Re: Music major doubts

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Posted by Steve Marcus on May 03, 1999 at 08:14:34:

In Reply to: Music major doubts posted by Tito on May 02, 1999 at 21:35:26:

Jay's interaction with his parents was very similar to mine. I was a pre-med major in my first semester of college, and I was miserable. The only class that I looked forward to all week was counterpoint. I felt that I had given chemistry, calculus, etc., a fair chance when I resolved after that semester to transfer to another college and major in music. The response from my parents, like Jay's, was, "You'll have to make it on your own. But if you're happy, that's the most important thing."

Indeed, my years in college were some of the happiest I've ever experienced. It was the first time in my life that I was able to totally immerse myself in music, because I did not come from a family or enclave of friends who were musicians.

My parents' resistance may have been partially due to a lack of awareness that there are other careers in music besides performing. I did enjoy teaching, so it was not a second choice or merely a fallback if performing didn't work out.

Everyone spends the majority of their waking hours at their career. For so many people, a job is merely a means to an end--to earn the income to support family, life style, etc. Today, I feel quite fortunate that I do enjoy what I do for a living every day in my music-related career as Director of Sales for Steinway Pianos in the Chicago area. Occasionally, I envy those who choose performing as a career because, despite their struggling financially and/or constantly joining the "cattle call" audition routine in hopes of landing a good position, they have chosen to spend many hours each day doing what they love--practicing the tuba--raising their own bar of performance level.

There are many music-related careers other than performing that can provide you with pleasure and can take advantage of your abilities as a musician. Teaching is only one of the possibilities. A number of universities offer Business of Music Degree programs. Many of those belong to NAMBI (National Asociation of Music Business Institutions). This area of study leads to careers in arts management, musical instrument retail/wholesale, etc.

If you would be happy only if you pursue a music-related career, performing is only one of the options available to you.

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