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I'm in my first year of college (I graduated a year early), and I posted something years back about wanting to be a concert pianist and got stomped out because I wasn't advanced enough, hadn't practiced enough, whatever. I started my first year at a fairly presitgious university (that will remained...

9 months ago 5


  1. Tim

    Hello guy, it's good to hear from you. I remember the conversations about your wanting to pursue a career and how you were warned about being so far behind schedule. I'm glad you got a spot in a good school, but I see you've realized we were right about having a LOT of catching up to do. But I'm happy that you took the challenge. If you recall, I was the one who suggested you look into the organ for a lucrative option, as the world is full of pianists and there's a dearth of organists. I enjoyed several exchanges with you.

    Well, you're surviving freshman year. Trust me, it's the hardest you'll do. Freshmen get the crappy practice rooms, the crummy schedules, being last in line for everything. Being frosh is the worst! When did I come to realize that it wasn't the life I'd fantasized about when I was 16? About six weeks into freshman year. Hang in there.

  2. Mamianka

    A life in any career takes work. A life in music takes more work than medical school - and the possibilities of making a living are far, far less. I think we went thru this with you before. So now you are trying to play catch-up - and are gobsmacked. When you graduate - what do you expect to do with your degree? As Tim so wisely said - be an organist, major in liturgical music, and find s FULL-TIME church job - which might also include conducting a choir from the keyboard ( not the best - it's a cost-cutter for churches. Having a separate choral director is far better.) I cannot even tell you to change your major to Music Ed - there are less teaching jobs than there used to be, even though many of us took early retirement when we could (DH and I both left in our mid-fifties - because we had built up a lot of playing connections and a decent amount of private students - and now in THIS part of the US, both of those things are way down.) I think we talked in previous postings that even national conventions of professional players have sessions that address the DISSERVICE we do when we send our best and brightest off to college as performance majors - it's like sending lemmings off a cliff, or releasing beautiful animals raised in sheltered captivity, into the wild, where we KNOW that only a small percentage will live - and not for long. I wish we professional could tell you that if you do Thing 1 then Thing 2 then t Thing3 - your future will be golden! So you are studying and practicing to improve yourself - and then what???? Unless and until the arts and education viewpoint an funding in the US changes RADICALLY, we just cannot whole-heartedly encourage fine students - let alone deficient, untrained, etc. ones (and I do not mean you - I mean the TRULY lost who come here) - to consider a major in the arts. You will graduate with an enormous debt, and no prospects. Bad enough the be a new engineer or doctor who is 6 figures in debt - they at least know they will pay it off. Anymore - us old people, as you like to call us - despair FOR YOU. We are now retired, and life is very, very good to us - but that is because we did well when times for the arts and education were better here, than what they are now. We would love to see things change for the better - but we doubt it will before you graduate. So sorry to tell you this - and I do not say it with any malice - it is just the truth. I have had several VERY fine flute students in the last few years, who I know were just WAITING for me to talk to them about getting competitive auditions ready for top conservatories - but as wonderful as they were, I knew that there is no life waiting for them. You college will never tell you this - they are a BUSINESS, no matter how well they educate you - they need to stay in BUSINESS, and if you choose to major in something, that was your choice. I have former students and children of colleagues with Masters degrees from Juilliard - and cannot find work. Nowhere. They are competing against the last 10 o 15 years; worth of similar graduates. If you are already singing that this is NOT what you expected - and maybe NOT for you at all as a FULL-TIME profession - then re-examine your plans, and adjust. No shame at all in that - it is being sensible. Play music for the rest of your life - and do something else you LIKE and are good at, to pay your bills. There is no nobility or romance in starvation or deprivation. I have playing colleagues who are WONDERFUL, and are a biologist, a e dietitian, a surgical nurse, a long-haul trucker, a school psychologist, a librarian and several other jobs. I also have playing colleagues that are resentful as heck that DH and I travel all over and have 7 figures in investments, great health insurance, pensions, etc. etc. They were performance majors who looked down their noses at us who taught, or took other intelligent jobs with great benefits - they thought they were just PURER musicians. Now - they are struggling - and we STILL play just as well as they do. Choose now - it does not mean LEAVING music - it means making a profession and life so you CAN do music, when YOU want to.

    I always remember the scene in Up in the Air, where George Clooney has been brought in to fire a top computer guy. He looks at the guy's info, and sees he had degrees from top culinary schools - then got married quick, had kids - and went back to learn to be a programmer - the sensible choice for his family. NOW he is being bought out with a HUGE lump-sum - and has a son who wants to be a chef. Their dream comes true - they can buy a fine restaurant and work together. Not meant to be a sappy tear-jerker - but an indication of what detours on your life can DO for you.

    So give this some serious thought. Do NOT go into debt for something that will not pay you back - *that* will kill you for years and years. We all here wish you much luck - but this might not be for YOU - or it might have been for you if the country/world/times were not as they are. Please stay in touch here.

  3. Minister of Truth

    sounds like the wrong school,

    very wrong to stomp you, have you practice 6 hrs / day in a cramped room,

    and feel like your trudging through music to an unglamorous career.

    hope your transfer soon

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