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Music education or performance for undergrad?


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ghsdirector
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've skimmed through most of this thread.

I'll just throw out a couple of things to consider:

Universities are not trade schools. The end result of a well paying job is not always a priority for the university, but it certainly was for me.

If you're going to be a performance major, you should probably move to New York or some place where you can make a lot of contacts while you're an undergraduate. I mean, if you're really going to go for it...

I'm a high school band director. I love my job. We have a band program that we're very proud of, and I have a life outside of school. I still practice and play. I accept gigs only when I want them. I'm not beating myself up as a freelance performer. When I was younger I didn't want to be a band director. Like a lot of guys on here, all I wanted to do was play, but time changes things and now I am very happy to be teaching. All I'm saying is that your priorities may change with time.

I guess I'm with the pro-music-ed crowd, even if you don't use it. Sure that degree is a tough one to get, but it can be a lot of fun. I was on cloud nine while I was an undergraduate. I had just gotten out of the navy, had a new lease on life, and was playing my trumpet all the time! There's worse things you could be doing. Good luck!
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Paul Tomashefsky
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
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.


Amen to That my friend . . . .
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billybobb
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since YOU have indicated you ONLY want to teach on the collegiate level, a lot of these replies are irrelevant IMO. I don't understand why people waste there time here going off the subject of what the POSTER wants addressed.

Anyway, I'll get right to the point and tell you what I think will help you the most from EXPERIENCE. Get your masters in performance(for the collegiate possibilities), but the main thing I want to emphasize is to choose a minor in some other high paying field to also fall back on and at least get an associates degree in it. Trust me, that will serve you much better in your after graduate life than most any other thing you can do.

For some of us, school was paid for anyway(scholarships, grants, loans etc.), so the classes for the minor are covered. Take full advantage of that. Go to all summer school sessions(including the one right after high school graduation), and you can easily get your undergrad. degree in 4 years.

For me, I was too stubborn and just did performance but later regretted it and went back to another kind of school for something else that was higher paying while waiting on music opportunities to come along. I had to pay for that schooling out of pocket. Have something else to follow up on if performing and waiting on that collegiate job doesn't work out.

Bottom line; knock out all of your schooling(whatever choices you make), while you are young and before getting a permanent full time job and a possible family to go with it.
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rockford
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

billybobb wrote:
Since YOU have indicated you ONLY want to teach on the collegiate level, a lot of these replies are irrelevant IMO. I don't understand why people waste there time here going off the subject of what the POSTER wants addressed.
There's a lot of real life experience in this thread from people that have been there and done that. Lots of opportunity in this world if we choose to look for it. If the OP has more ideas of how to proceed and where he might go with his education and work life in the future, then it's been a successful exercise.
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bach101
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to everyone for all your opinions. I've got lots of things to think about now.[/quote]
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johntpt
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a couple of other thoughts on this topic. Besides the other arguments against music ed as a backup major, public school band director jobs are not as easy to come by as they used to be. With cutbacks in state and school budgets, music programs are being cut back, retiring teachers are often not replaced, and some places have even eliminated music altogether. Add to that the raw numbers of music ed graduates and at least in the state where I'm from (Wisconsin) I now hear about new band director appointments as being nearly as competitive as orchestral auditions! (Did you hear? Fred was selected for that job from 55 candidates!) I know many music ed students who did not get jobs and guaranteed employment in music ed is often a thing of the past.

Find something else you also love to do and are good at and study that. At many schools you can combine quite different studies more easily than you might expect. I ended up receiving a BA in music performance and economics, a field that would have led to easy employment had music not worked out for me. Just in my orchestra I know musicians who combined music studies with things like math, foreign languages, business, computers, etc. The possibilities are endless and you are not limited to just music ed as a backup.

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ijazzyu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ijazzyu wrote:
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.


Hmm... that sounds sort of familiar. Wait!

Crazy Finn wrote:
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.


I wrote that about 2 months ago in this very thread. Lame. Geez, come up with your own posts!
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Paul Tomashefsky
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm a high school band director. I love my job. We have a band program that we're very proud of, and I have a life outside of school. I still practice and play. I accept gigs only when I want them. I'm not beating myself up as a freelance performer. When I was younger I didn't want to be a band director. Like a lot of guys on here, all I wanted to do was play, but time changes things and now I am very happy to be teaching. All I'm saying is that your priorities may change with time.


I agree 100% ALL priorities change over time. . .You may be fine playing cruise ship gigs or with top 40 bands "waiting" for that BIG performance Gig opportunity, or you may never get "The Call" either way, teaching is a way to earn an honest living while being activiely involved in something you are passionate about . . . Music. How many people do we honestly know that work at a job they can actually say they LOVE and which is connected to a life long passionate pursuit?! . . . not many I'd say.

P.T.
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kodw2436
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If music performance is what you want to pursue in your life, why would you plan to fall back on something else? Performers have a very tough industry to break into, however, if that is what you want to do you will find a way to do it. There are ways to pursue performance while thinking outside of the box to keep you on your feet (monetarily). If you don't want to teach, then don't get a degree in it; get a degree in performance! That way you can say that you don't have any regrets about not going for it!
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Paul Tomashefsky
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO One little thing that a lot of people forgot to mention is what happens when you've got that great gig playing on braodway, in a incredibly successful band, doing top-40 or wedding gigs or whatever to make a living and then the unexpected happens. . . You get diagnosed with Bell's Palsy or worse a severe car accident leaves you unable to play. This is exactly what happened to a very successful Trumpeter in the late 1970's who worked on broadway, had his own big band and did lots of session work. he was driving home late from New York City out to Long Islnad and wrecked his car (face through windshield) not able to play for 6 months...long story short... the guy had 5 kids and a wife to support and he thanked his lucky stars he had a teaching job to "fall back onto" This would be my only caviat to rely soley on performance ... and even still, the guys who are out there doing it are probably doing a ton of other things to make ends meet (i.e.) music copyist, arranging horn parts for private recording sessions, trying to get endorsements gigs . . . just my 2 cents

best of luck . . .
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the mid 70s, I was a trumpet / music performance major at Morehead State U. (Kentucky). At that time, the difference in course requirements between being a music ed / music performance major were:

- I was required to perform recitals in both my Junior and Senior years. Music Ed majors only had to do a Senior recital.

- I did not have to take the classes where you learn how to play instruments that were not your major. I could have if I wanted to, if space was available.

- I did not have to take elementary music teaching techniques and a few other classes along that same vein. I could have if I wanted to, but space in those classes were tight and the music ed majors had priority.

The thing I enjoyed most was....
- Music performance majors were not required to be in the marching band.

And semester juries were much more intense vs for music ed majors, but that's how it should be.

The reason marching band was not a performance degree requirement was that time was to be used for personal practice. And with the band out on the field, there was never a hassle with getting one of the better practice rooms.

Other than that the basic degree requirements were the same. Granted that was 35 years ago and I'm sure a lot has changed at MSU.

I gotta say, my years at the 'Head were some of the best memories I have. I was there at a time when the level of musicians in both majors was astronomically high, as was the level of...how can I say this...well..let's just say there were some true characters in massive abundance (with student, faculty and staff)who made life enjoyable, exciting, entertaining and make me wish I could go back tho that time. Some truly life-long friendships were forged during those years that I deeply cherish.
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tpter1
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:34 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.


This and every other post Pat made so far is dead on. Especially this one. I remember all too well wanting more practice time, but being frustrated because of the outside-of-music classes I had to take. A few of us actually used to duck out of the larger classes to go back over to the practice rooms after signing in to class when the prof wasn't looking...

If you want to be a college teacher, performing experience matters a lot. No, a performance degree is not necessarily in and of itself going to get you a gig. But it will allow you more studio time with your professor, more practice time, push you to generally higher standards than ed majors (or... more accurately... have more stringent requirements than ed majors), and therefore give you more experience and push you to a higher level.

If you want to teach at a college level, you will need performing experience. And, in many cases, a terminal degree (meaning a PhD or Ed.D or DMA). A few colleges don't really require them, but I know of some who will not hire any but those with those degrees.

If you don't want to teach in public school, don't get an ed degree. Second, education is NOT a fall-back career. That is offensive to any of us who actually chose to be here. It implies the whole mentality of "Oh... you can't play well enough so you went into teaching?" It is a first choice career. If you want to play, then get both feet in the pool and swim for it. You have no way of knowing if you're going to make it or not, but I can assure you that you definitely will not if you don't try.
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Christian K. Peters
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:36 am    Post subject: Music education Reply with quote

Hello all,
I have to agree with johntrpt...music jobs are shrinking. Case in point, after 30 years in the same district, the district rifs half my job. I am the only music teacher. In 1981, there were 5 of us in 6 schools. In those 30 years, I have seen Home ec, art classes, drama and voc ed classes go away. Pretty horrible for a rural school district that consists of two elementary, one middle and one high school. All that is left is two choirs and a band at the high school. No feeder for next year. In the county here, music teachers are being cut and the rest spread out, in very un-natural situations. One fellow will be re-assigned to two different schools, not even in his own region, while keeping his original high school.
So my recommendation would be, that if you have people skill talent and have mentors that say you would be a good teacher, go for it. If you don't fall in to that category, don't use mus ed as a back-up. Try green engineering, pharmacy, or other in the medical/technical avenue. Retired guys like me, will need you.
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andybharms
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't read this entire thread, but wanted to point something out.

I got a performance degree and everybody shouted, "you're going to be a poor starving musician." And now with all of the high school music programs being cut, everybody is in the same boat. In fact, I feel like I have steadier work than many of my educator friends, whose full-time gigs got cut to part-time, benefits dropped out, etc.

I don't think there is such thing as a backup plan... nobody is guaranteed a job at this stage no matter what field you're in, and full-time jobs for young people are a myth unless you create your own or you were an engineering major. A lot of people who got performance degrees in college are doing something else full-time, in the mornings and evenings they are working on their upcoming auditions and teaching a few students, when the weekend rolls around and they play the gig, they sound great doing something they love, and a healthy portion of their income comes from it. A lot of educators I know aren't doing music at all because they spent their time in college thinking, I'm just a teacher, I don't have to have a product, and now they are waiting tables and watching TV on the weekends, teaching music appreciation for maybe an hour or two per day.

So my take is, if you want to be a teacher, get teacher training. If you want to be a performer, get performer training. If you want to be both, get both. In any case, you won't get richer than your engineering friends so you better at least like it more than they do.
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agolden
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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jadickson
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please don't go into education unless you love teaching and genuinely care about the kids.
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both my first band teachers (Jr. & HS) were outstanding teachers / educators AND performers. They could, at just about any time, pick up their principal instrument and demonstrate with no doubts how they wanted something played.

And sadly, I've known some educators who after they did their final recital or college performance put their horn away & chucked it in a closet, never to get it out again.

My $.02 worth? Some of the most effective educators are also solid performers. When you can back up what you are teaching with your performance, the impact is much deeper and stronger.
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Goro
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I majored in Education, with Performance as my fall back.
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jlawbrown
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:16 am    Post subject: music ed vs. performance Reply with quote

I majored in both music education and performance in undergrad, and I'm so glad that I did. It opened up a lot of job possibilities (including trumpet teaching and playing). I have a number of friends who ended up going back later for the education degree, so it's valuable to do as early as possible if you think it's an interest. Good luck!
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