So I am a senior in high school and I really need to start narrowing it down here pretty soon for what I want to do after high school. I know I want to do music and specifically music therapy. The question is about undergraduate/graduate stuff..
My flute teacher went to school with a music therapist and the MT emailed me a while ago. She mentioned getting a bachelors in flute performance and a masters in music therapy. To me that seems VERY appealing but my mom says no.. she is worried there isn't any jobs out there that I can get with just a music performance degree and says I should pick a major that a bachelors degree can still get a decent job with.. I told her I would LOVE to be in like a professional/semi professional orchestra someday maybe on the side of a music therapist and then the performance degree would really help..
And the thing with that is that picking a college for undergrad stuff i can pick ANYWHERE. With music therapy I feel very very limited and feel I can't win with a school I pick.. I'll have to sacrifice a few things no matter where I pick.
I have also been considering doing music therapy combined with music education (a school a few hours from me has a dual degree program) but I have really been thinking the music education part isn't really for me..
........." The question is about undergraduate/graduate stuff..
My flute teacher went to school with a music therapist and the MT emailed me a while ago. She mentioned getting a bachelors in flute performance and a masters in music therapy. To me that seems VERY appealing but my mom says no.. she is worried there isn't any jobs out there that I can get with just a music performance degree and says I should pick a major that a bachelors degree can still get a decent job with. I told her I would LOVE to be in like a professional/semi professional orchestra someday maybe on the side of a music therapist and then the performance degree would really help."
~~How about reconsider a B.M. In Music Ed. with your major concentration in music perf.? (Take Performance level Flute Lessons.) It's a bit more difficult but it would give you more options. The difficulty with performance is getting a good playing job. The average community regional orchs don't pay loads so unless you are in a big costly metropolitan area, your pick-up gigs won't be much. So, your income is going to come from some other means ...like the therapy part.
MOst perf. students are shooting for getting a major Orch position. But mom's right, it requires no degree. It just requires a high concentration on playing combined with the absolute best teachers. To this end, there are only a few of those in the world.
The other choice is college teaching. The pay is good and you have the performance experiences that are on a refined level.
I don't advise students on what to do with their lives, I just coach them on flute. I feel that if they want to make life-changing mistakes, they can blame somebody else for them.
I've found that private teaching is much more enjoyable and rewarding than I ever had anticipated. However, my head is growing more shiny and bald and my nerves are more distraught as time passes. :-)
As for the money.
Since money is the root of all evil, most musicians are to be considered saints.
Bilbo makes some good statements.
Here is my nickels worth - - -
The professional music world is difficult and filled with nasty politics (just like any other job market). Much of it relies on who you know and how well you get along with others.
Getting a performance degree does little to acquiring a job other than get you with a professional quality teacher and teach you the literature you need to know. And in my opinion many students who graduate wit performance degrees are NOT good enough to play professionally (sorry to be negative but it needs to be said). Showing your degree to anyone will not get you a job. Very few people care where you studied, but they do care how well you play. Music Education is a tough hill especially if you find yourself in a college that uses the 'conservatory' method.
I suggest you consider your mother's advice just a little. I have quite a few friends who have a Major in English, or Math, or the Science field and a minor in music. This allows them to have a 'normal' degree for day to day jobs that might offer health insurance and you also get to learn music and play.
Regarding a masters program - you don't have to have a degree in the field, just a degree in something and some knowledge of the field. So a minor in music, with a degree in anything else like Psych, communicative disorders, Science , or biology should be enough to get you into a music therapy masters program.
That said, I chose to get a degree in Music Education with an emphasis in performance (I also did an apprenticeship in Piano rebuilding); against my parents desires. I had no intention of really going into the public school system to teach but I knew the 'edcuation' part of the degree would better better than a 'performance' degree if I needed it at all. I played professionally during and after my college experience. And quite frankly since I was successful my father was now proud of me. Then one day while riding my bicycle I got hit by car that had turned directly into me in the middle of the street. I could not play. I lost all my music jobs because I could not play. When I was better I had obviously been replaced (remember, music is a dirty hard business) there is always someone waiting in the wings to take your place.
I ended up doing other work and over many years I have worked myself back into the music business. My opinion is this, unless you are already good enough to be a top professional within the first year of college you should consider getting a dual major or another major with minor in music. A performance degreee for going into therpy is overkill. And to play in any orchestra other than the big ones, you just need to play well, they don't care about your degree.
Another thing to think about is many music playing opportunities rehearse after 'typical' day business hours. So, having a job in another field, or in music therapy, still allows you to play professionally (and then that music money is a nice added little bonus to your nest egg).
I agree with the two previous posts, a performance degree does little for you, but the training is valuable, the most useful would be an education degree, I know many many great performers who have Ed. degrees, and even some who have degrees outside of music.
My degree was in performance, followed by private studies, the degree has done little for me, but the connections made back in music school made it worthwhile
You might find it useful to discuss with a careers advisor the sorts of jobs which might suit you and the range of courses for the subjects in which you do well. Many of these options you will quickly dismiss while others you'll either know too little about or have no strong feelings about. The only certainties are that a better college will always improve the career options available to you and the course must be sufficient good and enjoyable for you to complete it!
Sadly there are alot of people (including musicians) who feel trapped in their jobs because their education and work experience has been so narrow that they no longer have the option to get a different type of job which they would enjoy better. They can't not work because they need the money for their children, mortgage etc. Often these people are bitter and engage in nasty politics (as John puts it). This is the best reason to keep your education and career path as wide as you can. Obviously, people do take courses in their 40's and 50's and change career paths but its very hard.