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Double majors and colleges

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by hoedown_j, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. hoedown_j


    Mar 3, 2005
    Is it possible (or practical) to try to double major in music and something more science or engineering related? Would it be difficult to have the classes of both majors and have to spend time doing homework for math/science classes, and practice?

    Also, what are some good colleges that are not music oriented, that woul have both good music and good science/math/engineering programs? I'm guessing most state schools would fit this description?
  2. While I was never a music major, I have had more than my share of experience with higher education. Double majors in related fields do not necessarily mean double work. In many cases, the same classes will provide a credit in two different areas--for instance, I once took an undergraduate class in international relations that gave credit for both history and political science.

    However, in very divergent fields like music and science, I doubt you will find this to be the case. If you are truly serious and have a limited number of non-academic "distractions" like a job or family, it will be difficult but possible. However, I also think you are doubling your possibility of burnout.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    IMO, you're asking for trouble. I have a Masters in Comp Sci, and have a good idea of what it'll be like, especially now that I'm pursuing music more seriously than before. The only overlap you'll get is general ed classes, and sometimes they demand different classes. Any of the engineering schools require alot of time dedicated to doing homework. I would say about at least 1 hour a day per class if not more. Do the math... 6 classes means 6 hours of classes + 12 hours of homework (12-20 hours is more realistic) per week. For engineers, I think you roughly spend about 3-4 hours of homework per class per week. That's just the engineering stuff alone.

    Musically, you have to take classes and spend as much time as possible practicing and working on your chops. If I were a music major, I'd be trying to cram 4-5 hours of playing A DAY at minimum into my schedule amongst other things and college life. My $.02.
  4. gilbert46


    Sep 21, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Without sounding like a looser - ;) I've been going to college for 5 years, and waiting to get into the Registered Nurse Program for a year. It took me 3 years to figure out what I wanted to do. I finished a degree in History, and almost completed Sociology and English, which I will complete next term. Once you get your general grad requirements, finishing a degree is a matter of taking the required corses. Allot of them cross over subjects.

    As for music, Ive debated doing the degree and came to realize several things.

    1 Music degrees are for professionals, and dont make you a better musician
    2 Music degrees make you learn things that wont make you a better musicians, at the cost of practice time.
    2 Music degrees are near useless in the music field.

    The final argument a music major made against me to not do the program was that, the time it took me to complete that degree, I could practice and market myself, and probably get signed and/or atleast persue music for myself.

    I would get a degree in a field you are interested in though, if music is really your thing, do it. I dont think many employers in a general sence care what degree you have. A degree shows you have the willpower to complete something, are educated, and possible worthy of a position.

    Im sure I've pissed off everyone with a music degree, so I will say, this is just my take on the matter.
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I disagree with just about everything you've said, Gil.

    I did not finish music school. Many is the time that I realized that I made a bad decision leaving.

    Correct to the extent that a credential is a reflection of substance, not substance itself. Incorrect to the extent that serious work, time and study is required to obtain a music degree. Every single moment of that work, time and study could be The Instant that opens your mind and ears to an artistic path you will pursue for years. And you may not know which Moment that is until years after it has passed.

    Dead wrong and extremely short-sighted. Every experience in your life makes you a better musician IF you let it. You simply do not know how studying Bach, bebop or Balinese kebjar will affect your ears.

    Your profile reflects a rocker and I agree that a music degree is not likely to impress the rockers. Aside from that, the "music field" includes
    * Jazz work -- you can make bucket-loads of contacts with students, professors and visitors by going to school that you miss if you don't go.
    * Orchestra work -- you are not allowed to audition without a degree, period.
    * Teaching work -- the door to the full-time and better-paying part-time gigs is just about closed without a degree

    "Get signed." That's the tipoff. Gil, there's a whole GLOBE of music that isn't about "getting signed." The more you learn, the better you will be able to address it.

    Good luck, brother. I hope you find what you are looking for.
  6. At my school, seattle university, im doing a double degree with a BFA music specialization, and then a bachelors of business/admin on the other side. There is a distinct difference between a double major and a double degree. A double major is two majors from the same school, ie, if i did two seperate business specializations, i would use the same business core classes, and then simply fullfill the extra classes for each degree. With a double degree, which i am currently working on, i have to fullfill the requirements for the school of arts and sciences (fine arts) and also the business school, so there are quite a few more credits i need to take.

    I also somewhat disagree with gil. My music degree is nearly by accident. At my school we have flat rate tuition, so i had been taking music classes at liesure for two years. I realized late last year that i could finish up my BFA with a music specialization in 3 years if i worked harder, or i could almost get two degrees done in 4 years if i worked even harder... but anywho..
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Res ipsa loquitur.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Absolutely. At the University where I teach, I regularly have students in my theory classes who are in this category. Just this year, there are two people who are dual music/pre med, and last year there was a nice kid who was also doing engineering. I've also seen the odd business major or two.


    University life is difficult enough for a single major, let alone someone who wants to take on added responsibility. Many of the people who double major add an extra year onto their programs to help lighten the load. I used to think they were crazy for trying to cram in that much work, but then I saw what was really going on: many of these folks love music, but either lack the drive or talent - or confidence - to make it in the music field. They know that they either can't or don't want to spend a long period of their lives living hand to mouth on musician wages when they could be investing in their own homes while starting out a career in a more lucrative field. Still, they want to educate themselves about music as fully as possible in order to enjoy it in their free time knowing that they've explored it to a serious degree and haven't "missed out" on anything by not at least giving music school a try.

    As I said, I used to think these people were masochists, but these days I tend to see them as young people who are smart and honest and planning for the future. When you get down to it, if you knew you were going to make your living in one field but also had the chance to study what would be your lifelong hobby at a serious level while you were still in school, would you take it? I would.

    Fill out your profile, so that we'll have a better chance of helping you, :)
  9. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine

    Follow your instincts. Just because something is hard doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

    On the other hand if you want to be a musician than go straight to it. Be sure you are not studying other pursuits to have "something to fall back on". If you have something to fall back on you will fall back, if you don't you won't.

    If your desire is to learn tons of stuff and have a broad range of experience then do that which is hard. It will cost you some party time and some social experiences that come with college but I'm not sure you'd miss them. Knowing music, arts, science, and all that comes with it is absolutely worth doing.

    Good luck
  10. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Yes, and yes.

    I can speak with some authority on this subject, since I myself double majored in biology and jazz studies. Granted, different schools have different grad requirements and whatnot, but in my case, I was able to double major in two completely unrelated fields.

    However, it is in no way easy, and you can pretty much plan on five years to get it done. It took me six, though some of that is due to poor class planning and switching majors three times my first year in school.

    Even spread out over the course of that much time, it can be a serious grind. During one memorable semester, I took Vertebrate Ecology, Music History, German, played in the top jazz ensemble, played in four combos, and played weekly rock/funk gigs at a local coffee house. It's all about time management.

    If you want to give it a shot, don't worry about cramming everything into four years. Take an extra year in college to take classes that interest you. Yes, college is expensive, and yes, paying back student loans sucks, but you won't often (or ever) get the chance to go back and take classes like that again.

    If you/re looking for a good math/engineering school with solid music, it all depends on location. One that pops into my head is Purdue. Fantastic sciences, and they offer a minor in music history and theory. Their top jazz band, however, is freaking unbelievable. I got a chance to see them at Montreux and North Sea in 2000, and they were amazing. Most of the players are masters or doctoral students in engineering or aerospace or something crazy like that. :)
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If you seek a degree in both music and another unrelated field, absolutely pursue it. A little hard work never hurt anyone.

    One option that is at least worth considering is to major as you choose and seek a minor in music. It will require fewer hours but will give you a quality exposure to the core of the music school. It will also provide many of the same opportunities to connect with other players and perform.

    When I was in J-school, there were several students in various colleges on campus that were music minors. They did everything from jazz ensembles to orchestra to marching band.
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I'd like to add to my above comment that my personal goal was to finish school in the minimum amount of time. I spent 4 for my bachelors, 2 for my masters. For me, 5 years for a bachelors is too long. Thinking about it again, stretching it out to 6-7 years is probably do-able for a double major in anything + music. The problem is that 6-7 years is the problem where tuition is mentioned above.

    However, there's always more options. You can always work for a campus and get your tuition written off once you've graduated with a degree. But now you're balancing work with practice & study time. Or if you're into getting a post-grad degree, you have more time to get your music degree.

    If I could go back in time knowing what I know now, I would've taken 3-5 years to complete my Masters + a degree in Music.... all the while holding a job on campus and totally living the student lifestyle. I would've probably never gotten into the corporate sector and stayed an academic bohemian the rest of my life. :)