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The post college experience and the real world
#1845362 02/15/12 03:02 PM
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This is not to open old wounds, but rather to respond to a few comments that I was unable to, once the previous topic was closed. First of all I would appreciate of we could avoid the name calling nonsense because I tend to view the topic as a lot more important than some other topics posted on this forum. The long-term implications are really more important than you would want to believe.

First to "Pogo", I don't think that money is the most important thing on the planet, but it does make the world go round so to speak. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, say circa 1982, two college grads found themselves having acquired two degrees, some(modest)school loans and ...surprise a newborn. Just as the degrees were awarded, the fellowships dried up and so...reality came quite quickly. No jobs, no insurance and major (but wonderful) complications. My wife secured a job at the University library, I worked a menial retail job and slowly built up a studio while pursuing (unsuccessfully) teaching positions at colleges near and far. This didn't generate enough cash to cover the birth of our daughter. I sold my motorcycle to aid in that regard and made up the difference. At one point we were down to $125 in the bank,and I spent $100 of that buying another bike that I could quickly resell for a whopping $750 in a few weeks time. Things of course improved and we are a highly resourceful duo...still. The first house we bought was a foreclosure special and we managed to buy it with a combined income of $23K. The second house was another foreclosure special but was a total mess holes in the walls, roof issues, A/C issues, you name it, but it was 3200 Sq. Ft with a pool (actually a pond with snakes and frogs as purchased) and 5 car garage and acreage. If you are exceedingly resourceful, you can circumvent the money issues to some degree. But, many folks are not as resourceful, but still want a somewhat comfortable basic lifestyle. For instance, to be able to continue playing piano without annoying neighbors in an apartment might be considered a modest request. It might be nice to buy a grand piano to play. Eventually these modest desires will dictate a single family abode of some kind. It also might be nice to locate that home in an area that doesn't require burglar bars. It might be nice to own a car that is under 10 years and 100K miles as well.

"Aargh" posed the question about whether I was disappointed about studying music in school? The answer is a resounding "no". I love music, I love the piano and most of all, I have a one in a million marriage that would not have come about without the music experience. All of that being said, if I had it to do over, I would have either double-majored in undergrad, or after grad I should have gotten another advanced degree in an unrelated field.

What most young folks need to consider is the small factoid I injected early on about 70% of Juilliard grads not remaining in the music field 10 years post grad. The real question is how many of you are actually better performers than that 70%. That should determine what you should pursue vis a vis a career in the future. As to any advice given by faculty, I tend to view it as jaundiced. The sole purpose of colleges is to generate credit hours and crank out some degrees. If the studios are not full, teachers go adjunct. Their vested interest is their jobs, no more, no less. Not only that, but like in any field, their view is narrow. That's all that they know.

Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845400 02/15/12 03:55 PM
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i missed the other thread but i can guess what happened. i wouldn't think your story applies to everyone; "one man's food is another's poison" and all that i suppose.


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845435 02/15/12 04:36 PM
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I wrote an essay that Clavier Companion published on their website a few years ago regarding this same topic, it's here:
http://www.claviercompanion.com/nov-dec-09/essays/essay1.html

Obviously my views have changed a bit since then, and I'll elaborate more on that and other things in a longer post later.

In the meantime I'd like to throw out that I find it annoying that music has the "worst" rep for bringing in lucrative income and job security. If you really think about it, the only things that one can pursue in school that will lead to assured financial comfort are law, medicine, applied sciences, and things related to finance. Speaking from experience in the observation of my many nonmusical friends, people who have general liberal arts degrees are even more screwed than people who have music degrees in this economy.

My brother was a film studies major, and my cousin an art major...the former is working at Ralphs, the latter a busboy...at least i"m teaching piano for ah hourly wage many times theirs...........it's not just music that should be considered dangerous..

Last edited by Opus_Maximus; 02/15/12 04:37 PM.
Re: The post college experience and the real world
Opus_Maximus #1845459 02/15/12 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
I wrote an essay that Clavier Companion published on their website a few years ago regarding this same topic, it's here:
http://www.claviercompanion.com/nov-dec-09/essays/essay1.html

Obviously my views have changed a bit since then, and I'll elaborate more on that and other things in a longer post later.

In the meantime I'd like to throw out that I find it annoying that music has the "worst" rep for bringing in lucrative income and job security. If you really think about it, the only things that one can pursue in school that will lead to assured financial comfort are law, medicine, applied sciences, and things related to finance. Speaking from experience in the observation of my many nonmusical friends, people who have general liberal arts degrees are even more screwed than people who have music degrees in this economy.

My brother was a film studies major, and my cousin an art major...the former is working at Ralphs, the latter a busboy...at least i"m teaching piano for ah hourly wage many times theirs...........it's not just music that should be considered dangerous..


+1

I'm also getting a bit tired of this "music = no future". Everyone has different experiences. What happened to John, happened to John. I know it's a difficult field, but so are MANY others, like Maximus pointed out.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845462 02/15/12 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by John Pels
As to any advice given by faculty, I tend to view it as jaundiced. The sole purpose of colleges is to generate credit hours and crank out some degrees. If the studios are not full, teachers go adjunct. Their vested interest is their jobs, no more, no less. Not only that, but like in any field, their view is narrow. That's all that they know.


How nice of you to judge without even knowing the people involved of the situation. Please don't. It's a bit ignorant.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845466 02/15/12 05:04 PM
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Btw I urge all of you to read Maximus's essay. It's great.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845552 02/15/12 07:11 PM
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Yes, wonderful essay, Opus_Maximus (btw--3rd Rachmaninoff at 15? Goodness!). I am about to finish a Master's at a state university, and though I play fairly well I am hardly near the top. Even so, I am frankly quite sick of the doom-and-gloom attitude with which our field is saturated. Of course, as young pianists we fall in love with the great concert legends and sub/consciously model our ideal image of the future on what others have done...so when we realize---normally, it seems, in our late teens---that we will probably not be winning huge competitions and giving Carnegie Hall recitals to rave reviews, we feel disillusioned and lost (I say "we" because I've seen this happen to many of my friends and myself, although I can't recall ever expecting to win any kind of competition...heh!).

Anyway, it's good to be reminded that 1) these same things occur in basically every other field, 2) you'll always be happiest and therefore most successful in the field you love the most, and 3) the life of an active pianist/accompanist/teacher/composer/etc. can be extremely fulfilling even if you're not living in a mansion or seeing YOUR interpretation of the Schumann Fantasie on Deutsche Grammophone. I don't think classical piano is a dead field for people getting degrees (in fact I think it's kind of exciting to see all that enthusiasm, even though that may come 'round and force me out of the job in the end), but we have to be smart and broaden our expectations of what being a musician entails, and what we can do to make a living doing it.

Sorry to the original poster, I don't mean to steer the thread away from it. I must have missed whatever the first thread was about and honestly was mostly interested in O_M's essay. Interesting story, though...as Pogorelich. said, everyone's got one, and who knows where I'll end up in 5 years...maybe not in music at all (hope not!). Still, glad things worked out.

Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845575 02/15/12 07:41 PM
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Beautiful essay, Carlos! I loved it. smile

Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845587 02/15/12 07:56 PM
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Excellent piece, Carlos. You have the kind of attitude that will lead to success. The glass isn't half empty, it's 75% full. There is no better course than following your destiny, whatever it turns out to be.


"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas
Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845648 02/15/12 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by John Pels
...
First to "Pogo", I don't think that money is the most important thing on the planet, but it does make the world go round so to speak.


You said this because you use your logical thinking, not your passion. But everybody is different....some follow their passion and successful.....assuming they have the ability to do so.

Originally Posted by John Pels

What most young folks need to consider is the small factoid I injected early on about 70% of Juilliard grads not remaining in the music field 10 years post grad. The real question is how many of you are actually better performers than that 70%. That should determine what you should pursue vis a vis a career in the future.


Another logical thinking. But we cannot say anything, because it is not our life. It is ok if others want to try....who knows they make it. I will use your thought in guiding my life. If 70% of those who graduated from Juilliard cannot make it in the piano world, what is the chance for those who could not even at the par of Juilliard grads?? But again, follow what makes you happy, it is the most important. It is YOUR LIFE. Ability to accept the reality is the key of happiness. It is much more painful if we are passionate about certain thing, in this context, playing piano, but we cannot be successful in that field.

Re: The post college experience and the real world
Opus_Maximus #1845658 02/15/12 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
If you really think about it, the only things that one can pursue in school that will lead to assured financial comfort are law,


[digression] Actually, law school is probably worse than music school these days for "assured financial comfort." The whole enterprise is imploding, and too many of today's law school graduates are unable to find legal-related employment yet are saddled with $100,000 or more in non-dischargeable student debt. Google "law school scam" for some eye-opening blogs and stories. eek

I strongly advise my students NOT to apply to law school unless their credentials are strong enough to get them into a top-20 school and they're getting a free ride (or have wealthy parents...). [/digression]

Re: The post college experience and the real world
Monica K. #1845660 02/15/12 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.
....Actually, law school is probably worse than music school these days for "assured financial comfort."....

Absolutely no way. smile
Notwithstanding the things that you correctly pointed out.

IMO what you said about top 20 AND a free ride is a very extreme position. But if you had said "or" instead of "and," I'd say you weren't far off.

Last edited by Mark_C; 02/15/12 09:17 PM.
Re: The post college experience and the real world
Monica K. #1845661 02/15/12 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.

I strongly advise my students NOT to apply to law school unless their credentials are strong enough to get them into a top-20 school and they're getting a free ride (or have wealthy parents...). [/digression]


Would this be applicable to music school?

Re: The post college experience and the real world
Mark_C #1845667 02/15/12 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Monica K.
....Actually, law school is probably worse than music school these days for "assured financial comfort."....

Absolutely no way. smile

Notwithstanding the things that you correctly pointed out.


What's the average cost of getting a music degree? I've assumed (perhaps incorrectly?) that the tuition in music programs is much lower than that for law school, and/or that more grants/T.A.s/scholarships etc. are available for music students.

Law students who can't find employment as a lawyer don't have a lot of options for using their degrees. Read this post on the "Inside the Law School Scam" blog for reference. A music career, as O.M.'s essay makes clear, would appear to offer many more options for a wide range of relevant income than a law degree.

Re: The post college experience and the real world
Monica K. #1845672 02/15/12 09:16 PM
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BTW see my above edit.

Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845703 02/15/12 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by John Pels

What most young folks need to consider is the small factoid I injected early on about 70% of Juilliard grads not remaining in the music field 10 years post grad.


Do you have the cite for that? The reason I ask is because the way I remember it from some article I read, that statistic is for non-piano Juilliard grads. But my memory isn't especially reliable...

Re: The post college experience and the real world
John Pels #1845717 02/15/12 10:50 PM
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You're correct, wr. It was for non-piano playing graduates.

I think this is the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/arts/music/12waki.html

Re: The post college experience and the real world
Monica K. #1845725 02/15/12 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.
What's the average cost of getting a music degree? I've assumed (perhaps incorrectly?) that the tuition in music programs is much lower than that for law school, and/or that more grants/T.A.s/scholarships etc. are available for music students.



I was able to do three degrees in music for less than $40k total. And some of that was by choice - I could've worked during my graduate degrees, but chose to live on loan money instead so I could practice and get more performing experience. All of my loans went towards living expenses and summer studies in Aspen - all my regular tuition and fees were paid for by scholarship and teaching assistantships.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: The post college experience and the real world
Richter #1845733 02/15/12 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Richter
You're correct, wr. It was for non-piano playing graduates.

I think this is the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/arts/music/12waki.html

A couple of things:

-- I would think that if anything it's worse for piano grads than non-piano grads. But.....

-- The information in the article doesn't indicate anything like the figure that John cited. Most of those people are basically making a life in music.


But, for what it's worth, that figure from John is well in line with what I recall reading (elsewhere) and what I think I've seen.

Last edited by Mark_C; 02/15/12 11:34 PM.
Re: The post college experience and the real world
Monica K. #1845825 02/16/12 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Monica K.
....Actually, law school is probably worse than music school these days for "assured financial comfort."....

Absolutely no way. smile

Notwithstanding the things that you correctly pointed out.



Law students who can't find employment as a lawyer don't have a lot of options for using their degrees. Read this post on the "Inside the Law School Scam" blog for reference. A music career, as O.M.'s essay makes clear, would appear to offer many more options for a wide range of relevant income than a law degree.


This is definitely true. My ex is in the top 5% of his class at a top 40 school. Has a good resume of work experience through several very good internships and he still cannot find a job. He graduates in May, and things are looking pretty bleak. He plans to take out more loans to live on while he studies for the Bar exam and hopes that after he passes some firm will hire him. The same story applies to many of his classmates as well. The only people who are getting jobs who aren't from a top 15 school are those who have connections. (And many of his classmates do have parental connections and come from wealthy families) He is already $150K in debt just from the past 3 years.

I on the other hand am not making a lawyer salary teaching piano, but I am able to support myself, and still have time to practice and keep working on my own playing. I do have considerable student loan debt unfortunately and if I could do it over again, I would have taken time off between degrees to improve my playing. I felt kind of rushed going straight on to a Master's degree when I did, and could have probably benefited from another year or two of private study in between. Maybe I would have had more options and a better financial aid offer if I had waited.

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