Music School? Help pleaaaaaase

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by somethingshort, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. somethingshort


    Aug 22, 2003
    Well, this post is going to be kind of long but please read it I have a really important decision I have to make pretty much at the end of this week. Basically I've been going to college for a while now studying drafting and I've just been feeling that this is really not where I want my life to end up. I feel like I'm stuck in a catch 22 situation here, if I continue I might be stuck doing something I really dont want to do, or theres music school, something I've really really wanted to do for so long now, but I dont know how I would pay for it, or if i could even get a decent job from it. Basically I'm desperate for help here, if of you have gone through music school and gotten a job from it please please help me. Some things I would like to know are:

    1.How did you pay for it? Is there any kind of financial aid for this stuff?

    2.What kind of jobs are actually available? I would like to actually play music and make money, but at the same time could I study like Lutheiring and still have an option to go into that?

    3.What are some decent schools other than Berklee? God I would love to go to Berklee, but see question 1 :/.

    4.What kind of things do you have to do to get in? I know some schools require an audition and such, which I would be ok with but I'm completely self taught. I can play just fine but I struggle with sightreading and alot of theory in general. I've been studying it but theres so many books that assume you know A in order to learn B, then you try to learn B but you have to know A in order to learn that. Music theory is makes my head spin :(.

    5.I know music school isnt for everyone, but do you have to be a child prodigy to have hopes of succeeding in it?

    I guess thats all I can really think of right now. I tried asking my family what to do but of course they don't understand what it feels like knowing that your moving away from music. No one in my family has ever done anything musically so its hard to find anyone with the experiance to help me through this. So I turn to you guys, fellow musicians, if ANYONE has been to music school and can offer any kind of advice at all, please help this starstruck person.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Does your choice have to be all or nothing at all? Could you take some basic music courses at a community college or night school or small music school near you on a part time basis and continue your other studies as a backup?

    Then you may discover whether or not you really have an aptitude for studying theory and working on improving your sightreading. If you find you enjoy the other students, enjoy the teahcers and enjoy playing music others choose for you and the way they want it played, then you can jump in and become a full time music student. Plus, yoour contacts in your calsses can tell you where good music schools are located and possibly how to arrange financing.
  3. somethingshort


    Aug 22, 2003
    Thats not a bad suggestion, I checked it out and the local community college is offering a couple guitar courses, maybe I'll just put off music school for a bit and decide next semester what I want to do. My head has about a million thoughts in it right now, thanks for the help Bop :)
  4. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    In a perfect world you could have it "all" or nothing. I wanted to go into recording and JUST record I wasn't willing to do all the other kinds of little grunt jobs that lead up to mixing and recording most of the time. I changed my mind and I am still floating between careers.

    You could and should look at your choices in several ways. You are young I take it, just out of high school? single? lots of energy? I believe that many musicians have a non-musical job to support them and they spend their free time making/writing and playing music in the evenings. I worked in engineering for 12 years and several drafters were musicians at night and on weekends. I think its rare for someone to step out of school and play music full time and make an adequate living.

    I knew a guy in school who seemed to have only musical jobs and he was constantly running here and there to play this gig and that recording session and somethings else. I don't think he had time for a family. I don't think you can have a steady music employer unless you are a very good classical musician, but those positions might be hard to find.

    at recording school our teachers were ALL musicians who wanted steadier musical gigs. my main teacher played guitar and realized at one point who makes more consistent money in the industry. The record label number one, the studios number two and the producers number three and then the engineers and finally the musicians if they are successful. he encouraged us to be engineers and possibly producers or studio owners if we could. thats were more of the money is, but also less playing.

    so this is where you have to search deep in yourself and ask "what do I really want to do" "what will really satisfy me" "what can make me a living I can live with"???

    If you can I think it would be better to have a full time higher paying job during the day and play at night or weekends rather than be a "starving musician" who plays music alot and works at a gas station or some other minimum wage job. after 12 years in 'contract' drafting I was making $20/hour if you go into engineering you could make more. my old roomate who plays drums and has a part time band for fun, they play out a coupld times a month, he is a mechanical engineer makeing $30-40/hour!

    I hope you can make a decision thats right for you...Good luck!
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think this is good advice - music can be very precarious as a career and I know some people locally who are studying for one thing and doing part-time music courses as well.

    So - in the UK we have what are called "access" courses. These are aimed at getting you onto full-time courses and bringing you up to speed. So there is a local one for Jazz which is free and is 2 or 3 days a week part-time. I know several local young musicians who have been on this and the "access" course has helped them decide what they want to do.

    As to colleges like Berklee - I have no personal experience, but over the last 3 or 4 years I have read loads of threads on here and the general consensus is that :

    The people who came out of Berklee as great players are the same people who went into Berklee as great players!! ;)
  6. Some answers.

    1. There are always scholarships for those who are good enough at a musical instrument. These are usually given out based on some sort of performance. Check with the schools you are looking into for this. Don't forget Pell Grants either.

    You said you were self taught. I'd get some private lessons before I'd try a school of music.

    2. Jobs in music depend on what part of the biz you want to get involved in. Performance? Recording? Teaching? You need to be more specific in what your dreams are.

    3. DON'T go to a music school just because it has a name. Look at any school that has great have to look at the faculty before you look at the "name".

    4. Most schools of music at the college level require you to audition on an instrument. That audition will include sight reading. Most schools also require you to play a secondary instrument. Do you have one? Can you pass an audition on one?

    5. Most folks who are successful at music schools started playing an instrument before the age of 12. Just a rule of the thumb that I have seen in my experience.

    A couple of pieces of advice here. DON'T give up drafting. It may provide enough money for you to live on while you continue to persue music. There are thousands and thousands of musicians out there working in some other field to make ends meet - like me for instance.

    Also, the community college idea above is excellent. Many times community colleges are far cheaper to go to than universities and most of the time the caliber of instruction is just as good for the first two years. Get your feet wet before you take the plunge. A major school of music can grind you up and spit you out in weeks if you are not prepared.
  7. somethingshort


    Aug 22, 2003
    Thanks alot guys, I decided to stick it out a bit longer and see what happens.

    I actually play guitar, bass, and trombone but if I'm gonna be forced to play trombone in music school forget it! :spit:
  8. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    As a Berklee alum (and University of Miami), I have to agree with everything Machaut says. Especially the part about not giving up on drafting. Stick it out. Having a marketable non-musical skill is extremely valuable.

    First and foremost FIND AN EXCELLENT TEACHER and spend your money on private lessons. If you can't find a great teacher near where you are, then move to NYC and study drafting there. Buy lots of records (I mean CDs :oops: ) in all styles and learn to play the bass parts by ear. If you can't learn by ear, then re-read the last sentence of the previous paragraph.

    I'm not trying to be glib. Just honest.
  9. dirk


    Apr 6, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    All through high school I was convinced I wanted to go to music school, but when it got time to decide I just didn't know what to do. So I went to a local university and studied composition. I play trombone too, and I was in a situation where I was forced to play trombone to get scholarship money. So I began searching for better music schools. I was interested in the music industry, as well as my composition, but I wanted to go to a school where I could study electric bass (not upright) and get a degree that would actually give me a better chance at a real job (not music performance/music education). So I started looking at state schools in surrounding states. State schools are a lot cheaper than the Berklees and Belmonts. I found the perfect school for me, the University of Memphis. I'm currently studying Music Business, I'm pursuing my composition as more of a hobbie, and I'm studying electric bass. I hope to go to grad school and get a masters in either commercial composition or music technology and become a producer, but nothing is for sure yet. Just follow your dreams.

  10. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I wont offer a suggestion but Ill tell you what I did. I faced similar decisions in high school. Ive always been good at math and science but my passion has always been music. I decided that the odds of being successful musically werent high enough to warrant music school so I went to engineering school instead. I graduated and got my job. All through college I played but didnt have the time to be really serious except for when school wasnt in session. Now Im "successful" and I have ALL of my spare time to be as good as I can be on bass. I can afford sufficient gear and lessons and Im making strides now like never before and Im only 25. Thats what I did but take it with a grain of salt. Best of luck in your decisions. :)
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