Posted by Charles D. Ortega on April 16, 1999 at 19:02:26:
In Reply to: colleges posted by Kevin K on April 15, 1999 at 18:08:51:
So much to say...
First off, I don't know who "Orchestral-schmorchestral" is, but I must address this
person's remarks first. I think this person meant well, but although he/she/it tried, the
method was inappropriate, and some statements were out-and-out wrong.
Do what you want to do. If your highest aspiration is to become an orchestral player,
then do so. Listen to other people's viewpoint, and consider it, but if in your heart of
hearts, you want to be an orchestral tuba player and ONLY an orchestral tuba player, go
for it. I know you have already heard how hard it is to get a job with an orchestra. I
know that you have heard about some of the harsh reality checks that you will have to go
through. And even if you haven't, you will. The point is, don't let anyone dissuade you
from your dream. You may find later, that your dream changes. There is nothing wrong
with that. But, this is as good a place to start as any.
Looking into performance as my profession, I was sidetracked several times by
"well-meaning" people. Most of them Music Educators who were recruiting for their
chosen profession, Teaching. There is nothing wrong with teaching, and there is nothing
wrong with playing. Heck, there isn't even anything wrong with playing AND teaching,
however, these people insisted I should go into Music Education so that I would ...
(everyone say it with me...)
Have something to fall back on (cringe!)
Don't do this...or if you do, don't let this be your reason...there are too many shining
examples of band directors with bad attitudes and terrible bands to attest to the fact that
"falling back" on MUED is a BAD idea.
Being young, and used to heeding my elders' advice, I decided to go into Music Ed. For
the first two years of college, I tried to put myself in that mold. My professors thought I would make an excellent Band Director. I thought I would make an excellent player.
My MUED. professors pulled me one way, and my gut-instinct pulled me another way.
Needless to say, it as not a happy time. A few years (and a few major changes) later, I
wound up pursuing a Performance Degree, like I had always wanted to, and with no
regrets. Of course, you have to go into anything with an open mind. There ARE other
places to play besides orchestra. Bands, quintets, solo, Dixieland, polka, some jazz bands use a tuba for a bass, some places in the entertainment field as well... commercial
recording, and soundtracks. There are others... But, if your goal is to be an orchestral
tubist, do it. In part, it is this perseverance and tenacity that will ultimately get you where you want to be. (let's not forget practicing and studying...!)
When I was looking into colleges, I only looked around in my home state. This was
because I didn't think that I had the money to get anywhere else. Don't limit yourself this way. I have no regrets going to the college I attended, but there are many out there.
Tennessee Tech, and UTK are fine schools. While I have never heard of SMSU, I am
sure it is fine as well.
In my own opinion though, you have to go where it is all happening, if you want to be a
player. The east and west coast have plenty of great schools. New York has tons.
Julliard, and the Manhattan School. Others in that area of the country... New England
Conservatory, Curtis, Peabody. On the West coast, there is UCLA and USC. These
places are higher end places. They will cost more, but also you will be in the thick of it.
Able to go to concerts by fantastic orchestras, you will be able to learn more just by going to these performances and listening. Then there are the other venues that big cities offer.
Opera, Theater, and Ballet. Plus, the jazz scene will be hopping. You will be able to
gain knowledge in other areas of the arts as well.
In a few places in the middle of the country, you can get the same experience. Chicago
comes to mind. Northwestern is a great school. University of North Texas in Dallas (my
alma mater!) also has a great school It is known for Jazz, Music Education, Wind
Studies, and the other areas are above par. Don Little, the tuba teacher there is great, and keeps you on your toes. So ends my UNT plug.
Teachers play quite possibly the MOST important role of your educational career, so
don't overlook them. Sam Pilafian is the best, IMHO. There is also Rex Martin, Toby
Hanks, Dan Perantoni, Don Little, R. Winston Morris. These are the great ones, in my
opinion. They have students out there winning auditions, and getting the jobs.
All this is to say, look at all options. My personal list, in no particular order, is
UNT,USC, Julliard, Northwestern, Curtis, ASU.
Hope this helps.