Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 45

Thread: Giving up Music as a profession.

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    252

    Giving up Music as a profession.

    Well this is a big change for me but I think it's the right one to make. Here's a short history of my music studies:

    A.A. in Music
    Completed Certificate program in Music performance
    3 years guitar ensemble, 1 year taiko drum ensemble, various solo and charity performances
    completed 30 minute solo recital (junior recital)
    Went on tour to British Columbia and Washington State
    Took 3 years off college to teach and tutor (to pay bills) guitar and music theory.

    And now I'm finally back in school again, this time majoring in Music Education. Except those 3 years off really showed me how hard it is to make it as a musician/teacher. Unless you are a lucky/really good at marketing you're probably going to end up in a dead end job like most other people. Whether that be trying to teach a bunch of kids Mary Had a Little Lamb, or some job not even associated with Music.

    So that was reason Number 1 that I am giving up Music.

    Reason #2) When your hobby becomes your job, it becomes your job.

    #3) Looking at the Major program requirements, I need 163 more units (I already completed 85) to complete a Music Education degree + teaching credential. By contrast if I switched my major to Physics (which I have no experience in) I will need only 89 more units. If I join the Air Force ROTC program as well, that's 28 more units for a total of 117. Still less than Music Education! And a degree in Physics + a gauranteed officer position in the Air Force looks like a muuuch brighter future than anything in music to me. I could eventually work at NASA.

    #4) Majoring in Music is the most stressful thing I have ever done, it's rediculous when you put it all in perspective. What other Major requires placement tests in 3 instruments (guitar, piano, voice), scholarship auditions, recitals, composition portfolios, performance reviews, etc etc? An Art Major paints his piece on his own time and puts it on display. A Music Major has to paint his piece flawlessly in front of a crowd entirely focused on him. You cannot paint over your mistakes.

    #5) Not only are jobs in Music dead-end except for the elite few, they are very low paying. Orchestras in my area survive almost entirely on philanthropy. They often give free concerts, because hell, that's the only time people show up!

    #6) There is no degree in Rock Guitar. Let's face it, Classical and Jazz are essentially dead art forms. You have classical music in the background in films and Jazz players at a local bar sure, but who do you see on the Grammy Awards, on Entertainment Weekly, on MTV, the list could go on. Not John Williams, nor Joe Pass. The people who support Classical/Jazz music are either musicians or families of musicians themselves. It is essentially a self-sustaining art fed by the archaic teaching methods used in the average university. I might as well be majoring in Philosophy.

    #7) I believe Music as we know it (the 12-tone system) has already reached it's limits. Tonality and Chromaticism (and their combinations) have already been nearly fully explored. Everything we do in this system is just variations on a theme by someone else. I don't feel like risking my future/reputation on developing a quarter-tone guitar and trying to make music out of it. I hope someone does though, someone who has the money, not me.

    #8) Most importantly, again, when your hobby becomes your job, it becomes your job.

    Convince me otherwise, please! I am about to switch my major to Physics...

  2. #2
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Funky Munky World
    Posts
    3,904
    If you don't enjoy music as a profession then change, nothing to worry about.

    Better to do it now while you have the chance than later when you're family, mortgage and commitments make it difficult to change.

    You'll always have music and it is a great hobby!

  3. #3
    Punk Freud
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    68
    You don't have to major in music to enjoy it.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    252
    Thank you both.

  5. #5
    Punk Freud
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    68
    Landing a job on NASA sounds great. I mean, come on, you could be the first man to play a Mozart piece in/on outerspace! Think of the possibilities!

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    266
    well yeah...music doesnt pay well. However, it would be a good idea to check out another area you like and use that to pay the bills.

    I plan to take some computer courses in university along with some music, so I have more selection when it comes to employment.

    Plus, computers are always going to be around, and are becoming more and more important as technology grows...so I guess its a pretty secure job area to get into haha.

    So, if you take physics, what are you planning to be employed as?

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    485
    Clearly you don't enjoy music as much as you thought you did. In which case, maybe devoting your career toward it is not the right option.

    For me, I'm in the same boat as you. Working on a degree. Aside from all the hard work and stress (and the fact that I have no real plans to become a performing artist) and the general fear of never being able to make much money from it. I accept that this is the only thing that has ever put a smile on my face.

    Having said that I'm content to work hard and enjoy my passion, and make a living from it. Even if it's not a well paid living.

    There are plenty of job opportunities. Teaching comes in many forms and can be well paid. Not to mention it can be more fulfilling than teaching to primary school children .. ie mary had a little lamb.

    Considered working up and getting a masters degree? maybe a professorship at a university or something of the like. Thats certainly not as far fetched as NASA. I don't mean to be skeptical, but realistically speaking NASA is the home of some of the worlds brightest minds. Many physics graduates wind up teaching in high schools.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your not intelligent or capable of getting there. Just don't underestimate the requirement's.

    For example. I have a family friend pilot who fly's jumbo 747's for a major airline. He has a degree in Aeronautical engineering or something of the like, and an IQ of around 160 so I'm told. He actually tried to get a job at NASA (specific position i couldn't tell you) but was rejected.

    Music as a profession can also fall into many other realms.

    Guitar Magazines. Working as a transcriber and or doing session work for the CD's that come with those mags. I think Eric V has some experience with this... not sure.

    Arranging for plays... this goes all the way up to Broadway shows.

    Teaching.. private, high school, uni .. covered this.

    Music Retail... maybe you would prefer to own a store and watch sweaty teenagers come in and grease up your instrument's every day.. but never buy a thing... hmm maybe not

    Session musician. If your good and can get your name out there.. even locally. There are hundreds of doors that will open. I know a few local musicians who get requests all over the world for session work. They achieved this by going on tour a few times over the years as part of backing groups for pop singers. Did a bit of networking while on tour... now they jam around the world with all kinds of muso's like James Morrison, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Eugene Ball.

    Many of the shows aren't huge.. small European and American tours.. mostly jazz and blues. But hey.. its a free ride and its a chance to see the world.

    I'm going to start an endless rant if i don't wrap this up.

    As for a hobby becoming a job. It only becomes a J.O.B when you let it. If the passion is there. All that work and study will never feel like work. It will feel like progress. I feel the pressure and fear but also the joy. I hope you see the light and stick with passion over security.

    Before I go.. I will tell you a secret. I just now returned from a time travel mission into the future. While I was there I stopped in and checked what you were up to. When I peered through the window I saw you mumbling to yourself.

    "my chops are getting quite sloppy, figures though... working on this new Mars Explorer module for NASA has been giving me no time to play. I wonder if I ever would have made something of myself if I had just stuck with music.... Would I have ever had the chance to jam with (insert inspirational musical figure here) " *sigh*

  8. #8
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Posts
    3,145
    Through out my working life I have always kept my security intact by keeping in site my "fall down to job."

    In my case I always knew if this management gig did not pan out I could go back into sales.

    First a degree in something that will offer employment -- is my advise. Now be that music or physics IMHO You'll make more money and secure a good retirement in the service. By the time you are in your 40's the service will have paid for your MS perhaps your PHD. You'll come out a Bird Colonel and then double dip teaching or working as a civilian employee at - wherever you like.

    What you have done so far with your music can never be taken away from you, except, through neglect. I know you want to discuss this with a peer group, but, take our advise with a grain of salt. There are others that know you better than we that you should be talking to. Those that know you will have a better idea which field can offer the most enjoyment. Any field you decide on will have it's good points and it's bad points.

    Good luck on which ever way you go.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 02-14-2008 at 05:03 PM.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    67
    Something you might wanna consider doing is interview a few pple who do the job you are thinking of doing. You call them and ask them for an informational interview. During that interview, you ask them about what they like/dislike about their job, security of employment, their typical day...

    I think that if you were to do that, you would get a real good idea of the different jobs and how they fit your values.


    Good luck jessmanca!

  10. #10
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Southern USA
    Posts
    475
    Dear Jessmanca:

    Far be it from me to give life direction advice. I am a pet sitter.

    Are you one of those people who lives to work; or do you work to live? In other words, does what you do inform who you are, or does what you do support you financially to be who you are?

    Teaching music in public schools is the hardest job in the world, in my opinion, because you have so many students (even parents, colleagues and supervisors) who don't appreciate your efforts.

    I would bet the percentage of hobby musicians at NASA exceeds the general population's by far.

    I think you have your mind made up and only want confirmation. You have it in this note.

    Yet I would disagree entirely with your numbers six and seven below. Those art forms, classical and jazz, aren't dead to me because I don't think MTV or the commercial record business (Grammys) are the real patrons of those jazz and classical. Art has never been a commerically viable pursuit for the vast majority of artists, and I claim to be one.

    As to the end of twelve-tone music: that idea is born of some kind of emotion you are experiencing, maybe grief. It's not true in my opinion. I continue to get the greatest joy from creating music, and even just listening to music. There is nothing new under the sun, yet everything that lives in the world is continuously reborn and made anew. That is the nature of life, and art. I could get very spiritual with this idea and say the artist and her work is the parallel to our Creator and Her work, but I won't since this may not be the place for such thinking. Still I respectfully disagree with you and feel compassion for you as you redirect yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by jessmanca
    #6) There is no degree in Rock Guitar. Let's face it, Classical and Jazz are essentially dead art forms. You have classical music in the background in films and Jazz players at a local bar sure, but who do you see on the Grammy Awards, on Entertainment Weekly, on MTV, the list could go on. Not John Williams, nor Joe Pass. The people who support Classical/Jazz music are either musicians or families of musicians themselves. It is essentially a self-sustaining art fed by the archaic teaching methods used in the average university. I might as well be majoring in Philosophy.

    #7) I believe Music as we know it (the 12-tone system) has already reached it's limits. Tonality and Chromaticism (and their combinations) have already been nearly fully explored. Everything we do in this system is just variations on a theme by someone else. I don't feel like risking my future/reputation on developing a quarter-tone guitar and trying to make music out of it. I hope someone does though, someone who has the money, not me.
    Nobody ever shared
    what we have known...

  11. #11
    Registered User SkinnyDevil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    703
    You're saying I have a dead-end job? You dick!

    Hahahaha - just kidding, man!

    Seriously, you don't have to be a wizard in marketing, you just have to be motivated & determined. Anyone who knows me will tell you: I'm really not very bright, but I manage to earn a decent living teaching & playing music. The difficulties you are describing are not the difficulties of being a full-time professional musician - the difficulties you are describing are the difficulties of being self-employed.

    Switch thatto your focus and everything will change.

    That said, if you're looking for stability (I think that's an illusion, but what do I know?), the volatile world of self-employment & the volatile world of music may not be for you. For most of us, the pay is not EVER gonna make us rich, and no one is gonna provide us with free health insurance and a 401K. Not sure the over-crowded world of physics is gonna provide that, either, btu that's a different topic.

    But is it music or self-employment that troubles you most? If it's self-employment, then that music ed degree can land you a cushy job as a band director in a public school somewhere. Health-care, retirement package, & 27 years until you call it a day. Plus you can go anywhere - there's still a teacher shortage.

    All that said, if you don't want your hobby to be your job, it's good that you're considering a career change now before access to those school loans dries up!

    Whatever decision you make, be sure it'll put a smile on your face, bro! Good luck!
    --
    David M. McLean
    Skinny Devil Music Lab
    Hidden Content

    "...embrace your fear..."

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    485
    I just wanted to come back to

    #4) Majoring in Music is the most stressful thing I have ever done, it's rediculous when you put it all in perspective. What other Major requires placement tests in 3 instruments (guitar, piano, voice), scholarship auditions, recitals, composition portfolios, performance reviews, etc etc? An Art Major paints his piece on his own time and puts it on display. A Music Major has to paint his piece flawlessly in front of a crowd entirely focused on him. You cannot paint over your mistakes.

    and ask....

    Is this your first university degree? I imagine the answer is yes. Having said that. Did you think it would be easy?

    Nothing worth while is easy, anyone will tell you that. Part of me still thinks "ok this person just isn't into the music enough to make a career from it"

    The other part sais " this person is just lazy and wants an easy out " (btw, physics wont be any easier )

    It is supposed to be hard and stressful for several reasons. They are trying to prepare you for the scrutiny awaiting you in the real world. 3-4 years isn't very long and there is alot of valuable information that you really need to understand. So forcing as much down your throat as they can is for your own benefit.. it will make you stronger and more consistent in your work ethic when you leave.

    I don't mean to come across nasty with this. Just trying to make a point.


    #5) Not only are jobs in Music dead-end except for the elite few, they are very low paying. Orchestras in my area survive almost entirely on philanthropy. They often give free concerts, because hell, that's the only time people show up!

    Have you actually done the research on this?

    I didn't really think about the wording of this earlier but now that i do. I'm slightly offended. I know this wasn't your intention.

    Would you rather have a well paid job than one that will possibly add 15-20 years to your life? By that I mean something that lets you wake up and say "woo, time to go to work " and actually enjoy the fact that you can pick up your instrument every day and jam.... not having to make an excuse for not doing 'more important' things.

    once again i better stop. this frustrates me, thats all. your not the first person i have spoken to who started out with goals and ambitions to be a musician. took it down the road for several years.. then got afraid by 'lack of security' and gave it up.

    follow your dreams...live for the now.... work hard.. go with god (figuratively speaking)

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    266
    You know...maybe you just need one of these sitting with you on stage when playing concerts...






    perhaps that would bring in some dough?

    edit: if you busted a hole in his head, you could use him as a sort of change collector...and write the words,

    "PUT MONEY IN OR YOU WILL BE CURSED BY THE ELF CURSE!"

    on a sign in front...

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,123
    If there is one thing that earning a music degree has taught me, it's that your passion in life does not have to be your job. If you do not make a living off of what you feel most passionate about, you aren't somehow less devoted to your craft. I hear a lot of people (not necessarily here, just from day to day in school) talk about how the only thing they care about is music and it's all they ever want to do with their life. Well chances are not every single one of them is going to find a niche within the music industry that exactly meets what they are truely interested in, or even makes them happy.

    I've come to the conclusion that there isn't really any career in the music industry that I can see myself really devoting myself to. There isn't a real market for what I want to do and I've come to the realization that it doesn't matter. I'm not upset that I'm two months away from finishing my degree and just realizing this because I needed to get this far in order to make this conclusion. If you realize what you want sooner, more power to you.

    Music to me has just become a process of self improvement. Nothing more. It's what I enjoy most in life, but being in school has just really made me tired of having to prove that I know what I'm doing. The only person I want to stack myself up against is myself. But I'll see it through because school also gave me a lifetime worth of resources to explore, so it's a fair trade off I suppose.

    plus I enjoy other things in life, like teaching myself languages, reading and staying in shape. I love taking time off my instrument and no longer feel guilty about it. I value some time off more then I value having my instrument in my hand all day. Playing and thinking about music all day, every day, burns me out. I need to stay fresh to be effective. Maybe at some point I will be having those thoughts about not really liking my day job, but I think I'd rather do that and then go home and completely nerd out on some polly rythm rather then wake up every day and teach child after child how to play nickleback songs...not that there aren't other career paths, but as of right now that's probably what I'm most qualified to do.
    Last edited by silent-storm; 02-15-2008 at 10:14 AM.

  15. #15
    Registered User leppard81's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Austria
    Posts
    418
    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm
    If there is one thing that earning a music degree has taught me, it's that your passion in life does not have to be your job. If you do not make a living off of what you feel most passionate about, you aren't .......................etc....... do.
    WOW!

    VERY well said!!!! I couldnt have done this better! Your text coulīdve been written by me..... Iīm writing my own one anyway :


    You know, I came to the same conclusion as you. I did my full-time teaching for the past 2,5 year, had troubles with my tendons. lost my fire and my attidude, didnt care about songwriting anymore..... 2 months back i got an offer for a seasonal job in my area and i was like "Why not, i probably will have a hard time surviving over the winter, since i only have kids anyway, whoīll all be on vacation,etc... I suddenly didnt find it a bad thing anymore, doing anything else than just music. Something i never thought that could or should ever happen to ME! Anyway, i havent got alot of students left currently, but Iīm sure most of them will come back when winter is over... But it already has been said, thereīs no need to do what you love as a job. In the best case, it helps you pay the bills and satisifies you, in the worst itīs killing your passion you once had....I also know that i wonīt go back to self-employment. I think i did quite well for the past years, but then again the effort (bureaucracy,etc....) just isnt worth it........

    Not to forget that since the pressure of self employment is gone, my hand is getting better(!!) and my passion is here again too. He, i wrote 7 songs in the past 5 weeks!! I didnt do that many in the past 8 months...

    Also, having different interests, beside music, really do help. I incidently found interest in things than can be losely connected to music or at leat be an inspiration for making music and writing songs: Languages, Literature, Philosophy, Art, lots of traveling. Also since i write my lyrics in english, i try to find all sort of english books on poetry, rhyming, idioms, literature, etc.... whatever is inspiring...But itīs important that these things also work well without any music connection, so you can free your mind from music too....

    I too believe that spending more time doing something different than music, helps to regain a fresh perspective and a will to play again. I did work for me in the past weeks!
    Last edited by leppard81; 02-15-2008 at 11:36 AM.
    We get the dreams that we deserve.... - Marillion

    Hidden Content


Similar Threads

  1. Usschoolofmusic
    By Koala in forum iBreathe Cafe
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-26-2007, 05:30 PM
  2. A rant: Things that can make ya mad
    By EricV in forum iBreathe Cafe
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: 06-15-2007, 02:36 PM
  3. Nervous
    By Ads in forum Mental Stuff
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 10-04-2005, 06:54 PM
  4. Psychological and metaphysical aspects of Music
    By Blastrid in forum iBreathe Cafe
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 12-22-2004, 03:06 AM
  5. Please give me suggestions on how to learn the basics of music.
    By ComposerRyan in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-11-2004, 10:42 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •