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#1943055 - 08/15/12 08:38 AM What happens after getting a music degree?  
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Gould Offline
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I've always been wondering what the next steps of a musical career would be after one were to obtain their music degree. It would be greatly appreciated if someone could share their insights onto what exactly happens after obtaining a music degree. Does one proceed straight into a performance career and how (if possible..) or is it far more likely to be going down the path of musical education? or could it be a lot more complex than I think it is?

Thank you for answering in advance! smile

Last edited by Gould; 08/15/12 08:39 AM.
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#1943059 - 08/15/12 08:49 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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You teach. Hahaha, I don't really know, but considering how super-competitive piano is, I doubt there are many better opportunities unless you are very good.


Chopin, Brahms, Schubert, Rachmaninov
#1943078 - 08/15/12 09:33 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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well, speaking from experience, after receiving my music degree i've gone on to have a long and lucrative career in... software development! grin

#1943085 - 08/15/12 09:49 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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I don't have one, but I can relate my daughter's experience. After she received her degree (double degree, music and education), she had an appointment to a school to teach - maths!! Eventually, she taught music + science. After 4 or 5 years of this, she left to have a family.

She is now self employed - as a professional photographer.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-15)).
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#1943095 - 08/15/12 10:13 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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One friend taught music in the public schools for 38 years, and now is busy as heck playing organ for funerals all over her area, organ for her regular church services, and has also accompanied a community chorus. The husband had the more lucrative job, enabling them to raise kids, put thru college etc.

Another friend has a similar life - teaches voice, piano, is a church organist/music director and also directs musicals on stage. Your income has to come from many sources, for the most part.

#1943096 - 08/15/12 10:17 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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People do a wide variety of things after graduation. For some examples, here's what friends of mine have ended up doing:

1) Teaching - both private and at a variety of institutions

2) Performing - freelance accompanying, dance accompanying, positions within academia (staff accompanist), church music, touring with a death metal band (yes, I have a friend who tours with a death metal band)

3) Entrepreneurs:

http://www.rockstarzusa.com
http://pianoteacherschool.com
http://www.kateallendesign.com
http://www.composecreate.com
http://daveschallacoustic.com

What people need to understand about a music degree is that it does not lay out a direct vocational path. Unfortunately, the vast majority of music schools in the US are still based on a conservatory model - they provide training that prepares one to be a concert pianist, focusing on solo classical literature. It's often up to the student to figure out how to turn that training into a marketable skill, and that often depends on where they live and what opportunities are available. (And what opportunities they can invent for themselves!)


"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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#1943097 - 08/15/12 10:18 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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In music a degree only has significance if you want to teach in a school system or university.

If you're a performer or composer it's nice for a wall hanging but it's what you produce musically that counts.



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#1943101 - 08/15/12 10:28 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Thank you for all the insightful replies!

Most of the people that I have asked in my life said that when one obtains a music degree he/she would have a high tendency to go to music education. What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle? Or is there some kind of belief that one day you will meet a students with a much higher potential than you and guide them to become great musicians one day or something like that?

Last edited by Gould; 08/15/12 10:29 AM.
#1943105 - 08/15/12 10:34 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Sometimes a musician can be a 'jack-of-all trades'.....I can speak from personal experience. Out of college I taught for 3 years[ music] in Indiana during which time I was an accompanist for the US Steel Singers and choir director for Serbian Orthodox church.. Afterwards I moved to San Diego and was playing in an all-girl band....that led to work at a private school teaching music...all the while performing on the side, directing a choir and giving private lessons. Eventually I found myself writing and recording music. As times would have it [ considering the current economy] my best income is from private lessons. Good thing I like it but my favorite thing to do is study, practice and add to my repertoire.

rada
ps...oh there were specialty times, like playing in the 1/2 time show of a superbowl...

#1943109 - 08/15/12 10:44 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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do music as a hobby and take your MCAT to go to medical school or go into nursing.

#1943111 - 08/15/12 10:46 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Originally Posted by Gould
Thank you for all the insightful replies!

What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle?

Or is there some kind of belief that one day you will meet a students with a much higher potential than you and guide them to become great musicians one day or something like that?


You either are, or are not, a teacher at your core - Regardless of the subject. And only you can answer that. If you are,(I am not by the way), then the second part of your statement is your life's quest, and the first part of your statment is your life's reality. In one fashion or another, this fact of life applies to all professions too.

#1943117 - 08/15/12 11:06 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Originally Posted by Gould
Thank you for all the insightful replies!

Most of the people that I have asked in my life said that when one obtains a music degree he/she would have a high tendency to go to music education. What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle? Or is there some kind of belief that one day you will meet a students with a much higher potential than you and guide them to become great musicians one day or something like that?


The goal of teaching isn't to inspire people to a music degree. The goal of teaching is to help people learn an instrument and gain a skill that allows them to express themselves and share music with others.

I don't think pediatricians walk around saying: "What's the point of caring for kids just so they can grow up and become pediatricians and care for more kids?"


"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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#1943118 - 08/15/12 11:07 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Originally Posted by Gould
Thank you for all the insightful replies!

Most of the people that I have asked in my life said that when one obtains a music degree he/she would have a high tendency to go to music education. What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle? Or is there some kind of belief that one day you will meet a students with a much higher potential than you and guide them to become great musicians one day or something like that?


The goal of teaching isn't to inspire people to a music degree. The goal of teaching is to help people learn an instrument and gain a skill that allows them to express themselves and share music with others.

I don't think pediatricians walk around saying: "What's the point of caring for kids just so they can grow up and become pediatricians and care for more kids?"


Haha, thanks for that reply! I have no idea why I didin't see it in that kind of perspective before! smile

#1943127 - 08/15/12 11:37 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Originally Posted by Gould
I've always been wondering what the next steps of a musical career would be after one were to obtain their music degree. It would be greatly appreciated if someone could share their insights onto what exactly happens after obtaining a music degree. Does one proceed straight into a performance career and how (if possible..) or is it far more likely to be going down the path of musical education? or could it be a lot more complex than I think it is?

Thank you for answering in advance! smile


I think that the passive question is badly formed. I don't think it's a question of "what happens after .. a music degree?" Nothing may happen unless one tries to make it happen. The question should be : "What does one want to do in life, musically, and how does one proceed towards that goal." Will a music degree help to attain that goal? What kind of music degree? How will it help? If not, how does one get there?

Regards,


BruceD
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#1943129 - 08/15/12 11:38 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Here's my 2 cents from piano students perspectives:

Piano is a hobby of mine and the goal of my learning is not getting into a music school. Instead it is to understand and enjoy the music. In my mediocre ways, I am happy when I feel like understanding the pathos, unlocking the secret buried within a piece and be in touch with the beauty. I greatly appreciate my teachers from past to present who enabled me to have this joy in life.

Without music, what's life all about? Most of us have to eat (& feed others), digest food, sleep and get up in the morning to work to enable us to eat (& feed), digest food, sleep and rinse and repeat all of that. If there's no music, other arts, passion for some other interesting things, our life will be very similar to that of ants on the ground. It's like a barren desert to me (It's ironic I live in Phoenix, AZ). Why do we have to have a vocational purpose for everything?



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2) Beethoven sonata g major 14 No. 2 (re do)
3) Chopin a flat major Ballade (schubert Impromptu A flat D935 No2)
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#1943240 - 08/15/12 02:32 PM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Originally Posted by Gould
Originally Posted by Kreisler
Originally Posted by Gould
Thank you for all the insightful replies!

Most of the people that I have asked in my life said that when one obtains a music degree he/she would have a high tendency to go to music education. What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle? Or is there some kind of belief that one day you will meet a students with a much higher potential than you and guide them to become great musicians one day or something like that?


The goal of teaching isn't to inspire people to a music degree. The goal of teaching is to help people learn an instrument and gain a skill that allows them to express themselves and share music with others.

I don't think pediatricians walk around saying: "What's the point of caring for kids just so they can grow up and become pediatricians and care for more kids?"


Haha, thanks for that reply! I have no idea why I didin't see it in that kind of perspective before! smile


I can understand your question. A well meaning prof, on noticing me slacking off on my history assignments gave me a little talk about the importance of grades on getting into grad school and the eventual possibility of a teaching position. I appreciated his concern and that he considered me worth the intervention but didn't have the heart to tell him that I didn't want to extend my time in university and working in a large institution was my idea of a nightmare.

I've often gotten the impression from students and professors that the ideal career is to never leave school, in which case it does start to look cyclic.

#1943251 - 08/15/12 02:48 PM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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I'm not sure how I feel about this thread, since I'm a performance major, and though I'm well aware that teaching will probably be a good chunk of my source of income, it's not what I'm in it for. I would quit in an instant if I felt like that was all I had to look forward to.

#1943253 - 08/15/12 02:53 PM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
What people need to understand about a music degree is that it does not lay out a direct vocational path. Unfortunately, the vast majority of music schools in the US are still based on a conservatory model - they provide training that prepares one to be a concert pianist, focusing on solo classical literature. It's often up to the student to figure out how to turn that training into a marketable skill, and that often depends on where they live and what opportunities are available. (And what opportunities they can invent for themselves!)
It seems to me like:

1. Music schools including conservatories should offer some specific courses in addition to their piano performance classes to help graduates be better prepared for what will probably not be a career exclusively as a performer. It seems unfair to me that so few schools apparently do this.

My guess is some talented people with a great love for music might not be proficient enough to turn their degrees into marketable skills.

2. Someone should write a book about this (if it hasn't already been done).

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/15/12 02:54 PM.
#1943270 - 08/15/12 03:30 PM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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The best book on the subject is "The Musician's Way" by Gerald Klickstein.

He's the director of the Music Entrepreneurship & Career Center at Peabody, and the book was written to relay his experiences helping his students guild careers after school. (If memory serves, he taught classical guitar at NCSA.)

It's a fantastic book. More schools are coming around; it's a bit more common to find innovative programs at private schools (they're a bit more nimble since they don't have to deal with as much bureaucratic red tape as public universities.) NEC also has good entrepreneurship opportunities for its students as well.


"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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#1943564 - 08/16/12 04:57 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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I believe that the big music colleges (RAM, RCM, RNCM) in the UK don't just teach students solo stuff, but also chamber music, ensemble work etc and - probably most importantly - marketing skills: how to get an agent, make oneself known etc. Without which, unless you're very lucky or hugely talented (read: winning the Tchaikovsky or Chopin Competition) you won't make a career solely from performing.

I'd guess that most people don't go to music colleges in order to be music teachers, but most will end up being one, that is, if they do end up making their living from music.

In my case, I realized very early on that I didn't have the talent to become a professional concert pianist, and I certainly didn't want to teach (after seeing what my teachers had to put up with grin), so music has stayed as a hobby ever since. Hardly anyone I work with know of my love of classical music, much less that I can (just about) tinkle the ivories.....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#1943601 - 08/16/12 07:32 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Originally Posted by Gould
What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle?


On the other hand, what's wrong with that, as long as the people doing it are happy with it? Being an academic can be a satisfying and complete life, AFAIK.


#1943606 - 08/16/12 08:06 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis

I'd guess that most people don't go to music colleges in order to be music teachers, but most will end up being one, that is, if they do end up making their living from music.


A study was done on what happens to music graduates in the uk a few years ago, some results here (towards bottom) ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/jul/10/music-degree-graduate-careers




#1943617 - 08/16/12 08:43 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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Well, let's see -- in my case, by the time I got my DMA I realized making a living as a musician was a dim possibility for me, so I fumbled my way into a career as an editor, which I am still doing 20 years later. I still play the cello and do a few gigs, have a student (am looking for more -- is anyone interested? :)), and play principal in an amateur orchestra. The piano is getting a lot of my attention these days -- I'm taking lessons (from someone who has had a long and excellent career teaching amateurs, BTW) and working on my skills. It's all for the love of doing it, not because it's a career, which maybe is how it should be, at least for most of us.

I just read an excellent essay about all this. It was written almost 20 years ago but is just as valid today:

Resuscitating Art Music

Last edited by Piano Again; 08/16/12 08:44 AM.

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#1944123 - 08/16/12 09:54 PM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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I had the same kind of question when I was a high school senior. I realized there is almost no chance I could make a living as a solo pianist, and I had no desire become a teacher (I don't think I make a good teacher), so I went for a non-music degree for undergrad. But I decided music is what I really want to do with my life, and discovered the world of collaborative piano after I graduated college! Now I'm finishing up a master's degree in collab piano, and hoping to eventually make a living entirely from accompanying.

If you like chamber music and working with other musicians, you should definitely look into this path! It's more realistic and probable than a solo performing career, and it's very rewarding too.

#1944189 - 08/16/12 11:52 PM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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I have a son who is a very fine pianist, he would have loved to have been a Music Major but fortunately became a Molecular Bio -Physicist and is well known in his field. He discovered the Amateur Competitions a few years ago and competes as time allows. I have a Performance degree that is old as the hills but enjoy the Amateur Competitions as well. I taught privately for 42 years. Can't say that I miss that at all! I NEVER made a living at it, the thought makes me shudder!


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#1944225 - 08/17/12 01:24 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Being an academic can be a satisfying and complete life, AFAIK.



What's a complete life, AFAYK? While I am still trying to figure that out, I have never caught myself putting those two words, academic and complete in one sentence.

#1944250 - 08/17/12 03:31 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Gould
What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle?


On the other hand, what's wrong with that, as long as the people doing it are happy with it? Being an academic can be a satisfying and complete life, AFAIK.



I don't need to quote H. L. Mencken do I?



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#1944264 - 08/17/12 04:31 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Dave Horne]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Gould
What's the point of that if teaching people to play music and inspire them to pursue a music degree if doing so would only repeat the cycle?


On the other hand, what's wrong with that, as long as the people doing it are happy with it? Being an academic can be a satisfying and complete life, AFAIK.



I don't need to quote H. L. Mencken do I?


You can quote whoever you want to your heart's content - makes not an iota of difference in regard to what real people do with their lives and how they feel about it.


#1944277 - 08/17/12 05:39 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: wr]  
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My cynicism stems from having worked with so many individuals who have musical degrees and had seemingly great difficulty actually making music.




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#1944372 - 08/17/12 09:48 AM Re: What happens after getting a music degree? [Re: Gould]  
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An interesting factoid: Orchestral musicians tend to have a very low job satisfaction rate.


"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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Feasibility of content vs piano brands or modules
by TripleSharp. 09/21/17 07:13 AM
Accompanying a singer on a digital piano?
by ClsscLib. 09/21/17 06:31 AM
Problematic trill in minute waltz
by zsolpyW. 09/21/17 04:34 AM
Hand size (Yuja Wang) picture
by phantomFive. 09/21/17 01:12 AM
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