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college degree!yo opinions would be great.

DarkSymphonyDarkSymphony Registered User regular
edited February 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm 26, going to college starting this summer. I'm a lil late to start with college life, but i'm pretty prepared and excited. I originally thought of going for business and marketing because it's so generalized and usefull, but the more I think about wanting to get something I truly love and want for the rest of my life....I keep coming back to music. I've been into the music scene for years (about 9 or so) and I truly want the rest of my life to involve music, be it playing in a band or producing or anything of the sort. I've always been told that music, much like art, is just a very unsafe degree to spend so much money into.

so my question is, would it really be a bad idea to go for music as opposed to a much more secure degree? Sure, I wouldn't be miserable with a business degree and going for that career type, but I know how much I want music to be the center of my life (and it currently is).

so...opinions? are there other options I'm simply not aware of?

DarkSymphony on

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    4U2NV4U2NV Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    How long do you plan spending at college? 4 years?

    It is extremely possible that you could double major, considering that most of your classes you take are classes from these two majors. You might have to sacrifice a few electives but I think it's pretty possible you can do both. However I might be mistaken, as many schools have a separate music school which you need to be admitted into.

    You should probably talk to a academic advisor about this.

    EDIT: I'm double majoring in English and history.

    4U2NV on
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    DarkSymphonyDarkSymphony Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    alrighty. yeah I'll talk to my current advisor and see what's up. I was just trying to get some opinions and see if the music idea was simply one of those "if you wanna flip burgers for a long time after you graduate, then go for it!" things.

    I definitely can see myself building a good career off the business/marketing branch, but I know how much music consumes me and has been for years so, I just thought this would be the perfect oppertunity to run with it. I mean obviously you don't go to college and get a music degree so that you can then join or make your own band seeing as how anyone can just make a band. Hell I'm in a band right now and I love it.

    DarkSymphony on
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    SoggychickenSoggychicken Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I mean obviously you don't go to college and get a music degree so that you can then join or make your own band seeing as how anyone can just make a band.

    I am confused. What do you want to do with a music degree? If you want music to be a part of your life, my advice is to go to business school and do music as a hobby. Like someone's already said, you can also take a few music courses on the side or get a minor.

    Not trying to discourage you, but music school is very specialized and most programs are classically oriented. If popular music performance is what you want to do, you maybe better off with just taking lessons privately while studying something else. I know plenty of great musicians who opted to study another subject but still find time to perform regularly.

    No, graduating with a music degree does not automatically mean you will be flipping burgers for the rest of your life. At the same time, you must be extremely self-motivated and hard working in order to make a living from music. While your friends who study other subjects may have co-op programs or on campus recruitment to help them start their careers, you will need to do your own digging. You will also likely have a day job in another field to pay the bills while you practice or run between gigs at night. It is not a lifestyle that everyone can handle, and you should figure out if this is something that you want. Do it now, and not four years later when you are thousands of dollars in debt.

    I'm too tired to type a more detailed response, but if you have any specific questions I can try to answer them tomorrow.

    Soggychicken on
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    ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    You may want to look at double-majoring in music and business, and exploring ways to get into the business side of music. As an alternative you could also look at music engineering degrees for recording and such. In my school, this fell under telecommunications. However, I would strongly recommend double majoring. And what soggychicken said about music school should figure into your decision.

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    CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I'm 26, going to college starting this summer. I'm a lil late to start with college life, but i'm pretty prepared and excited. I originally thought of going for business and marketing because it's so generalized and usefull, but the more I think about wanting to get something I truly love and want for the rest of my life....I keep coming back to music. I've been into the music scene for years (about 9 or so) and I truly want the rest of my life to involve music, be it playing in a band or producing or anything of the sort. I've always been told that music, much like art, is just a very unsafe degree to spend so much money into.

    so my question is, would it really be a bad idea to go for music as opposed to a much more secure degree? Sure, I wouldn't be miserable with a business degree and going for that career type, but I know how much I want music to be the center of my life (and it currently is).

    so...opinions? are there other options I'm simply not aware of?


    Music is fine if you accept that you're probably going to end up as a teacher. I have a few friends who graduated from prestigious music programs (Julliard, Eastman etc.), and none of them are living large... but still, they're not exactly dying in the street either. A business degree is what you get if earning money is your #1 priority. If you like stuff like financial markets, why not try for a degree in economics?

    CygnusZ on
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    NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Well, from the way you talk about a "music" degree, it doesnt really sound like you know what you want to do... There are about a thousand things related to music that you can get a job doing, however, I certainly would be doubtful that an all around music degree would prepare you for any of them.

    Maybe you want to be a sound designer. Maybe a musician. Maybe a band manager. Maybe a teacher.

    Regardless of what, if you have a job in mind that you want to achieve, then I'm betting that there are some specialized classes at a specialized school somewhere out there for you. I think if you just went in and got a music degree, you would recieve a well rounded education, but with no usable skills to get a job.

    I agree that a double major or a music minor might be smart. The bussiness side of music is very interesting. I took a great class on it, and it's certainly something you can break into with a ton of effort.

    NotYou on
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    thanimationsthanimations Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Doing a music major by itself is already hard enough, so I doubt you really want to double major. At the vast majority of music schools in the country you need to be in a studio concurrent to majoring in music. That means trying out on an instrument, and then taking master classes for that instrument. It doesn't stop there, though. Most of the time if someone else in your studio (which might have five people, or might have twenty or more) is having a recital, you are obligated to go. If a faculty member is having a recital, especially your instrument's professor, you are obligated to go.

    Nevermind all the time a practice you'll need to be in to keep up with the master classes and various ensembles. If I recall, you need to take two ensembles a semester, which generally run 2-4 hours a week over one or more days. That sounds all well and good, except that nearly every one of these ensemble is only one credit. That's right, there are significant parts of the music degree that don't actually advance your progress with credits.

    So if you want to graduate at a reasonable rate, you have to take more classes in a semester. So two ensembles, a master class, and the various music classes you need to take (theory, sight reading, history, et cetera) and it adds up to be a very difficult degree.

    I supposed it would depend on why you want a music degree. I assume we're talking about music performance here, not education. If it's just because you want to learn your instrument better and you always know you'll be a "weekend warrior" at least, than the highest you'll want to go is a minor. The requirements for a minor is generally one ensemble a semester, a master's class, and then music classes.

    Obviously different music schools have different specific requirements, but I know quite a few music majors at three different colleges that have tons of time commited to their major. I can't imagine trying to double major for that reason.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Earning a major in X does not mean you can only work in X's field.
    That said, a music major is hyperspecific, but many companies will hire you regardless if they think you can help them succeed.

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    spasticsisspasticsis Registered User new member
    edited February 2009
    You could always do something music related, like music therapy. Only a few schools have it, but my little sister went into school as a music therapy major. One school that does have it is SUNY (State University of New York) in New Paltz. I think it has something to do with playing music for people to make them heal better or something. I'm actually not sure, but that seems like a type of thing that could be a career. Not sure how big the job market is for that though.

    Here's a link to my little sister's school's program for music therapy.

    http://www.newpaltz.edu/music/academics_curr_msmusictherapy.html

    Here's a link to a music therapy organization website

    www.musictherapy.org

    Hope this helps.

    spasticsis on
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    SoggychickenSoggychicken Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    spasticsis wrote: »
    You could always do something music related, like music therapy. Only a few schools have it, but my little sister went into school as a music therapy major. One school that does have it is SUNY (State University of New York) in New Paltz. I think it has something to do with playing music for people to make them heal better or something. I'm actually not sure, but that seems like a type of thing that could be a career. Not sure how big the job market is for that though.

    Here's a link to my little sister's school's program for music therapy.

    http://www.newpaltz.edu/music/academics_curr_msmusictherapy.html

    Here's a link to a music therapy organization website

    www.musictherapy.org

    Hope this helps.

    Some people who graduated from music therapy mentioned to me that job opportunities are scarce. This was several years ago though, so it may be different now.

    Soggychicken on
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    supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    You can get a music degree and come out with plenty of job skills if you’re careful. You could go straight into a teaching masters, or study studio production, or sound engineering, or criticism etc. And you’ll have the summers to intern in shops that do this stuff for money, so do so.

    supabeast on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Earning a major in X does not mean you can only work in X's field.
    That said, a music major is hyperspecific, but many companies will hire you regardless if they think you can help them succeed.

    Yep, used to work with an high level IT manager who had a Bachelors in nursing.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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    DarkSymphonyDarkSymphony Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    awesome, thanks guys, this is info that's greatly appreciated. This is exactly the kind of info that I was looking to find. The thing is I just don't have enough info to make a greatly educated decision and this is starting to help me out in that manner.

    DarkSymphony on
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    DarkSymphonyDarkSymphony Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    what I want from music is the ability to jump into the field. I'd love to produce/manage or what have you. I'm in a band now and while I would obviously love for things to happen the right way and for us to explode and get big, I know that there's just about 0 chance for that to happen so I'm not banking on that.

    I think it seems very logical that I could double major or that if I do go with music, I think I'd try to go with something along the lines of getting into producing if possible.

    DarkSymphony on
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    YogYog Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    What's ironic is that right now a buisness degree is about as useful as a music degree. I kid, I kid.

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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    what I want from music is the ability to jump into the field. I'd love to produce/manage or what have you. I'm in a band now and while I would obviously love for things to happen the right way and for us to explode and get big, I know that there's just about 0 chance for that to happen so I'm not banking on that.

    I think it seems very logical that I could double major or that if I do go with music, I think I'd try to go with something along the lines of getting into producing if possible.

    Or major in business and minor in music. That would be perfect for something like producing and going into the business side of things. A music major usually involves lots of studio time and is instrument-focused. If you minor in music you can take all of the music dept. academic classes and all that, and you will probably be required to be in some kind of school ensemble, but there won't be the focus on studio stuff.

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    DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    A good friend of mine got his MS in mechanical engineering and minored in music during his bachelor's. Sorry I do not know exactly what extra courses the music minor required. However, I do know that my minor in physics only required 4 total courses (3 of which were required for my degree!), and it can't be that much different for music. That is 1 extra class per year! I second the recommendation to minor in music or just take classes for fun. This dude now makes the engineering bucks AND can toot a (french) horn.

    PS I wish I had taken advantage of music classes in college. I am 1 year out of my MS and trying to learn piano! It is expensive compared to just taking music as electives that you are paying for already.

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    SoggychickenSoggychicken Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    what I want from music is the ability to jump into the field. I'd love to produce/manage or what have you. I'm in a band now and while I would obviously love for things to happen the right way and for us to explode and get big, I know that there's just about 0 chance for that to happen so I'm not banking on that.

    I think it seems very logical that I could double major or that if I do go with music, I think I'd try to go with something along the lines of getting into producing if possible.

    A bachelor degree in music usually contains the following courses:

    Music Theory
    Music History
    General Musicianship (Sight-Singing, Keyboard Skills, Dictation)
    Private Lessons
    Ensembles

    On top of those core components, you usually get to choose some music and non-music electives. There are some differences between different schools but those are the main courses that music performance majors usually take. On top of that, you'll have to account for the several hours of practice everyday.

    It isn't common for schools to offer undergraduate courses in music management or the more practical business side of the industry. This is starting to change as schools realize the importance of those areas. Another possibility is music administration programs that some schools offer at the graduate level.

    If you want to do producing, I think it'll be beneficial for you to look into a sound recording program. If you are more interested in management, I think the best course is to do a business degree and double major or minor in music. Double majoring is a lot of hard work, but it is not impossible. I know people who are successful in Music / Science and Music / Business. I also know music majors who got into law school or med school. Of course, those are some real smart cookies but it shows that it's not impossible.

    Soggychicken on
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    lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Hrm, Lots of advice is centered around "what do you want to DO with a music degree?" and focused on the idea that college is about training you for a job. You generally see this kind of thinking a lot with science types. My advice is a bit different.

    Ask yourself this:
    Do you want to go to college to get a job? or do you want to go to college to learn about stuff?

    If you are looking at the "i want a job" approach, then you are probably best doing something not music, and then do music as a hobby, take classes in it and such (minor in it?). Its probably best to know what kind of job you'd like if you go this route.

    If you want college to be an experience where you learn about stuff that interests you, go for the music degree. It takes a bit of faith, but there is nothing wrong with this approach. Focus on the learning, possibly take a few business classes here or there if it peaks your interest. Its OK to let college just be for the sake of college. Companies will still hire people who are good and have weird degrees.

    I kind of did the first path (cs major, music minor). A friend of mine did the second path (liberal arts/music major, cs as a hobby/minor). We both now work for the same company doing the same job.

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    SoggychickenSoggychicken Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Hrm, Lots of advice is centered around "what do you want to DO with a music degree?" and focused on the idea that college is about training you for a job. You generally see this kind of thinking a lot with science types. My advice is a bit different.

    Ask yourself this:
    Do you want to go to college to get a job? or do you want to go to college to learn about stuff?

    If you are looking at the "i want a job" approach, then you are probably best doing something not music, and then do music as a hobby, take classes in it and such (minor in it?). Its probably best to know what kind of job you'd like if you go this route.

    If you want college to be an experience where you learn about stuff that interests you, go for the music degree. It takes a bit of faith, but there is nothing wrong with this approach. Focus on the learning, possibly take a few business classes here or there if it peaks your interest. Its OK to let college just be for the sake of college. Companies will still hire people who are good and have weird degrees.

    I kind of did the first path (cs major, music minor). A friend of mine did the second path (liberal arts/music major, cs as a hobby/minor). We both now work for the same company doing the same job.

    Not disputing your point here, but unless you ace the interview, will the hiring manager really not show preference to someone who graduated with a degree in a relating area to the job?

    Soggychicken on
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    mrcheesypantsmrcheesypants Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Answer these questions to see if you can be a music major.
    1. Do you love music?
    2. As in really love music?
    3. As in not just listening to it or occasionally play the guitar, but really love music?
    4. As in not loving music but if music was a person of your sexual preference you would fuck it three times a day?
    5. Do you have a lot of time dedicated to music? As in 20+ hours of classes worth of time to dedicate yourself to music?
    6. Are you obsessed with music and do you tire your non-musical friends with talks of your composition homework and pieces of music a professor is making you perform?
    7. Are you starting to get the idea about what it takes to be a music major?

    Anyway before you attempt to pursue a music major or minor, I would highly recommend you talk to a music major to see what their lives are like. Those guys are crazy about their field and will probably give you a lot of good information about what it's like being a music student.

    My suggestion is if you haven't done any core classes is to take some. Find another interest before you're set on getting a major. Apparently there are degrees that make money other than business.

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    lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Hrm, Lots of advice is centered around "what do you want to DO with a music degree?" and focused on the idea that college is about training you for a job. You generally see this kind of thinking a lot with science types. My advice is a bit different.

    Ask yourself this:
    Do you want to go to college to get a job? or do you want to go to college to learn about stuff?

    If you are looking at the "i want a job" approach, then you are probably best doing something not music, and then do music as a hobby, take classes in it and such (minor in it?). Its probably best to know what kind of job you'd like if you go this route.

    If you want college to be an experience where you learn about stuff that interests you, go for the music degree. It takes a bit of faith, but there is nothing wrong with this approach. Focus on the learning, possibly take a few business classes here or there if it peaks your interest. Its OK to let college just be for the sake of college. Companies will still hire people who are good and have weird degrees.

    I kind of did the first path (cs major, music minor). A friend of mine did the second path (liberal arts/music major, cs as a hobby/minor). We both now work for the same company doing the same job.

    Not disputing your point here, but unless you ace the interview, will the hiring manager really not show preference to someone who graduated with a degree in a relating area to the job?

    It would be harder to find a job yes. But I guess my point was, going to college doesnt necessarily have to be about just finding a job, thats all. I certainly took the "do a major to train me for a job, get the job I was trained to do, collect paycheck" I was fortunate to do a crapload of music at my university too, but I think if I were to go back and do it again, I'd focus more and music and worry about the job stuff later, enjoy learning for the sake of learning kind of thing. Just thought I'd offer another outlook on what you may take away from college.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that in some colleges if you arnt a music major, it is really hard to get into some of the music things. Like I know at some places the orchestra is ONLY made up of music majors.

    lizard eats flies on
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    Space PickleSpace Pickle Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I'm a jazz guitar major in my last semester of a four-year degree. I agree with the people who say a music double-major is borderline impossible due to the time constraints, etc. IMO, music programs really vary from school to school.

    I disagree with the guy who said you're probably going to do classical. That isn't true at all. So tell me:

    What instrument?
    What schools are you looking at?
    What kind of degree? Performance?

    I'd be wary of any school that leaves ensembles open to people who aren't actually in the music program.

    Space Pickle on
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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I'd be wary of any school that leaves ensembles open to people who aren't actually in the music program.

    If you're at a small liberal arts college and not a music school, ensembles are usually open to everyone, with an audition required. At least that's how it was at my school and others I know of.

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    VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Hrm, Lots of advice is centered around "what do you want to DO with a music degree?" and focused on the idea that college is about training you for a job. You generally see this kind of thinking a lot with science types. My advice is a bit different.

    Ask yourself this:
    Do you want to go to college to get a job? or do you want to go to college to learn about stuff?

    If you are looking at the "i want a job" approach, then you are probably best doing something not music, and then do music as a hobby, take classes in it and such (minor in it?). Its probably best to know what kind of job you'd like if you go this route.

    If you want college to be an experience where you learn about stuff that interests you, go for the music degree. It takes a bit of faith, but there is nothing wrong with this approach. Focus on the learning, possibly take a few business classes here or there if it peaks your interest. Its OK to let college just be for the sake of college. Companies will still hire people who are good and have weird degrees.

    I kind of did the first path (cs major, music minor). A friend of mine did the second path (liberal arts/music major, cs as a hobby/minor). We both now work for the same company doing the same job.

    Not disputing your point here, but unless you ace the interview, will the hiring manager really not show preference to someone who graduated with a degree in a relating area to the job?

    If you are a guitar performance major (just using it as an example) don't expect to be able to find a job in an unrelated industry unless you spend your college years working or interning in a field other than music. If you go to a school like Berklee where you can do performance and business for example, then don't worry. In this economy and job environment especially, companies are looking for people trained in their field with experience in their field.

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    Vater5BVater5B Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Do you want to perform, or compose?

    If so, how talented are you now, and how much do you think you can improve in four years of training? Because a degree in performance or composition is worth practically nothing in the music industry. Tons of people have them. Tons of them were the best of their class. Tons of them audition for parts or submit compositions everyday. How many of them make a living on it... very few. Really these degrees are just paper. All that matters in these fields is how well you can do what you do.

    Music Education and Music Production are different beasts. These WILL help you get a job in a related career path so long as you aren't a complete idiot, and even then, sometimes those people get jobs with these degrees.

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    spacerobotspacerobot Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I nearly got my minor in Music. When I say nearly, I mean I was 1 credit short when I graduated. I got involved with the music program because I played trumpet from 5th grade through high school, and my college offered me a small scholarship to play the trumpet in their jazz band.

    My scholarship requirements were that I play in the Big Band (6 hours a week), take 1 credit (1 hour/week) trumpet lessons, join a jazz ensemble (approx 5 hours a week) and help out with other jazz related things (such as stuffing envelopes for one of our very accomplished jazz professors, to get kids to come to her summer camp. Which I always hated doing because it was just to put money into her pocket and not help the school) We also had to do a "jazz jury" where we play to individually in front of our entire jazz faculty twice a year, which was insanely nerve-racking for someone like me who isn't too good.

    Anyway... Between all the credit hours I received just from this scholarship, I decided to minor in music. For my minor I had to take Music theory 1, 2, and 3 while concurrently taking Aural Harmony 1, 2, 3. In addition to those classes, we also had to have so many performance hours (which I got quickly from my scholarship requirements).

    I enjoyed the music theory (even though I wasn't too good at it) and had one of the best Professors I've ever had for those classes... except when I had to take Music Theory 3, my professor went on a pro-term and we had a term-long temporary professor who just got her masters in Music. It sucked a LOT. I ended up dropping out of the class, because of which I never got my minor in Music.

    I ended up switching my major to Elementary Education, and found out that if I even took 1 more music class of any type, I could have an endorsement in Music. I signed up for a jazz history class my last year of college. On the first day I showed up to class and the professor never showed up (This is the same professor that makes us stuff envelopes... Janice Borla if anyone has ever heard of her). We later found out that she decided she didn't want to teach the class that year, so she just didn't. Because it was my last year in college, and classes had already started, it was impossible for me to join another music class... therefore I wasn't able to complete my music endorsement (It's ok though, I ended up getting my major in Psychology so I didn't even need it)

    Most people say they only regret things they did not do. But I do regret trying to get my minor in music. Or more specifically I regret accepting the jazz scholarship. Because there were so many requirements for it, I easily maxed out on my term credits, and was unable to take as many academic classes- which ultimately led to me spending a couple extra years in college and now having to pay $500 a month in student loans.

    So even though I never even got my minor in music, It's been just as useful as if I did receive my minor. Since I graduated I have done a lot of substitute teaching. Since my school district only hires music subs that has a boat load of college credits in music, I have received several subbing jobs for music classes.

    The moral of my story is that on one hand, music should only be done if you are very very serious about it, and if you drop out of it at the end of your career you will be forever in debt to your student loans. But on the other hand, skills in music are needed occasionally and it can get you a job.

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    wenchkillawenchkilla Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    My advice doesn't have anything to do with music, precisely because you already know you like it.

    First two years are always pre-reqs, right? For your electives, take some stuff you've never experienced and think might be interesting, and if you like it, see if you can take more. Even if you don't end up majoring in it, it could be a great experience.

    Personally I figured this out a bit late, but while it won't say anything about History on my Civil Engineering diploma, I'm pretty sure I've found a lifelong study interest and hobby.

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    DarkSymphonyDarkSymphony Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    thanks a lot guys. this is all stuff I need to hear. I think I have a good understanding of what I want and being that there are so many branches to go off of in the music industry, I think I wanna try and go after one that involves the business side of things.

    DarkSymphony on
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