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 College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: clarinet977 
Date:   2009-01-15 02:08

I'm a junior in high school and I'm beginning to think seriously about college. I have a ton of questions relating to music, degrees, and basically the application process in general. I'm very passionate about music and while I know I want to continue, I also know I would like to study some form of science. At this point, I feel that a double major or double degree would best fit my interests.
Many of the people around me keep on telling me that it is insane to attempt either of these, and that the workload in college is far too much. Did any of you do double degrees in music and other subject? Did you find the experience to be worthwhile, or was it overwhelming and too time consuming? I'm not much of a partier but that the same time, I hope to have a social life in college.
Also, is it generally more difficult to get into double degree programs? At this point my top colleges are Carnegie Mellon and Northwestern. Know any specifics about these schools?
Also, (sorry, I know I'm asking a lot) when should I begin working on music specifically for college auditions? If I am playing a piece such as the Mozart Concerto is it acceptable to audition on A clarinet or does the audition need to be on Bb? Are live auditions always better than recorded? Any tips at the audition process?
Thank you so much!

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2009-01-15 04:30

I did a double major in computer science and music composition. Virtually no overlap in coursework, save for a music synthesis class that I got counted for a somewhat vague comp sci elective category.

It was completely worth it. However, I was only able to do it because of a few factors:

1) I started as a music minor, and eventually upgraded it to a second major. I highly doubt I'd have made it if I started with both, because the music major brings with it lots of units you have to take every semester. Four years of that, I could manage. 7 years? No.

2) It took me 7 years, of 14-20 units per semester, usually around 17. I topped the charts at well over 200 semester units (134 is required for a Bachelors' degree)

3) I went to a local state university (which happened to have quite good programs in both areas) and lived at home. My parents paid the $1500-3000/yr (costs doubled during my tenure) and all my expenses. Seven years without scholarship at a pricier institution would have put me in crippling debt and/or forced me to take on a lot of part-time jobs.

4) Again, I started as a music minor. So it was a different mindset. Many of the classes that music majors were taking because they had to and didn't care for and found a drag, I was taking for the fun of it. I was literally 3 classes away from a BA (the generic easier non-specialized degree at my school) with all the electives I'd taken by the time I finished my 4th year. At that point, it almost didn't make sense NOT to declare the second major. I almost certainly would have burned out if I started with both majors.

Music is by far one of the most demanding majors on campus, up there with the hard sciences. Not counting the handful who doubled in performance/composition or performance/ed, I knew a couple others who double-majored in unrelated topics. One in Bio, one in English. They took more than 20 units many semesters (for over 18, you need a letter from the undergrad advisor to certify that you are within the general realm of sane). The English major even graduated in 4 years with both.

The first few years, my social life was generally in the vicinity of computer science, with some student organizations, a year in student government, a three-year programming internship (that has become my day job, until I go to grad school for music), and general hanging out. Once I started getting further into music, it consumed my free time and social life. Instead of calling people up to go to the movies, I hung out in the practice rooms. And I would have it no other way... graduation was very much a shock that I'm still recovering from, and I have applications out to grad schools for music next fall.

When I started as an undergrad, I was determined to get a high-paying job in computer science, probably making some awesome games and such. At graduation, I wanted to do a computer-music mix of some sort. Now I want to teach music at the college level and open a concert hall. Occasionally, I lament never giving biology or linguistics an honest look. Plans change. Having multiple specializations gives you more flexibility to change your mind later. But yeah, it takes a lot more time and work.

So, in short, I might recommend maybe starting with a minor in one of them, with the intention of perhaps upgrading. More importantly, though, I'd recommend going somewhere that doesn't break the bank. At $3,000 a year, you can afford to explore. At $30,000, not so much. Unless you get a spectacular scholarship, hedge your bets at a really good "value" school. I lucked out that the inexpensive school 10 minutes from home had a really good music program; music program quality wasn't even a thought in my head when I applied.

As a bonus, if you go somewhere inexpensive, if you find yet another major that you like even better than the ones you started with and want to change, the financial hit of adding a year or two for the switch doesn't hurt nearly as much.

You can go pricy at the grad school level. And they might even pay your way as a TA when you get there.


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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: William 
Date:   2009-01-15 15:22

"Passionate" about music, but also interested in "some form" of science....hmmm, sounds like **MUSIC** to me. In any case, I would recommend choosing which field of study is really most important to you and then devote 100% of your life's work towards it. However, as a scientist, it would be possible to be a credible musician, but as a full-time professional musician, it would be quite difficult to also be a credible scientist. Imagine a membler of the Chicago Symphony clarinet section maintaining a competant medical practice for patients "on the side". (ouch) Pete Fountain, part time brain surgeon (LOL)

Seriously, I think you need to make a choice. "Some form" of science and music are too diverse to adequately do both.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: dgclarinet 
Date:   2009-01-15 16:09

William...that really depends on your definition of "adequate". If you're looking to play in the Chicago Symphony, you might be right. If you want to love music and have some fun playing the clarinet, I think you're wrong.

My son went to an engineering school. He now has a degree in engineering and worked like a madman to get that degree in 5 years. The school he went to doesn't have a music program, but they do have a Music Minor...where he could take lessons, play in some darn good ensembles, and take enough music classes to realize that he would have hated any more theory classes. For him, the music minor route worked out perfectly. He has his day job now, which pays pretty well...and he gets to enjoy music and play enough clarinet to stay involved with musicians (sometimes a pretty cool thing too).

Then again, my first clarinet teacher (and the best player I ever heard live) either had a double degree in Music and Math, or just the math degree. It didn't seem to slow him down at all.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: Dan Oberlin 2017
Date:   2009-01-15 16:23

As with many things, it depends on you. My step-daughter is finishing her eighth semester of college and will graduate this spring with degrees in clarinet and mathematics. In spite of working part time the last two years, she has yet to make a grade below an A. And, by the way, she "has a life". Clearly she was not "insane to attempt" this. BUT, she is bright, disciplined, and hard-working. If you are too, then there is no reason not to consider a double major.


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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2009-01-15 19:16

For what it's worth, when I started college, I was passionate about computer science, and just "really liked" music. "Playing in band" music. I had never seen a piece of solo repertoire ("30 best solos" books don't count), don't think I'd been to a professional-level classical concert, wouldn't have been able to tell a concerto from a sonata, never played in an orchestra, didn't know Mozart from Wagner. In retrospect, while I thought I played all right, my clarinetting was absolutely atrocious at the time. I hadn't written a note on paper when I started, and composition had never crossed my mind as an option.

Two years after graduation, I'm performed internationally, up to my ears in commission requests, starting ensembles, making plans to open a concert hall. With my starting-college plans, I thought I'd be a senior programmer at Blizzard right now.

Stuff changes, and you're likely to find yourself doing something different in college than what you started out in, or at least doing a different angle on it than you expected... but only if you're open to it and watching for it.

On the other hand, I've known countless bright people (high school valedictorians and the like) who just went straight through with their original plan, graduated from big-name colleges, then found themselves not actually liking what they got their degrees in. Having never looked around at other options until graduation, some end up starting from scratch after that, or heavily modifying their plans. (a really sharp biochem graduate I know is now a delightfully happy accountant)

I'd suggest to look at the things you're really good at, and try to figure out if you actually *like* doing them, and like doing them *a lot*. There's always time to change your mind, but the later you do it, the harder (or, at least, the more of a shock) it might be. I discovered after graduation that, while I'm good at CS, I only really like doing it about 10 hours a week. That's how much I did in college, and it worked out great there, but after I graduated I burned out really fast with 40 hours/week. I'd been spending 30, 40, 50, 60 hours per week around musicians, though, and had no problem with that, hence the grad school apps. :)


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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: clarinet977 
Date:   2009-01-15 21:00

Wow, thank you for the advice. It's really helpful!
And just to clarify, I guess the way I feel is that I want to continue music but I don't picture myself being in a major orchestra or anything like that. It's not that I am more passionate about music than academics, it's more that I am still unsure of exactly what field I would like to study. My goal would be to continue music, and hopefully do something with it on the side, but not have it as my main job. I probably should consider a minor.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: ginny 
Date:   2009-01-15 22:39

My son majored in math and music his first semesters at school. After getting a job programming on the Keck telescope part time through a physics prof he switched to physics alone. He thought physics required more time than math, but continues to play in the university orchestra on clarinet and play in some other ensembles. I don't know if he has the units for a music minor, he got through most of the required theory, but not his Junior or Senior recitals.

Post Edited (2009-01-15 22:40)

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: Rob Vitale 
Date:   2009-01-16 00:26

Hi there,
Okay, this is what you can ask your schools. Often, there is a third degree option at schools that is not limited to just a B.M. in education or performance. My school also offers a B.A. degree in music which pretty much is a 3 year degree in music. It has fewer credit hours and doesn't have a precise focus other then just overall music. With the free time you gain from this degree, it leaves room to either double major (my roommate is doing this in music and math) or pick up one or even two minors. I'm sure big Universities like CMU and NWU offer such a degree. This degree is also offered because sometimes music majors get lazy with their studies and realize their junior year that they aren't on track to graduate in 4 years with a degree in performance or education. Their decision....change the major to a B.A. in music, graduate in 4 years, and mom and dad stays happy.

I will attempt to answer all of your questions that you posted. 1, Start working on your audition music asap. You cannot prepare enough! 2,The Mozart is the most played audition piece, and if they ask for a contrasting time period the Stravinsky 3 pieces is second. I auditioned on these pieces for all of my undergrad schools and let me tell you something, so did everybody else. Unless the school asks for you to play it, It would be my advice to play other music. How's your Poulenc sonata and Weber concertos? If you do decide to play it, go ahead an play it on A. The teachers will like to hear how you play on both A and Bb. lots of clarinet players sound different on their two instruments. Its should be a goal to sound as close as possible on both. 3, if you want to get into a great school like the ones you listed, playing is not enough to get you in. There is a process. Meet and take multiple lessons with every clarinet teacher at that institution. Not just the one you want to study with. At the audition they also want to see who they believe will succeed at their school. Mozart, even a fine performance wont tell that. By meeting with every teacher, you walk into an audition and they all say, hey look its clarinet977. He comes from blank. He plays on a blank. His high school is blank. His current teacher is blank. He does blank well. He needs improvement in blank. There will be over 100 clarinetists to apply to CMU and NWU this year. I guarantee that the ones that they pick will have met with most if not all of the teachers. Even if you can't meet them, at least e-mail them. 4, which answers your last question, try to get to a live audition. Its not always possible, we all live crazy lives, but it is preffered. I would definetly audition to your top schools, and at lest one of your fall back schools that you would like to attend. I realize that this is a lot to chew on. I know how crazy the process is. I went through it for undergrad and am about to do it again for graduate work. If you have any other questions feel free to e-mail me. I would be most happy to help you. Good Luck!!

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: mrn 
Date:   2009-01-16 00:29

William wrote:

<<However, as a scientist, it would be possible to be a credible musician, but as a full-time professional musician, it would be quite difficult to also be a credible scientist. Imagine a membler of the Chicago Symphony clarinet section maintaining a competant medical practice for patients "on the side". (ouch) Pete Fountain, part time brain surgeon (LOL)

Seriously, I think you need to make a choice. "Some form" of science and music are too diverse to adequately do both.>>

I disagree with this. Credibility is not really an issue here, because we're only talking about undergraduate majors.

If you actually want to have a career as a *scientist* (as opposed to, say, a high school science teacher), you have to go to graduate school--and there, it's your research that counts. And in that case, having an undergraduate degree in music (in addition to one in science) just makes you a more interested and well-rounded applicant to graduate school--it's probably more a plus than a minus. Not that it isn't hard to double major--it's a lot of work, from what I understand--but I disagree with the notion that it would reflect negatively on you, as William seems to suggest. (And as I suggested, anyone with only a bachelor's degree in a scientific field who goes aroud calling himself/herself a "scientist" isn't going to be taken seriously, anyway.)

Speaking from my own experience, being a full-time lawyer didn't stop me from being a part-time PhD student in Computer Science, nor did it prevent me from having my research papers accepted for presentation and publication at an international conference. (You see, I am a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, myself :) ) [Although, in my case, Computer Science is a subject that is complementary to my profession, because I'm a patent lawyer and my clients are mostly high-tech companies.]

And as far as being a physician/surgeon is concerned, I know at least two who majored in music as undergrads (one of whom was a performance major at Northwestern). You don't have to major in "pre-med" or biology to go to medical school--you just have to be willing to take a handful of prerequisite science classes (like organic chemistry), none of which are much higher than sophomore level. In fact, at some medical schools, they don't even require you to have completed an undergraduate degree--you just have to take the prerequisite classes.

And even if you consider the musical side, think about this: Even the "full-time" players in major symphony orchestras usually have some kind of day job, oftentimes as a university music professor. If you are qualified enough in a non-music field to be a professor in that subject, I see no reason why you couldn't teach that subject as a professor (or lecturer) in addition to holding down a symphony job.

Nor is it impossible to change careers--even dramatically. My younger brother took a nautical archaeology class in college. The professor who taught the class had a previous career as a musician. More specifically, he was the drummer in Three Dog Night!

But in any case, as I see it, what you do as an undergraduate has little bearing on any of that, except to the extent that it prepares you for graduate school in your subject(s) of choice. And, of course, if your career of choice is law, then unless you want to practice patent law like me, it doesn't make a particle of difference what you study as an undergraduate!

Post Edited (2009-01-16 00:50)

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: Bluesparkle 
Date:   2009-01-16 00:34

I started my college career as a music education major. 2 years in, I changed it to Communications. Just met a lot of other people to whom music came much easier than it does to me, and I didn't want to claw my way through life. They, not me, are the ones who can actually make a living wage in the music world. I enjoy music daily, and am part of a choir, I play handbells, play with the local community orchestra, the alumni band on occasion, and am much more satisfied as a "music lover."

In contrast, I live near Oak Ridge, TN, where the engineering and science community is pretty thick. There's a big difference between the income made by musicians and those made by scientists.

College is a lot more demanding than most high schoolers think, and I'm not just talking about classes. All of a sudden, you are the only one responsible for feeding yourself each and every meal, you have to wash your own underwear (before you run out), wake yourself up, keep your car filled with gas, save money for that gas, there are many social lessons, and daily life lessons that happen in college.

The first couple of years are mostly core courses anyway, no matter what your major.

I say choose the major in which you are most likely to succeed, and enjoy taking a few classes in the other subject. You might find that there is even a third option out there that you don't know about yet.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2009-01-16 01:26

I went to Carnegie-Mellon and went through a similar conflict - I wanted to be an engineering major but also a composition major. Addressing one comment above, as a general statement, you do NOT have to have a graduate degree to have a career as a scientist. I am a chemical engineer with a job that I love doing research-oriented and developmental engineering not even a year out of school (and better than 60% of my major's grad. class was the same way). I don't mean to say that mrn is completely wrong, because he's not. A little clarification on your part, clarinet977, will help us guide this conversation. Do you want to be a physicist? Biologist? Or do you want to be a computer scientist? An engineer? A technician? These are all things you must think about -- there's a big difference. With the pure sciences, mrn is correct, having a graduate degree will go a long way but I'm not sure of the merit of having a music degree on the side. What will that tell about your research abilities? Graduate schools will much rather see research experience and a publication or two as an undergrad.

I decided to minor in music at CMU for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to be an engineer, not a musician. I don't want to teach music and I don't have the chops to play in a major symphony. Plus I like engineering (most importantly!). Second, while I spent 80% of my time in high school doing music, my main priority of getting my BS in a science field took 95% of my time in college. Finally, I don't know of a single person who, at CMU, was able to complete a double major in music and a science major in 4 years - most take 5-7 years.

CMU is pretty good in the undergrad sciences with getting people out in 4 years. I'd say 90% are done in 4 years. The reputation that CMU has in the science community, particularly engineering, physics, and computer science, is very good allowing for very good job opportunities after college. The career center is excellent and does a lot to get students post-graduate opportunities, whether it be a job or graduate school. This is one of the best things about the school.

Most music classes occur during the day (as opposed to at night) and, inevitably, if you want to do a double major, classes you need for both degrees will overlap. Furthermore, CMU has a lot of opportunities to participate in music activities without being a major/minor. I played in the wind ensemble there for every semester except two and participated in chamber ensembles as well as musicals. If you want to sing, being in the choir (Dr. Page conducting - a legend) is open to you as well. Want to take theory? Go for it. Jazz band, no problem. Pellow is a great conductor. Same thing for all of the courses as long as you meet the pre-req's. As an interviewer now I think as a whole I don't look at "on-the-side" degrees as much as I do activities. I like to see organizational, not necessarily classroom, experience.

So what I'm trying to boil down to is that if you just have an interest in music as a side interest I would suggest not doing a double major but taking music classes as you have time and playing in a group or two while you're in college. It will take some of the stress off of you regarding staying extra years and the high amount of extra classes you'd have to take. This will give you the opportunity to continue what you love as a hobby while preparing you for what you want as a career. If you decide you'd rather do music , you'll be well prepared to make that jump as well.

If you have any other questions about CMU feel free to send me an e-mail.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: mrn 
Date:   2009-01-16 02:08

clarinetist04 wrote:

<<With the pure sciences, mrn is correct, having a graduate degree will go a long way but I'm not sure of the merit of having a music degree on the side.>>

That's what I meant--pure science. Most *engineers* have only bachelor's degrees (but it's usually a 5 year degree). Based just on what I know (which isn't that much when it comes to Chem. E.), the kind of research chemical engineers do is probably not too different than the kind of research industrial chemists (who studied Chemistry as opposed to Chem. E.) do.

I don't really know if having a music degree on the side ever helped anyone get into grad. school in some other field, but what I was trying to say was that I don't think it hurts. (Although there's been at least one study done that correlates music as an activity with leadership ability--and those of us who know about music know that musical accomplishment is an excellent indicator of self-discipline).

Post Edited (2009-01-16 02:35)

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: bcl1dso 
Date:   2009-01-16 02:36

Alright, I am going to have to disagree with you Rob. Although it is very risky to play Mozart, if you can have a technically effortless and musically creative performance, you can put that up against anything and it would be hard to beat. That is why in the finals for Curtis they ask for the Mozart and only the Mozart.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: Ebclarinet1 
Date:   2009-01-16 19:01

I am a Ph.D. in cell biology and that is my full time job. When I went for my first meeting with my major professor, his comment was, "You realized you've committed to at least 8 years as anything short of a Ph.D. in biology is a booby prize." You can be a lab tech with less but in general they are not fulfilling careers. Engineers are the exception but even there you need an advanced degree to do real research or teach at the university level.

My clarinet teacher told me "You'll make much more money as a scientist" and he had played under Toscanini. He is probably right.

Like many of the orthers, I took music classes as an undergrad, having enough to minor but never declaring it. In some ways I think I have the best of both worlds as I play with professional musicians but I have a fulfilling career as a science that pays the bills. I don't have to worry about "the next gig".

Neither career is EASY. Think long and hard about either one. I had a passion for both but both are careers that sort of require you have that passion.

Eefer guy

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: Jacob S 
Date:   2009-01-17 17:34

clarinet977, I think we are in the same boat... I'm a junior thinking about college, torn between biomed and clarinet. I'd just like to add some of my thoughts, maybe different answers will come from it and both of us would be helped even more?

I have been thinking about a double major, but after some people saying they spent 7 years in college, I don't know if I'd be able to handle that. I'm just not well up to date as to how most colleges work (like upgrading from minors to majors). I really like to help people, science classes, and solving problems, so biomedical engineering has been what I turn to. Music, though, is my *passion* as well. I don't think that like other people, I can wake up each day and be excited to solve problems and do science; I wake up excited to play clarinet. Clarinet is what I should go after, obviously, but the catch is that above all I want to have a family and time to spend with my family. I don't want to put down anyone who has chosen a music profession, but the chances of getting a supporting job and then having time away from the job to be with family doesn't seem likely to me...

I like the idea of minoring in music or just taking a few music courses to make the switch, if it happens, a bit smoother. Where does the line between what job will make you happiest and what job will make your life away from your job happiest cross?

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: pewd 
Date:   2009-01-17 22:07

you have to balance 'passion' with 'reality'.
loving the clarinet is nice, but it is very difficult to pay the bills with a music degree.

in my case, i went for a computer science major - and spent most of my college years living in the music building.

computer science paid the bills, allowed me to retire young, and today i play in a symphony with MRN - and teach clarinet on the side. but i never would have made enough money to raise a family had i majored in music. i often times wonder what my life would have been like today had i done so.

i managed 5-6 hours a day on the clairnet, plus a science major - but it took me 5 1/2 years. i did not major or minor in music ; my minor is in chemistry. i really think i would have been better off today with the music minor. music does teach you a tremendous amount of self discipline, useful in whatever path life leads you down.

a double major is doable, if you want it bad enough. in my case, i spent 20 years in computers, then dumped that for music. so both courses of study served me well. i ended up using both ; i'm still middle aged , no telling what will happen the next 30 years.

if a double major is your goal and passion ; then by all means go for it.
if economic success is a goal - then perhaps a minor in music is more realistic.

good luck! keep us posted on your progress .

*edit: and never learned to spell 'clarinet' apparently :)

- Paul
private teacher - Dallas, Texas

Post Edited (2009-01-17 22:11)

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2009-01-17 22:37

good, mrn, then I guess we're on the same page.

Look, all of you high schoolers, you are so early in your career that God only knows what you'll want to do when you get to college. Get there, take some classes, and THEN see what you want to do. Hey, I was able to take a bunch of music classes (9) -- you don't have to be a music major at many institutions to take a lot of music courses. As long as you meet the pre-reqs you should be good to go.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: clariknight 
Date:   2009-01-17 23:40

Everyone wants different things. Some people want to make lots of money, have a nice house and car a family. They want to support them and give them everything they want. They want to retire early and be able to take their kids to their first day of kindergarten; they want to be there when their kids need help on their homework. And, to an extent, everyone wants this. But there are those who want something more. Something so incredibly fulfilling that to not put everything into it would kill them. These are the artists. They spend hours each day in the practice room or in front of a mural of with a pencil in hand because the reward of their work is something akin to winning the lottery, only they get that feeling every time they perform, or finish a book or a painting or a photograph. A photographer by the name of Ken Rockwell who writes beautiful articles on photography wrote one about the seven levels of artists (in the photo world, but it really applies to any sort of art). The final two levels are something like amateurs and artists. Amateurs are those who do not get their income from photography but still love making photographs and often make very beautiful ones. This level is equal for amateur musicians: they love to make music but not enough to give up the safety of a day job. And they can still make wonderful music, but they will never play with the NYPO. Artists are those who, as Rockwell puts it,
"An artist is a complete master of his tools. When creating art an artist transcends common existence as his spirit flies up to meet that which he is capturing. He may practice and learn his tools while he is not creating, however when creating the camera becomes an extension of his mind. No conscious thought is expended on the technical issues with which he is a virtuoso while creating photographs.

To make a musical analogy, a musician may woodshed his scales, but when he's jamming he's not even thinking about fingerings. He's lost in the passion of the moment."

Insert music for photographs and you get the idea. Now, if you put yourself in the artist category, go to school for music. And you won't ever look back. If you don't feel like that is you, minor in music. Continue to play you whole life with chamber ensembles and local orchestras/bands and any other performances you can find time for. But look out for your needs first, if those truly are a nice house with a brand new car in the garage, a golden retriever and a family who you can spend the weekends with.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: voodoosausage 
Date:   2009-01-18 01:56

Not that we need more input on this thread, but I'll add some more anyway.

I'm currently a double-major at Boston U for music performance and aerospace engineering, in my last semester. However, I would never advise someone else to do the same.

The problem with both music and any hardcore science is that if you want to excel, you need to devote all of your time and passion to it. I know for a fact that spending so many hours in a practice room has taken away from the quality of the work that I do in my engineering courses, and of course the reverse is true - if I hadn't spent so much time on my lab reports and spent more time practicing I'd be a much better musician.

The reason I still do it, though, is that I know I can't live with having music or engineering be just a hobby to me. Now if you feel the same way, then you'll probably end up in a similar situation, with your alarm clock set to 6am 7 days a week so that you might have time to practice almost half as much as you wish you could, and get maybe a third of the work done that you need to for your thermodynamics and aerodynamics classes.

Before you commit to it, think hard and make sure it's worth it to you.

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: C2thew 
Date:   2009-01-18 02:42

this is turning into a very good read.

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. they are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which was already but too easy to arrive as railroads lead to Boston to New York
-Walden; Henry Thoreau

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 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2009-01-18 06:12

Voodoo brings up a great point, and I've been stumbling over the same problems over the past few years. Having degrees in both fields, I still tried to pursue both music and computer science after graduation. Combined with a social life and some down time (I burn out if I don't have quite a bit of time to unwind), I began to see my skills in both fields languish simply from lack of attention. For a while, my "day job" (the computer end) took priority, as it will tend to when your presence is required 8 hours a day.

After 8 hours at the office, I'd arrive home drained, more mentally and creatively than physically. Computer science is all about figuring out different ways to put things together, and the last thing I wanted to do was come home and figure out different ways to put notes together. So my music suffered. Writing has been procrastinated nearly to death (down to a piece or two a year, though they're big-ish), and practice became something that happened on occasion.

Unlike voodoo, though, I've found that I can let my computer focus go. I'll always have it to fall back on, to pay the bills if music falls through. But I'm fine doing it only a few hours a week, or not at all. The music would hurt too much to give up, for me. So I have my grad school apps out, and I'll be going that route, or at least seeing how far it will take me. The people at my work have been more than cool about things, and I've gotten myself into more maintenance-oriented than creative-oriented tasks, and have flexible work hours that have allowed me to get back on a regular practice schedule without going crazy.

But yeah, there's no way I could go after both at the same time at the level I want to. I don't regret the double major at all, because whichever I pick to focus on, I can use the other in (I've written tunes and done sound design in my computer job, and I can do all sorts of computer stuff on the music end). But I have to pick one or the other to focus on or I have a combination of regret that I'm not giving proper attention to either, and a complete lack of time to do anything else.

I found it much easier to do two things at a time in college than after graduation.


As for "loving music", I "loved music" in high school. When I got to college, I realized that my definition of "loving music" was much more along the lines of "play music for a hobby and like it." And I was content with that for a couple years. Then I actually discovered music and found out what "loving music" meant, and the possibilities of me having a long-term career in computer science were utterly ruined.


And as for a music minor and taking classes as a non-major... I initially signed up as a music minor because all the coolest-sounding classes said "for music majors and minors only." It was simply a formality for me to get into the good stuff. Had no idea it would turn into a major. The thought of spending 7 years in college was unacceptable. IMHO, a decision like that may be best made a couple years into college, if conditions allow.


Reply To Message
 Re: College--Auditions, double majors, etc.
Author: clariknight 
Date:   2009-01-20 02:18

Can this thread be moved to the keepers section?

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