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Career Indecision

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by graver555, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. graver555


    Nov 6, 2012
    Monticello IN
    Hello everyone, I am a 18 yo senior. I love music. I always loved music. I never really considered a job in the music industry because I was scared I would never make any money. Now Im not a money is all that matters kinda guy but I want to make a good liveing.

    Ive always loved working with my hands and science and stuff like that so I figured I would be an engineer. Problem is I hate math. Im ok with regular math and algebra but calculus and advanced trig make me want to go be a lumberjack or a ditch digger so I wont have to think anymore. Although a lumberjack dosnt sound that bad, big bushy bear, big muscles from swinging an axe all day, and if I get hungry and dont feel like buying meat I could just go eat a squirrel. But I digress.....

    The other week I was at our schools showchoir competition and hung out with the soundguys all day. I realized that I wanted to do what they were doing. I did some research though and it seems like if you have a steady job then your ok but Im not sure if it would be worth the effort and low pay.

    I would love to be in a working band or mayby a session player (Im great at sight reading not so much memorizing so this may be better then being in a band) but I dont think I can handle that little of job security. A music teacher I wouldnt mind but not with the state of education these days every teacher Ive talked to says not to. I have also thought about being a repairman for instruments or gear but it dosnt seem to pay very well.

    So does anyone have any suggestions or comments? Any info from actual sound engineers whether recording or live would be appreciated. I really want to do something active like play or mix music or make things. Also I would like a career where 40-50,000 a year isnt unrealistic in the future.

    Ps I live in Indiana and have 21 centuary scholars which gives me 4 years tuition at any public school in the state or the equivalent if I go private. Not sure if it would cover vocational though.
  2. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    You can succeed in any field if you put the work and time in. I'm a music teacher and I've had several students succeed in music - teaching, conducting, and playing.

    There are plenty of jobs for public school music teachers.

    And lots of great schools in Indiana. Why don't you talk to some of the professors at the college level?
  3. graver555


    Nov 6, 2012
    Monticello IN
    Well I dont have any problem putting in work and time. Im just kinda split between the earning power of being an engineer and the allure of music.

    Back a few years ago I was thinking I dont want to be a musician because it would turn what I love into a job but now that Im a bit older and have thought about it that seems like a good thing.

    BTW thanks for the website links in your sig, Im trying to learn upright for a jazz cafe thing our school is putting on in a few weeks. I have thick fingertips from eb but those thick flatwounds on the upright are killing my fingers.
  4. I'm a retired engineer who was a bass player in High school and got a BSEE from the University of Pittsburgh, a great engineering school. I worked as an engineer for 43 years and made over 50K for all but the first 4 years (i'm talking 1972 US$$ here) and over $500K for the last 8 years. I retired early and am in a band I was a founding member of at my job (we do benefits/Charity shows etc.) and have been doing blues jams and connecting with bands across Cape Cod.

    I'd say Purdue EE and keep your hand in music as a sound engineer and bass player until family responsibilities take over for a while.

    Math ain't that bad. I failed my first pass at Calculus and aced it the second time and every other math course thereafter. At least you don't have to take chemistry as a EE!

    For sound engineering you will benefit hugely from linear systems which you'll get in your second year I suspect. You need the math for that.

    Music will be perhaps satisfying in that regard, but you will be far more distracted by no money as a musician than by engineering work distracting from music.

    FWIW, I'm real glad I played it the way I did. I do wish I'd kept my hand in music more during my working years. But now I have decent gear and plenty of time to practice and gig....at age 62.
  5. graver555


    Nov 6, 2012
    Monticello IN
    Actually I love chemistry alot more then math, I know math is involved in chem but at least I can wrap my head around the science part. Except for some of the terms....

    I was thinking about a materiel engineering or chemical engineering degree which right now seems the likelyest option at the moment.

    I actually live about 45 minutes from purdue but I dont think Im going to go there due to A. they dont allow calculators for calculus and B. I know its a bad reason but its almost "to close" I guess.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The first semester of calculus is the hardest - it gets easier and even fun after that. If you get a degree in engineering, it'd be difficult to find a job that pays less than $40K to start. I've had guys with a bachelor's degree interview and ask for $80K to start. No. But if they could communicate, $50K was doable.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Mathematics is the language of science.

    ChemE would be a great degree.

    Not going to Purdue for that reason is silly. It's one of the finest engineering schools in the country. Calculators are not that useful in calculus anyway, especially in the first semester, where it's mostly derivations and proofs (which I hated, but still got a B).
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    In other words - and to boil it all down - you're going through the same kind of mixed feelings & ambivalence that nearly all 18 year-olds experience. Been there, done that. :rolleyes:

    Fortunately, you don't have to make all the decisions within the next three months that will govern the rest of your life, so relax. Whatever you decide to do - and this is really the key takeaway, so please take this to heart - it should be what you really, really want to do deep down - no matter what. :eyebrow:

    If you don't yet know what your true passion is, that's OK. Start taking steps to move in that general direction, learn as you go along, and let your heart be your guide.

    By all means, go to university. And use at least the first couple years to take as wide a variety of courses as you can. The goal is exposure: Expose yourself to as many different disciplines & ideas as make sense for your own particular interests. Allow yourself to freely grow and to change as you learn more and become more. That's the whole point.

    When you know for sure what you want to be when you grow up, commit to it completely & absolutely, and don't let anybody talk you out of it - no matter what. Above all, refuse to compromise: Stick to your guns. If you're determined to be successful, it will come to pass. Believe in this principle - and believe in yourself.

    That's my 10 cents. Go forth and prosper, Grasshopper. May The Force be with you... :smug:

  9. I would go with Engineering simply because the amount of money that you could potentially make. Think of it this way: Most people go through life worrying about their finances because they don't make enough to make ends meet. If you make a decent amount of money, and manage your finances well, you'll be able to shift your focus on other things, like playing music. Also, you will have the ability to buy pretty much anything you want, gear wise.
  10. I was the same distance from Pitt....came home on holidays and summer, just like far away. You've got to grab ahold of your cohones and settle down to what you really want to make of your life. Now is the time to be bold and purposeful and you are blowin' in the breeze like a silk scarf. If you want that engineering degree, it's hard to beat that Purdue sheepskin and going somewhere else for your stated reason is kind of lame. I'm not trying to give you a hard time, just unvarnished experience. You are at a crossroads....don't take the easy path. Engineering is an awesome profession and it's becoming increasingly a discriminator in the market place. In my former company we were warming up to paying close to 80K for new kids from good schools. It's intense and like most great things, worth working hard for. End of pep talk....good luck.;)
  11. Bingo!

    Money isn't about things, it's about controlling your life decisions instead of having them made by default from a lack of funds.
  12. Abaroa


    Apr 27, 2010
    Please take this as the advice of someone who did it the hard way:
    From a very early age I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker.
    I decided to follow my passion and went to filmschool, where I learnt very little as I was very well self taught and an avid film buff.
    The first 10 years or so were hell.. just doing odd jobs to barely pay the rent, or working just for credits or experience.
    Slowly things started to turn as I learnt how to manage my career.
    Today, 20 years later, I make a very comfortable living.. I manage a Media Agency full with great projects..

    Looking back, there are a few things I could have done that would have allowed me to get here faster, mainly, get a degree in Management.. It is both easy and useful. And a great fallback!

    I recommend this because I feel you already have some serious chops in your playing, and if you do, you are probably self taught or already know how to keep on learning.

    Management will teach you how to capitalize on whatever abilities you have, how to manage your time, how to charge for your services, how to promote yourself.. it does not matter if you are a bass player, a cook, or a filmmaker or even in science.. those basic principles apply and can help make you successful.. I, on the other hand, had to learn that stuff the hard way..

    I feel If I had gone to business school and kept making films on the side (but seriously)I would be in the same great place (following my real passion and making a good living) but would have reached this point maybe 10 years faster..

    hope this helps... following your dream, totally worth it, but there is a smart way to do it..
  13. I did ChemE in England. My main beef with chemE is that you end up working in Chemical Plants. These are horrible smelly ugly places. There is plenty of coin to be had, but its not a nice place to work.

    I now fix computer networks instead
  14. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I love being a music teacher! I teach orchestra all day. I can always bring my basses to work. Get to order new equipment... Get my summers off... Not bad :)
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Personally I think this is a bad idea. Very few of us can sustain a focused effort for 4+ years in a subject that we have no interest in, especially when competing with people who love the subject. If the OP doesn't love math, he will have to make up for it with some other way of being interested in engineering. A lot of engineers grew up taking things apart, breaking things, tinkering, etc.

    Math is a portion of engineering, but not the only thing. There are branches of engineering that are more math intensive than others. There are engineers who excel in math, and those who merely survived it long enough to get their degrees and go to work as a designer. Everybody has to go through the typical math series for engineers. In the engineering courses, you'll be re-taught the math that you need to know for the particular course.

    The OP should find a way to use the college scholarship. It's a bird in the hand. Don't forget to consider fees that are not covered by the scholarship, plus living expenses, but those can be managed. Going to school close to home might help with managing those expenses.

    Disclaimer: I love math, which made it easy for me to choose between math and music. I majored in math and studied music as a hobby. Today I have an engineering day job, play music, have a tiny music gear business.
  16. graver555


    Nov 6, 2012
    Monticello IN
    Wow this is all alot of great advice thank you all very much. I didnt really think I had the grades to get into purdue but my act/sat scores were pretty good. Not rainman good but on the higher end of the state averages. That and AP calc APC calc, and being an eagle scout will help hopefuly

    How was the mathmatics? I dont mind chemical smells infact many smell good. Its weird though the ones that should smell bad I dont dislike.

    Now hopefully I can find a way to get into Purdue even though its late in the application stage. I have a very bad procrastination problem especially with things like that.....
  17. I agree with you, but hopefully the OP's love for working with his hands and science is enough to overcome the math thing. Also, while engineering is math intensive, aren't there different fields in engineering that would use less math than others?
  18. Astreaux


    Aug 31, 2012
    +1 - WELL SAID!!! Made by default BY SOMEONE ELSE usually!
  19. It sounds like you have a lot going for you but it’s almost February of your senior year.
    Does your school have a guidance department? Have you used it? Did you listen? If so, you might consider a lawyer. The vast, VAST majority of college bound seniors have taken their SATS/ACTS (at least once), submitted applications to several schools, and are now awaiting their decision letters. Many have already declared early decisions or early actions. You’re late!

    As for the soundmen you hung with: there’s a 99% chance they are unsalaried and unbenifited working from job to job, or they’re moonlighting from steady jobs. So, work and save for now, consider a nonmusic career, and play as much as you wish. Stay away from the runny muck “we-accept-anybody-(with financing) at-any-time-at-any-level” for profit “holistic” music concerns.

    IU and Purdue are GREAT schools with fantastic value for the buck in your state.
  20. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Definitely. It varies, not only by field, but by sub-field. Everybody has to take the core of math: Four semesters of calculus plus differential equations. Mechanical engineering tends to be less math intensive. Some other options:

    * Don't forget about the sciences, such as biology or chemistry.

    * Computer related fields involve math, but it's a different sort of mathematical thinking.

    * Fields such as manufacturing engineering and quality control require some statistics, but it's stuff that they teach within the engineering curriculum rather than in the math department.

    When I taught a Junior level EE course for a semester, we really tried not to kill students with the math. I spent a lot of classroom time doing math review, and pinning it down to real world applications.

    +1 about IU and Purdue, and in general, the state university systems throughout the Midwest.
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