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Music education or performance for undergrad?


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Craig Swartz
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

drayhn wrote:
nothing worse than a teacher who doesnt want to teach.

Unless it's a trumpet major who can't land a gig and has to end up at Blockbuster or 7-11 after spending 5 years in undergrad and amassing $60K in school debt.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonie wrote:
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.

I agree. There are many things that will take away from time practicing your instrument, but methods classes won't be a significant one.

I can't say about getting different professors. This wasn't an issue at my college.
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Musicdude2013
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am currently a Music Ed major and as far as methods classes go, the work load isn't that terrible. Granted I only took a piano methods course this past year and ever quarter there was only like 3 quizzes and they were pretty easy. As far as practice time I have spent on piano this year for quizzes is probably less than 10 hours and I got an A every quarter.
hope this helps.
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Craig Swartz
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
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.
Absolutely the case except I never really disliked all the theoretical psych and (in my case) fairly useless education classes, taught exclusively by profs who hadn't set foot into a public school since they day they graduated, if they attended public schools at all, because they cut into my practice time. I had time for that, and beer, too. I believe most people do, it's all a matter of priorities and structuring the available time.

In my case, had the internet existed in 1973, it would have more likely cut into my personal prep/practice time than the coursework.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig Swartz wrote:
drayhn wrote:
nothing worse than a teacher who doesnt want to teach.

Unless it's a trumpet major who can't land a gig and has to end up at Blockbuster or 7-11 after spending 5 years in undergrad and amassing $60K in school debt.

Spot on.

After all, I know many performance majors and most of them don't work don't at Blockbuster... oh except for one who actually does. Most of the rest work at WalMart, Target, Jimmy Johns, Applebees, TGI Friday's, and the Olive Garden - at least the ones that are employed. Seriously.
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Paul Tomashefsky
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.


There were definitley "some" players who succumbed to the "I'm going to teach, so I don't have to practice anymore" mentality. . .
While Music Ed majors may take a bit more in terms of Academics, I found the "biggest barrier" to adequate practice time was the "party mentality" I obtained my Music Ed (BM) while attending Berklee College, and because of my own "personal practice / performance habits & ethics" I was able to land spots in top school ensembles (Buddy Rich, Thad Jones, Count Basie, studio recording ensemble) and made the "effort" to schedule 2 personal recitals (Junior & Senior) as well as perform in fellow student senior recitals and gigs on the side. All this while holding down a work study job!!!!! You can attend Julliard, NEC, or North Texas State, but if YOU don't take the initiative to put your self out there as a player, you might as well get an apprenticeship as a plumber. . .

The College is NOT going to make you a better player, YOU are going to make yourself a more marketable player by studying, practicing, and making personal connections (networking) with other musicians (this includes acting responsibly and treating your fellow musicians with respect!)
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coviman
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got my BM in Music Ed from Ithaca College and am now starting my MM in Performance at University of Maryland, so I know the route your teacher is talking about.

For me, it was the perfect scenario. I want to do something involving music, whether it's teaching or playing. Now, if you really don't want to teach, don't bother. I just wanted to address the part about it possibly hurting your trumpet playing.

Now, most people will tell you that taking time away from the trumpet to practice oboe, clarinet, horn, whatever it be, will not help your trumpet playing and can even hurt it. I beg to differ. I spent a semester on every woodwind instrument, and half semesters on the brass instruments. I feel that this helped me grow as a trumpet player. I now know exactly how all of these instruments function, their tuning tendencies, and the personalities that go along with the instruments. I am a much better ensemble player because I know what I'm listening to and for when I'm playing unison lines with other instruments or what have you. Learning about other instruments can only help you become a better musician. Example, the best college aged percussionist I know, knows trumpet music better than I do, knows tuba music better than my tuba playing roommate, and knows clarinet music better than my girlfriend. Because of this, he plays with finesse I have found hard to find in most places, and is doing well for himself in NYC.
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rockford
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several of my previous positions involved developing the syllabus for flight training for military aviators and government agents as well as evaluating training programs for a large regional airline. My background in music education put me in the short stack for consideration for these jobs. One of the questions at the interview was "how does your music background relate to what we do here". The actual answer was more involved for a message board but the short story is that the classes in educational psychology, teaching reading, teaching in a pluralistic society and classes in running a music department all have a direct bearing on working with people from a variety of backgrounds as well as dealing with colleagues and other professionals in the teaching environment. Just like trumpet playing, learning to fly at any level involves a great deal of individual study and motivation as well as subjective skills like turning abstracts (written music/aviation charts) into concretes (sound/flight profile). I could go on but the main reason I'm sharing this is that there are many reasons to pursue a music education, business or whatever other subject lights your fire course of study. Loaded for bear on a seemingly innocent question I got the job. Whatever route you go be sure you know how it relates to the real world and be able to verbalize what experiences and training you have to offer to potential employers in and out of music. Music is fun and a noble endeavor. If you can make it pay the bills then by all means have at it. Even then don't be a one dimensional person. There's a lot of interesting stuff to do if you have your eyes open.
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mafields627
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't do it unless you know for certain that you want to teach public school music.

I'm going into my fifth year as a band director (grades 6-12) and the demands that are you put on you are constant. You've got to be a janitor, a psychologist, a disciplinarian, a nurse, a transportation director, an accountant, and eventually you get to teach music. The two weeks of our drum camp and band camp this year I worked over 120 hours. I'm currently on my 14th straight day of work out of the past 15 days (yes, I did go in this past Sunday afternoon) and will, hopefully, get a band free day this coming Sunday. I make more than most band directors with my experience because I have a master's degree and teach in a small, rural city school system that has a higher pay scale than most county systems, but I still don't make MINIMUM WAGE for the hours I put in. I rarely play anymore and haven't had a Friday night off between the end of August and the end of October in five years. Last year, the football team won the state championship so our last football game was December 2.

If you're dead set on getting a music ed degree, be ready for classes from 8am-5pm possibly, no room for a minor, and probably five years as an undergrad. Also, if you're dead set on it, I'd suggest teaching elementary music or middle school band while taking lessons and preparing for a performance career. You just won't have time if you're teaching high school band.
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bigdanv
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It comes down to this: people go to college to learn skills and earn a degree that makes it possible to land a job after graduation. If this isn't your goal heading into college, then you should examine your motives for even pursuing higher education at all.

As far as I'm concerned, a performance degree is not necessarily a viable option in the real world. Sure there are many who make it work. But for every person who successfully makes his living playing the trumpet, there are more who tried and could not. All a performance degree does is show that you know how to play the trumpet. To make a living nowadays, you need to be able to do more than just play the trumpet.

If you decide to go for music ed, CAREFULLY examine the program you choose to enter. Look at the course requirements. Keep in mind that while the course load will probably look quite large, you will in most cases still have time to practice a sufficient number of hours. Most good programs hold their music ed majors to the same standard they hold their performance majors. For example, many schools do blind auditions to determine ensemble placement, thus eliminating prejudice. Bottom line is this - if you choose the right program, it shouldn't impair your trumpet playing.

If you are quite strongly opposed by the thought of music ed, then consider a double major or a minor.

If you decide to go strictly into performance, good luck.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mafields627 wrote:
If you're dead set on getting a music ed degree, be ready for classes from 8am-5pm possibly, no room for a minor, and probably five years as an undergrad.

I have to say, this wasn't my experience at all - and I went to a private Midwestern liberal arts college that has both a well-regarded education program and music program. I had a busy schedule, but not abnormally so. People with science majors who needed to go to labs had a far more demanding schedule. While it did take ME four and a half years to graduate, I had a totally unrelated minor, and nearly fulfilled another while I postponed my education track for a semester.

The college's schedule for completing a music education degree was laid out in a four year plan. Getting in the appropriate classes was a given. My class load wasn't any fuller than anyone else's and indeed my work load (other than practicing) was less. Almost all of my demanding classes were outside of the music and education department - with one or two exceptions. This isn't to say that an education degree is easy, or easier than another program, but I have to chime in with my experience because your bleak picture and workload isn't universally the case.

Getting into classes at a larger public university might be harder, but often the actual workload in classes is less - in my experience. Not always, but often. Obviously Matt had a different regarding experience regarding workload somewhere, but I'm not sure if it's how common it is. My personal experience - at several institutions - dictate otherwise.

Your comments about teaching high school band, however, are spot on - especially if you have a marching program and even more if it's a serious marching program. Be prepared to have no life, at all. Except for 2 years after college, I clearly wasn't cut out for that.
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mafields627
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finn, when did you graduate? Maybe we did graduate around the same time (2006 for me) and things really are that different, but I wonder if you graduated before I did and stuff like No Child Left Behind had something to do with it.

At my school, you always had theory, music history, or (as an upper classman) a music ed class at 8AM. Mid morning was either theory lab, an academic class, or a music ed class. Early afternoon was either an academic class, theory 3 and 4, or a music ed class. Ensemble started at 1 pm and several semesters my afternoon schedule was Wind Ensemble (2 pm), Lesson (3 pm), Marching Band/Symphonic Band (4-5:30).

On top of that, I was a commuter, so there was no running back and forth to the dorm or apartment. I lived a good 40 minutes out of town.

But, in terms of requirements, our music ed major was 148 credit hours.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not having read many of the previous posts, sorry if I repeat things already said. I had very much the same experience when I was about to graduate high school (about 4.5 years ago!) I decided on Music Education on the sheer thought that you don't need a piece of paper that says you can play and music education at the very least allows you to obtain a stable job on a much less competitive level.

Now that I'm wrapping up my degree studies, I have been affirmed many times that I made the right decision. I've thought many times about what I might have missed had I done performance. At the very least, I have gained some teaching techniques that improve my own performance. Learning how to teach something puts your practicing on a much more thoughtful level, I feel. Because music teachers learn to constantly evaluate others, they internalize the evaluation of practice procedures and the systems behind conceptual learning. They aren't just evaluating students, their evaluating their teaching techniques.

I have the same plans as you it seems. Teach on the college level as well to play in a professional setting. Both are achievable by either major, but I would be biased to assume that the education major will be more equipped to teach on the college level. I've heard of many professors who could play their a$$ off but really had a hard time getting the students to participate in active and thoughtful practice and learning.

Music majors, regardless of degree program will have to work very hard. After student teaching, I should have earned 172 credit hours in a five year period. I've had ample performance/ensemble time with up to seven ensembles in one or two semesters. It is also possible to double major; since the requirement for both aren't that far off, it is certainly a doable task. You just might have to stay a little longer.

Hope this helps. Teaching is a very rewarding task, hard to do and not very financially rewarding, but seeing the growth in student performance is like winning the best trophy/prize at NTC (or the like).
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mafields627 wrote:
Finn, when did you graduate? Maybe we did graduate around the same time (2006 for me) and things really are that different, but I wonder if you graduated before I did and stuff like No Child Left Behind had something to do with it.

At my school, you always had theory, music history, or (as an upper classman) a music ed class at 8AM. Mid morning was either theory lab, an academic class, or a music ed class. Early afternoon was either an academic class, theory 3 and 4, or a music ed class. Ensemble started at 1 pm and several semesters my afternoon schedule was Wind Ensemble (2 pm), Lesson (3 pm), Marching Band/Symphonic Band (4-5:30).

On top of that, I was a commuter, so there was no running back and forth to the dorm or apartment. I lived a good 40 minutes out of town.

But, in terms of requirements, our music ed major was 148 credit hours.

I have no idea about the "credit hours." We didn't use that system of credits.

I went to college in the mid to late 90's (1994-1998). I had all the same classes as you did, and some were challenging. Somehow, it didn't feel particularly taxing, though. The homework load for many wasn't too bad.

It's been over 10 years since I graduated, so I'm a bit unsure, but:

- Music Theory at either 8:30-9:40 or 10:30-11:40 MWF for two years. Theory was hard.
- Ear Training/Sight Singing same time T-Th for two years. This was hard for me.
- I can't remember if Music History was just Sophomore year or both freshman and Sophomore year. I think it was just one year.
- I took Counterpoint during a summer session.
- Conducting was at 10:30 and methods classes (strings, winds, percussion) were at 1:20 junior year for the full year along with World Music for a semester.
- There also was a Music education theory class I remember almost nothing about. Education Psychology was that year as well.
- Senior year had a general music method class, and some other general education classes. You also had a session of clinicals (mini-student teaching) your 3rd year and a entire semester of student teaching your 4th year.

Theory and music history were the tough classes for me. Counterpoint would have, but it was in a compressed, yet more relaxed pace in the summer (with no other classes). I did have a job at the time, though.

In addition, you needed to fulfill a liberal arts portion so you had to pick from a variety of areas to fill that out and freshman had writing and communication and religion requirements. So over my career I also had Literature classes, Philosophy classes (almost a minor in that), and a class in Shakespeare - which was great. These almost always had a far more heavy workload than my music or education classes due to the papers that were required.

My ensembles - the College Band (top wind band) met 5:00-6:20 MWF. College Orchestra was 4:30-6:20 TTh. If you weren't in both, there were usually sectionals on the off days at the same time.

I often spent the hours from 8 or 9pm-11 or 12 practicing in the music building. Not every night, but many nights.

I did live on or very near campus, though, so maybe it didn't feel like a big burden. It was just the life.
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amtrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a music ed major at a small liberal arts college for two years, and now I'm a music ed major at a large state university. The only thing that is really consistent between the two programs is that I take a full course load every term, and I have to put in 16-18 hour days if I want to get all my classwork done, practice a good amount, and play in the ensembles I want to play in. This would not be the case if I were a performance major.

Music ed degrees are a pain in the ass. You will sit through hour after hour of pointless, mind-numbing education classes that will make you want to stab yourself in the frontal lobe with a fork. If you are only looking for a backup, there are a number of career paths in which you could make more money with less effort, and you would probably have more job security too. Pick up a minor in something useful. If you are actually inclined to teach (or think that you might be so inclined at some point in the future), then the hassle of the ed degree is worth it. But it is still a pain in the ass.
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Paul Tomashefsky
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
classes in educational psychology, teaching reading, teaching in a pluralistic society and classes in running a music department all have a direct bearing on working with people from a variety of backgrounds as well as dealing with colleagues and other professionals in the teaching environment. Just like trumpet playing, learning to fly at any level involves a great deal of individual study and motivation as well as subjective skills like turning abstracts (written music/aviation charts) into concretes (sound/flight profile).
LOVE This perspective . . .

I think after you teach for a couple of years you could run for political office and do VERY well, after having to deal with ALL the political BS that goes with the job. . .
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teacherchops
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my two cents on this:
I did a Bachelor of Music Ed. degree then a Masters of Performance. I did not take the Ed. degree as a back up. I took it to learn more about teaching in general, because I realized that at some point I would be teaching, whether it be privately or in a school system. During my undergrad I still managed to practice a great deal, the Music Ed. stuff really didn't get in the way of that (sometimes the pub did!).
The Ed. degree has served me well, as I am now the music director at a high school and a sessional lecturer in applied trumpet at a university.
At the university this question comes up quite a bit, and I try to teach my students that although they may be Music Ed. majors I expect them to excel at trumpet playing to the best of their abilities. In order to be a great music educator you have to be many things including being a great musician, great listener and a great communicator.
One final thing: Do Not pursue music education as a back up to anything. You must LOVE teaching as it is a very demanding occupation, that requires a great deal of time, patience, understanding and perseverance.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to offer a perspective from someone who is teaching.

This is my 4th year as an elementary band director. I love my job. I don't love my career. Teaching isn't so much about what you know as it is how you pass that on to your students - whatever age they may be. If you want to play, then play. That's one nice thing about not teaching High School - you get to still have a life. Yes, music ed degrees are a PITA. Still, it was good practice for the 18-hour days that I put in EVERY day of the week. Learning things like budgeting time, prioritizing, multitasking, and how to stay focused and on task is beneficial no matter what your career. I was undecided when I was your age, too (heck, I still am, especially now, but that's another thread topic). You might find that you actually enjoy teaching. What drives so many people away from the field is all the red tape and hoops that you have to deal with. I spend as much time maintaining my inventory and setting up chairs and stands as I do actually teaching. Be prepared for that.

I think the most important thing to consider, though, is that you're not locked into anything you don't want to do - the fact that some 75% of college grads do something other than their major is telling. As you get older and your life experiences start to culminate, your plans may and probably will change.

Like buying horns, this probably won't be your only path through life. Whatever you do, best of luck.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if this has been addressed, but some schools do a program where you can do both majors at the same time. That's what I'm doing at the Hartt school. I'm not looking to make a career out of music ed, but it's there and it's still something I would enjoy doing. if you look around at some schools I'm pretty sure that others offer this program too. You're here for 5 years and you end up getting 2 degrees at the end of it
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Hack001
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was advised the same as you-- do Mus Ed as a backup degree, and I did. If you want a backup degree, do something that will take less of your time than MusEd.... history, elementary ed, english, etc. MusEd is TOUGH, and is a time hog. If your heart isn't into it, you'll hate every minute of it.

That being said, while I hated every minute of my life until I got handed that degree, I regret none of it. Getting the Ed degree was the best decision of my life, and no matter how far I decide to take my trumpet playing, I don't worry that I won't be able to eat-- I can teach, or sub until I do get a teaching gig.

Don't worry that if you decide to go the Ed route you won't be able to practice. It's tougher to find time, but not impossible. The toughest part for me was taking Master's auditions when I was student teaching. Yikes. Lots of car buzzing. And clarinet methods will F*** up your chops.

At any rate, I'm now working on my DMA. And I have an Ed degree. It can be done. I feel that I am MUCH farther ahead than many people in the same place as myself because I have those 5 years of experience in my undergrad where I learned not only how to teach, but how to relate to people in the professional world, how to work through problems, make resumes, contact schools, teach whomever I need to (beginners, HS, horn, tbone, clarinet) to make money, and so much more. When/if I go to apply for college gigs, I have the ed background that will make me much more marketable and versatile than someone with 3 performance degrees.

Best of luck to you. If you have any questions about the ed degree or life after, please send me a PM. I'm more than happy to talk more about this.
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