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thinking about starting College at the age of 38, advice please!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by AJ Love, May 18, 2003.


  1. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I'm 37 and have basically zero college experience. lots of professional music experience though

    we're stuck here in Madison WI for another 6 years until my son James goes off to college...so I've been thinking about attending the University of Wisconsin and majoring in Jazz peformance, starting in the fall of 2004

    my thoughts are that a degree can only help in the long run, especially if when I decide to get more serious about teaching, and plus I am getting deeply into learning and playing Jazz music, and I am sure I would learn quite a bit while simultaneously getting more connections and becoming more employable

    I am not really concerned about being a 38 year old freshman, I'm a kid at heart, and financially my family can afford it (especially with student loans)......I have been learning most of this stuff on my own anyways, and I figure it would be good both in the short-term and longterm if I have a degree to go along with it

    my school history is way back in the past (the 80's) and was not terribly good, so I am not even sure that I could get in right away....any thoughts/advice on all this would be much appreciated
     
  2. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Well, for one thing, everything that I would have said, "keep in mind..." about, such as financials, where you expect to be, and what you want to do, you've already outlined. You've already found ways to "deal" with the challenges.

    The biggest challenge is setting it in motion.

    Before I get too far ahead of myself, consider the single biggest factor: it will give you credentials that you don't currently have, which are necessary for teaching.

    But, there are so many pros and so few cons, that it'd be almost dumb to NOT go for it, given your situation!

    Plus, if your kid, who's off to college himself, sees his dad going back to college, it can only reinforce his belief that education is very important, and that his dad takes school very seriously.
     
  3. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    Do it. It can only help.
     
  4. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    unfortunately - you're already experiencing the only thing UW-Madison has over the other UW system schools - the city of madison. other than having the ability to meet people, and being here to play gigs, i wouldn't recommend it as a jazz school.

    the 'core' music system is very helpful if you need some brushing up on your counterpoint/theory/piano ability/sight singing/music history what-nots, but as far as jazz-specific teaching goes it's thin. there's both the big bands, les' jazz improv class which is good if you need help gettin started with soloing but not much else, black music history, and black music ensemble (which i'll never take solely for the fact that the class always ends up with about 1/3 of the students it starts with because richard either kicks them out or drives them to leave)


    i dunno man, if the question is 'do i spend the cake to go to uw madison to get a JAZZ degree' i'd recommend against it. but if you want to get some other kind of music degree or other degree, it's a great school.


    btw, i'm a jazz major and history major.
     
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    wow, that's awesome. go for it! i wish you the best of luck. :D
     
  6. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    Jason-- i was hoping you would reply since you are going to school here.

    UW-Madison is my only option right now because: we are here in Madison WI because this is where my 11 year old son lives with his Mom (and I get to see him 2-3 days a week) and this is where my wife has a (relatively) good job. once my 11 year old grows up and moves on to college we will likely need to move to a major music hub such as Chicago or NYC or Paris...so the UW is pretty much my only option as far as school goes right now....also i figure i could always go on to a graduate school degree somewhere else, perhaps

    here's another question specifically for you Jason: I only play electric, not upright. will this be a problem for me? Upright is not really an option for me as I have a long history of problems with tendinitis, so electric bass is pretty much my only option as far as bass goes. would playing electric bass exclusively eliminate me from the Black Music Ensemble and the Big Bands?
     
  7. SlapDaddy

    SlapDaddy

    Mar 28, 2000
    Start now...Don't look back (until it's over)you WILL be glad!
     
  8. herrera

    herrera

    Feb 15, 2002
    somebody saw "old school" to many times

    :D
     
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Do it, man.

    I'm working on a degree and I'm not the youngest in my class (I'm 32) but I'm not the oldest either. There's more than a fair number of people who are well over forty. Their reasons for studying music at that stage of their lives vary and are all valid. Not all of them are virtuosos and they don't have to be. They're there to learn like everybody else.

    Remember that when you're going to school, you're doing it for you. Also, think of your son. You're his role model. Let him know how important education is.

    If there are any classes that give you a hard time, there's a good chance you'll be able to get tutoring at school. If you can afford it and you have the time, it would be a bad idea not to go. Many people would love to be in your position.

    Good luck and let us know how you do.
     
  10. oddentity

    oddentity

    Nov 20, 2000
    Philly
    Do it!

    My mom graduated from college the same year I graduated from high school. :cool:
     
  11. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    News today showed a woman at 84 who acheived her lifelong goal, a college degree at RI College.

    Wasn't Hahvurd, or Julliard, but, she got it done, and all the more respect for her to want to educate herself.

    You will get more out of it at your age. you are probably finished with the keggers already, so go for it.

    You won't be sorry the day you get that diploma!

    Thorskhaus
     
  12. Go for it! There is never a downside to getting more education at any time in your life.

    One less obvious benefit of getting a university degree IMHO is the exposure one gets to other students, particularly those in other faculties . It is a life-expanding experience, and if you go in with that view you will be rewarded. :D

    I think it is great that you are even considering this avenue.
     
  13. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA

    you won't be excluded, if only for the fact that there aren't that many bassists here. but the upright players are traditionally ones that get the lions share of gigs. plus, richard doesn't teach electric lessons - or really any jazz for that matter. if your goal for going to school to improve your jazz bass playing - it will all be up to you.
     
  14. RedGrange

    RedGrange

    Jun 11, 2000
    Springfield, IL
    go for an engineering degree if you go to UW... :D :D :D

    There's my 2 cents... I'll send you my french curve and a whole bunch of mechanical pencils
     
  15. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I appreciate the feedback from everyone, and Jason thanks for your insight on the program here in Madison. I have heard rumors that the Jazz Studies program here might be discontinued, have you heard anything about that?
     
  16. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Go for it!!!

    Im going back soon myself!!
     
  17. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA

    well...basically, the two people here doing jazz are richard and les, both of which probably don't have much time left teaching at the UW. budget constraints have forced les to do more work on the composition department, and richard spends most of his time with his diversities project. so even if it's not technically 'dead,' it might as well be unless we get some more staff.

    if i were doing a B.M. jazz major instead of the B.A. jazz major i'm doing, i'd be screwed because some of the classes necessary for that major aren't being taught.
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Interesting thread - I know nothing about the US college system of course, but lots of people I know over here are facing similar dilemmas.

    So - people who have never been to college/university expect it to be like school - and they are very disappointed/down-hearted when they realise that a lot of it is up to them and only a small proportion of their week is spent on formal tuition and they just have to get on with it, by themselves, for most of the time.

    This works well for academic subjects, where you go off and research subjects by yourself over a long period,for an essay/dissertation/thesis - but I'm not sure how it would be for arts subjects which are more practical?

    It's also the case over here that Jazz course are getting shut down and I would really like to do a full-time Jazz course some day - but I worry there won't be anything left and the only decent courses will be incredibly tought to get into!
     
  19. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    You can NEVER go wrong with education. Go for it.


    Mike
     
  20. Know what you want and get it any way you can.