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College for Music

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Sumguy7787, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Sumguy7787


    Jan 12, 2006
    My parents recently told me I should audition for a music school. My plans for college is in civil engineering, but I have been gigging and playing music nonstop. I'm considering majoring in jazz studies and becoming a professional musician. Anyone out there please let me know how there experience has been and what the up and downsides of being a musician full time is.
  2. My advice, based on personal experience, is this: Definitely find a school with a really great jazz program - even if you don't study strictly jazz. A school with a great jazz (preferably jazz, strictly classical can be limiting, I think) program will at least offer exposure to great music in a variety of styles and give you the opportunity to participate in these styles while getting to know artists, (for example, you can move to New York, but that doesn't mean you'll have the opportunity to play with Ron Carter or Rufus Reid, David Liebman or the Brecker Brothers - you get my meaning, anyway) you may never have access to if you if you were completely and solely involved in, say, engineering.

    However, I will also say that I probably would have actually had more time available for practice, playing, etc. if I had majored in something besides jazz. The major itself seemed to require a lot of other classes - mostly classical, or, say, 16th century theory - that seemed simply to justify a degree in jazz to non jazz administrators. Though this issue couldn't possibly apply to all schools of Jazz, so it could be a mute point.

    I do know that my life probably would have steered completely away from the music - which, I swear, is an integral part of my soul - out of necessity if I had gone to a school without access to great music or majored in something else (which I was very capable and intersted in doing) and not at least taken advantage of hearing, playing with, being exposed to, the musicians available to me and brought in by the university.

    Hope that helps, and good luck.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Fill out your profile so that we know something about you.
  4. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Wow, you want to be a civil engineer and your parents want to you be a musician? Am I hearing this correctly? I'm just a student too so I don't know anything about playing full time but I would say that if your heart isn't 99.9% into it music school and music as a career is not for you.
  5. If you don't keep something you enjoy, love, have a talent for, whatever, at least within reach...you will lose it.
  6. Sumguy7787


    Jan 12, 2006
    I honestly can not figure out how much my heart is in it. But, whenever I am in school I think about music, and also sacrifice other plans to practice with different people. I think I've decided if I major in civil engineering and am not satisified, I will switch majors to music. I just don't want to lose my touch
  7. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Not sure why you're interesting in civil engineering (surveying) but why not go to a university that has a great music program and an engineering program? I just looked at UNT but they don't seem to offer civil engineering but do offer other engineering disciplines. Then you can minor in music.
  8. Farin


    Oct 19, 2004
    Akron, Ohio
    I am currently a jazz studies major at the University of Akron. So heres the pros and cons.

    Jazz Studies is an awsome major to get into, because theres so many possibilities and opertunties. Also, you get to play ALOT. Most of the time you are expected to perform in at least 3 major ensembles as well as small ensembles and recital stuff. It's a great deal if your looking to play a ton, and make connections, which brings me to my next Pro. Networking; networking is what jazz is all about, and going to school with a whole bunch of jazz cats can really get you some gigs, which get you the bread. Get to know the top players in the jazz dept. they usually gig the most, and as a bass player, your usually a very in demand player, thats another pro there, bass players are need at the college level. OK, now Cons.

    Jazz Studies, at least at UA, is extremely, almost ridiculasly time consuming. It's pretty much a 5 year program without fail. You will often find yourself taking 18 to 22 credit hours and above. Also, even though your a jazz major, you expected to study legit stuff too, which is even more time consuming. Last semester I was required to take 8 credit hours of private study, just to keep my scholarship. Also, as far as a Jazz Studies degree goes, its pretty much worthless. You'll almost have to go get a masters to get a decent job, and even then, they are few and far between, this is the main reason I am considering changing my major to a little more mainstream music major.

    So basically, its a 50/50 shot. If your good at networking, are a decent player, and swing hard, I'd say go for it, and give it a shot, you can always change later. Just remember its gonna be a long road, and the rewards might not come in the form of cash, but rather in a feeling of knowlege and acomplishment.

    Hope that helped. :).
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I think this is probably the key, here. If your heart's not in it, the rest of you shouldn't be either.
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    You don't have to make the jump right now, I don't think. Pick a school that has a music department and keep a foot in both graves.
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It's also possible to do a dual major. Here at UofL, we have many music majors who are doing dual majors such as premed/music, prelaw/music, and engineering/jazz studies. Most of these people are extremely well motivated and excellent students, but even knowing them I would recommend spreading the courses over five years if you plan to go this route for the sake of your sanity. Whoever said that jazz studies was time consuming was dead on, especially when you factor in practice time.
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You'll generally have a better chance at playing with them in NYC than you would in Meridien MS. The great thing about living and playing in NYC is that you have access to what were pretty much the best and most vital musicians in every other town in the world. Cause most of them end up here at some point in their career. If you HAVE to play jazz, you're going to do it no matter what. If you want to make a living as a jazz musician, over and above being gifted and driven you are going to have to
    A. be very lucky
    B . be prepared to do a lot of other things in addition to playing jazz

    For some really great players (Jeff Carney, Lindsey Horner, Dave Finck etc) that means playing shows. For some really great players (Tim Lefevre, Joel Rosenblatt, Mike Fahn etc.) that means playing clubdates (GB gigs if yer a Berkleeite). For some really great players (Reggie Workman, Richard Davis, Harvie Swartz, Larry Ridley, Rufus Reid, Andy McKee, Mike Formanek etc.) that means teaching; primarily in an academic setting.

    For the rest of us that means scuffling and/or working a day job.

    Even if you get here and you are gigging all the time and touring and everything else, there's no security. You get sick, you don't make any money. You get hurt, you don't make any money. Your instrument breaks, you don't make any money.

    The other thing about school is, I have yet to meet anyone who went through a school program and came out the other side burning, who wasn't burning (to some degree) when they went in. You have some hard questions to ask yourself.