What specialization should I pick?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by powellmacaque, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. I'm beginning studies as a music major at my university. Everything at my university falls under a Bachelor of Music program, but I'm not sure if I want to specialize in education or jazz performance in bass. The people in the department suggested education as it was easier to land a job with that specialization, and that is what I'm going to school for, but the jazz courses seem more appealing to me and my instrument. What could I do with a jazz performance specialization?

    I would also like to go to grad school for musicology, would either of these majors help me get into a competitive grad school (like the University of Miami) for music?
  2. You can play without the piece of paper, but you cant teach without it. If you like eating regularly and having a nice place to sleep, go for the ed degree. You can still take all the performance classes.
  3. But if I do education I won't have room on my schedule to do Jazz Improv or Fundamentals classes... well unless I graduate 6 years from now
  4. Looks to me like your decision is already made. I'm gonna agree Carl here and say go Educ. the performance would be cool I'll admit, but those course can all be taken later when your making money with you teaching job. :p

  5. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    If you want to study musicology in grad school then you might consider a major in music theory. It will help down the road.

    BUT, why are you trying to plan out the next 10 years of your life when you haven't even started that degree program anyway? Give it a couple of years. You have a certain number of core classes you have to fulfill anyway and your mind might change somewhere in the meantime.
  6. Soverntear


    Mar 17, 2008
    my bass teacher did the jazz program at humber, went for the preformence side of things. he does alright most of his income comes from students doing private lessons
  7. Here's my .02...

    If have have a jazz performance degree and $4, you can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. That's how useful a jazz degree is. Performance is the ultimate meritocracy- if you can play you'll get the gig, degree or not.

    If you get an Education degree, you can get a job teaching K-12. If that is what you want, go for it. It's not my cup of tea. I am not going to oversee Marching Band until I retire. I'd rather clean toilets and make more money.

    Here's a thought- with a Master's <in about anything music-related> you can really cast a wider net for your job prospects. If you are interested in higher education (post secondary, whatever the term is these days) a master's is the minimum requirement, and most job posts will indicate PHD preferred. That's where that performance degree and all those lessons and gigs and practice and jam sessions will pay off. You'll be expected to play your a*s off. And I mean really play your a*s off.

    If you make it this far, remember that there will be others at this interview/audition, and <trust me> they will be 'playing well'.

    For example, there's an instructor at North Texas, his name is Lynn Seaton. That's the type of 'play your a*s off' I'm talkin' about. (sorry, Lynn, to drag your a*s into this) (ed.- I believe he's now a tenured professor, congrats LS)

    I have BM (performance) and an MM (performance) and a comfy gig at a community college where we're quite well supported. I am lucky to gig as often as I wish, <more than my wife wishes> all jazz. No jazz degree, BTW.

    End of rant.

    A little advice- classical bass lessons, music theory, music history, and Jamey A will be your most helpful classes. I got REALLY lucky and had a few REALLY good jazz DB teachers. One's name is Phil Brown (SIUC) and the other is a guy by the name of Lynn Seaton.

    Further edit- If want want to pursue a degree in musicology, take a few of these classes while you're an undergrad so you can get a feel for this mind-numbing field. Take as much specialized history as you can. ('islamic women's music of the 5th century' outa get your heart racing) Sorry if I'm I'm overly cynical... I managed to get a job despite the "Higher Ed/Music/Industry".
  8. I agree that a music ed degree will get you more opportunities to get a stable job. However, I'd second the earler suggestion of just taking general courses until you decide what you want.
    I was a music ed student- for one semester :D The thing is, I really don't want to have to learn the bassoon, french horn, oboe, all that stuff. And I really don't want to be a school music teacher, not in this kind of school system...
    Keep in mind that even cats with performance degrees from JUILLIARD and other comparable schools have dropped music altogether and gone into much more profitable fields like law and medicine.
    My thinking is that I really want to be an orchestral musician. So, I'm going to a small school in the midwest for my bachelors in violin performance, then I'll try to get somewhere big for my masters. I'm giving this my all. IF after all that, the whole orchestra gig doesn't happen for me, then I won't mind going back to school or somehow going into some other profession. But, I WILL not go without giving it a try. If you try, it might work. But if you don't try, it definitely won't work.
    All that said.... You really don't need a jazz degree to play jazz.
  9. Chipsonfire


    Jul 20, 2007
    Socorro, NM
    +1 I started college DETERMINED to get a degree in Physics. 5 years later, I have my BS in Mechanical Engineering and am starting my Master's in Engineering Management. Dreams change; start your schoolin' and see where it takes you. :bassist:
  10. Haha well here's a bit more of my biography.

    I came in as a social science major, which at my school was basically a liberal arts degree. My disciplines were history, political science, and anthropology. After doing the general education, taking a freshman theory class and some prerequisites for that degree (and after writing a 20 page paper on the conflicts of french canada vs anglo canada) I realized that I just wasn't cut out for the social science degree.

    I tried out for the music department at the end of my freshman year after teaching myself basic music reading skills, and was accepted into the program.

    My school offers either a Bachelor of Music Performance, Bachelor of Music Performance in Jazz (which allows me to play both DB and EB), and a Bachelor of Music Education. I'm not really a jazz cat, but I am not at all a classical guy. I just recently started playing DB upon admittance into the program, so I don't think I'd do so well playing in an orchestral setting. I really want to use my graduate school education to study the music of the Americas (bossa, samba, mariachi, reggae, calypso, mento, bluegrass, blues, etc). My ultimate goal is to write my own music and either perform it with my own group or sell it commercially, but I would also like to get into the industry side of music.

    What is the best way to achieve these goals?