion, ignores the fact that in any line of work, including playing or teaching music, most people eventually get at least a little fed up with their job at least some of the time. At that point, what is important is not whether you were enthusiastic about the prospect of the job when you were in high school; what is important is whether or not you're any good at it and whether or not you have the work ethic to give it the attention it deserves when you would really rather be doing something else.

So, if you actively do not want to teach high school, and would prefer to find some other kind of work if playing for a living doesn't pan out, then I would suggest that you not pursue a MusEd degree; take elective courses in something that will be more useful to you. Otherwise, a MusEd degree makes sense as a backup plan. There are plenty of successful performers with education degrees; there are also plenty of teachers who had to go back to school to get their teaching qualifications after performance didn't work out.

The other issue is whether or not taking a MusEd degree will make you a worse player, there's no question that spending time you could be practicing the trumpet practicing the oboe (or whatever) is not helpful. However, the reality in most programs is that as a performance major you will have plenty of free time that you were probably going to waste anyway. The key is not ending up in a program where being an Ed major is actively harmful. For instance, in some programs you might be required to play in the marching band, or actually practice the oboe more than twice a semester. In schools with large performance programs, it can be the case that Ed majors are effectively excluded from playing in the better ensembles. These are factors that would actively interfere with your progress, but they are by no means present at all schools. The only way to find out is to do some research at the schools you're considered.

That said, I did a performance degree, in part because my teacher suggested that having a safety net might encourage you to use it. I think that you might also have further discussions with your teacher about the matter. In particular, you might try to find out how likely your teacher thinks it is that you will need a backup career plan.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:33 am    Post subject: Music Ed vs Performance Reply with quote

I know several "Monster" players (Terell Stafford) being one of them, that got their Music Ed degrees before going on the road and becoming successful performance artists. Also, what happens if you have an accident or health issue (Bells Palsy etc. . .) that prevents you from playing? what do you do for an income to pay rent, college loans, feed the family? I got my Music Ed BM at Berklee College, and continue to have inspiring and worthwhile performance opportunities. . .

I knew a very successful musician (Trumpeter) in NYC that had his face go through a car windshield in the 1970's . . . couldn't play for about 6 months. . . but thankfully had a teaching gig to help feed his 5 kids and wife at home. . . (just something to consider) Good luck. In the end, do what makes you inspired and Happy!
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gbdeamer
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bach101 wrote:
Oh I definitly want to teach someday, but at a college level which i'm not sure, correct me if i'm wrong, you don't need to have a music ed. degree. it goes by your playing history (that's what my teacher said, he told me his music ed degree did not get him his college teaching job, his experinece as prinicipal trumpet in the Hoston Symphony for 14 years did) so I figured, wouldn't doing music performance get you a better job and then in return a college job?


While his Music Ed degree didn't get him the job, it's what put him in contention. Most institutions want their educators to be good teachers. That typically requires some kind of music education certification. If you want to compete in the field of music education, then you need the apropriate degrees. At the college level that means you'll need a Masters as well.

If you're a MONSTER player like Allen Vizzutti then you could land a gig as an "artist in residence", but I suspect those are few and far between.

In my opinion your teacher makes a lot of sense. If you want to teach "some day" it's FAR easier to pay your dues in a music ed program now while you're young and have fewer responsibilities.
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rockford
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bach101 wrote:
Oh I definitly want to teach someday, but at a college level which i'm not sure, correct me if i'm wrong, you don't need to have a music ed. degree. it goes by your playing history (that's what my teacher said, he told me his music ed degree did not get him his college teaching job, his experinece as prinicipal trumpet in the Hoston Symphony for 14 years did) so I figured, wouldn't doing music performance get you a better job and then in return a college job?
College degrees in musical performance, in of themselves, do not get you a job playing trumpet. Your personal and playing abilities do. A music degree is just one way of getting part of the pre-professional experience you need to compete in the music world. Regardless of what you pursue try not to be just a one dimensional trumpet operator. There's plenty of those guys around scraping for random gigs or low paid college studio teaching positions. There are lots of interesting jobs where a musical background is an asset. The music industry needs attorneys, agents, promoters, venue managers, artist representatives, salespeople, recording engineers, office staff and so on. If all you want to do in music is blow your trumpet well..........good luck with that.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rockford wrote:
bach101 wrote:
Oh I definitly want to teach someday, but at a college level which i'm not sure, correct me if i'm wrong, you don't need to have a music ed. degree. it goes by your playing history (that's what my teacher said, he told me his music ed degree did not get him his college teaching job, his experinece as prinicipal trumpet in the Hoston Symphony for 14 years did) so I figured, wouldn't doing music performance get you a better job and then in return a college job?
College degrees in musical performance, in of themselves, do not get you a job playing trumpet. Your personal and playing abilities do. A music degree is just one way of getting part of the pre-professional experience you need to compete in the music world. Regardless of what you pursue try not to be just a one dimensional trumpet operator. There's plenty of those guys around scraping for random gigs or low paid college studio teaching positions. There are lots of interesting jobs where a musical background is an asset. The music industry needs attorneys, agents, promoters, venue managers, artist representatives, salespeople, recording engineers, office staff and so on. If all you want to do in music is blow your trumpet well..........good luck with that.


...and in virtually all of those jobs...and also in college teaching...a music ed degree gives you no advantage over a performance degree (or a jazz degree, or a theory degree, etc).
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loudog
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost dropped my music education degree in college.

My teacher thought I should just finish it, because it would "serve me well in the future." My goals were/are to teach college/university.

I finished my undergrad, student taught and everything, got certified to teach (in Nebraska). Went and did my MM in trumpet performance immediately (at Penn State). Moved back to Nebraska to teach for a few years before I go do my DMA. That's where I'm at now. I definitely don't want to do this forever, but am enjoying it, and getting INVALUABLE experience. When I finished my MM, I applied for 13 college jobs. Didn't get one interview. Checked up on every one of them. The overall consensus was that the bigger issue was the fact that I didn't have any TEACHING experience (other than my TA at PSU), and the lack of a DMA. They ALL said that the DMA was sorta secondary, but they wanted good teachers.

So I'm a good place now. I'll have 5 years of public school teaching under my belt, then I'll go get my DMA. I keep up playing a lot. I do two recitals a year, and play with a professional brass quintet, among other things. I wish I had an orchestra gig (my main forte), but that market is pretty dry around here. I am, however, playing the Arutunian with an orchestra in September. I still get at least 3 hrs of practice in a day (1 before school, 2-3 in the afternoon/evening). It's possible. You can do it. I'm playing better now than I ever have before.

Plus having that teaching experience will hopefully help me nail down another TA for my DMA.

That's my 2 cents! FWIW!

Louie
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jscahoy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So many music ed majors either never teach, or quit after a few years and end up selling insurance. Don't be one. If you are really okay with the possibility of public school teaching, get the ed degree. Otherwise consider putting that effort towards a second major that prepares you for a day job that you can actually tolerate.
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wvtrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am completely in favor of getting a music ed degree!!! Having a performance degree does not "make you a great player". I know guys without any degree that can play their butts off!!!! The name Wynton Marsalis ring a bell?

Music Ed. degrees are very "marketable" degrees. Most will look at this degree and know that you had to go through a lot of hoops to obtain it. What can it hurt???? You can still take part in everything that a performance major does at your said university.

Learning to play the other band/orchestra instruments is very minimal to say the least. You do not have to be a virtuoso on each band instrument. Your instrumental ped. classes only expect you to have a basic understanding of fundamentals on the woodwinds, brasses, strings and percussion.

As an education major in undergrad school, I did not want to mess up my chops so I practiced enough on the other instruments to be able to receive credit and move on!!! I for one am glad that I received a teaching degree. I am able to live a comfortable life and I still am very active performing with groups ranging from symphonies to big band gigs.

Bottom Line, is to do what you feel comfortable doing. We don't need more band directors in the world that don't want to be there working with kids!!! We do however want band directors that are great performers themselves and they bring that professional knowledge and attitude with them to their students!!! Best
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Musicdude2013
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't teach with a performance degree

And if you can play you can play (thats all orchestras care about)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Musicdude2013 wrote:
You can't teach with a performance degree

And if you can play you can play (thats all orchestras care about)


You can't teach public school k-12 without a music Ed degree but you don't need an Ed degree to teach college, private school, private studio...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

During my time in military music, I always thought I wanted to get a performance degree. I started doing some volunteer work in local schools and teaching private lessons. What I found was that I really liked teaching. Doing it as a "fallback" is not advisable for reasons that others have mentioned. When you begin to look into schools, make sure (as someone said) you won't be left out of upper ensembles and won't be treated any differently than a performance major.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I really don't want to do education I heard that you have to learn to play a little of all the instruments and whouldn't that take alot of time away from your trumpet studies?


I wouldn't worry so much about that. Most people don't put much time into their methods classes. Don't think it will require an extra hour or two per day of practice, more like 15-20 minutes.

Another thing to think about is who you will be studying with. At some schools (usually the more selective ones), the professor only teaches the performance majors while the TA teaches the ed majors. Some will allow you to double in performance and education, but you should find out up front.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At most schools Ed majors take substantially more academic classes. This, not methods classes, are the most common barrier to adequate practice time for music ed majors.
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trumpet_dad
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I really don't want to do education I heard that you have to learn to play a little of all the instruments and whouldn't that take alot of time away from your trumpet studies?


At this stage of the game, you really shouldn't be relying on what you hear, but what you, yourself, have determined to be true. My son's a high school junior and is starting to get serious about college planning. Using UNT's College of Music as a reference, we made a spreadsheet of (almost) all the music degrees in order to see the similarities and differences among programs.

It didn't change his mind about music ed, but he's gone from leaning toward a performance major to seriously considering jazz studies (arranging emphasis) or possibly even composition! His reasoning is that he would still get lessons and have the chance to play in ensembles but would also be learning other marketable skills.

On other thing to watch for in deciding between performance and music ed (or other "concentrations" for that matter) is that at some schools, performance majors get the "name" faculty and others get graduate assistants. Not that you can't learn from a graduate assistant, but if I were about to spend a lot of money on a degree program, I'd want to make sure I knew in advance what I was getting. Again, you've got to do your research.

Good luck with your decision.

Steve
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jscahoy wrote:
So many music ed majors either never teach, or quit after a few years and end up selling insurance. Don't be one.

Right - because every performance major is out there earning their bread with from performing on the instrument they have a degree in. And EVERYONE is always using their degree - any degree - to earn a living.

jscahoy wrote:
If you are really okay with the possibility of public school teaching, get the ed degree. Otherwise consider putting that effort towards a second major that prepares you for a day job that you can actually tolerate.

On the other hand, you're right. In college it's nice to live in la-la land and study whatever floats your boat regardless of whether you can make a living with that degree - philosophy majors, English majors, music performance majors, art history majors - in fact, most degrees don't have direct pipelines into specific employment (or ones that actually have a viable market). So - taking this into consideration when picking out your majors and minors isn't a bad thing at all. Whether that's studying eduction in addition or taking classes in I.T. or accounting or whatever, it's good to think about some real-world applications.
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