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Do I have what it takes to be a music major?

angelsolis18angelsolis18 Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
edited January 2010 in Music Major
I got into Carleton College on ED which I know isn't really a music school. I never even though about majoring in music until recently. I was dead set on being a pre-med student.

I really like playing music. I play drums and bass guitar. I played bass guitar in my middle school band and jazz band in 9th grade but after that I couldn't make room for it in my schedule. I know how to read music for bass and i can kinda read music for drums. I have talent on the drums really. I've only been playing a kit for about a year but I can already do things some of my friends can't who have been playing for years. How hard is it to major in music?

And also, what is the job market? If I majored in music, I figure i'd give private lessons at a music store. How much could I make from doing that and how hard would it be to find a job doing that? I don't expect to make millions obviously, but I want to be able to live comfortably in a modest home at least.

Thanks in advance.
Post edited by angelsolis18 on

Replies to: Do I have what it takes to be a music major?

  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    I'd suggest you start by reading these


    The bulk of the students represented here have had years of private instruction, intensive immersion programs and experiences. But that is not always the case. No one can answer how good or what your potential might be via an internet forum.

    The key is objective, professional level assessment of your skills, talent and potential, and a understanding of how you might relate to the incredible talent that is out there.

    Even those with top level skills and the finest schools and training are not employed full time in music. Yet there are also those whose "day job" is not music related, but can have a reasonable amount of success teaching and performing yet not relying on it as a sole source of income.

    Think long and hard, and research before you head down the path as a profession.
  • rigaudonrigaudon Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    Angelsolis18, just to clarify, are you considering majoring in music at Carleton? Since you got accepted there ED, I assume that is where you will be attending? (Congratulations, by the way!) Have you looked into the music dept/major there? Or were your questions in the context of a possible transfer to a different school?
  • angelsolis18angelsolis18 Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    rigaudon, i looked at Carleton's music department. I was just asking about a degree in music in general.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    The people I know who are teaching for music stores are not making enough to afford their own home. Some are still living with parents, some are renting with very little hope of saving enough for a down payment on a house unless they are married to someone with a better-paying job. Many do not spend more than a couple of years in that job before moving on to something else, frequently something outside the music industry.

    Typically, the students who look for teachers at music stores are young beginners whose parents are shopping on the basis of low cost and convenience. For you, that generally translates to low pay (especially after the store takes its cut) and hours that are a lot more convenient for the students' parents than they are for you, i.e. you will be working lots of evenings and weekends.

    Admittedly, this is in a very high cost of living area within commuting range of Manhattan, so it may be more of a possibility in other parts of the country.
  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    I'll make this a bit more personal. Son has a BM in performance and a heavy minor in music ed (he chose to opt out of the teaching certification of the program late in the game).

    He has a now tenured chair in a regional orchestra that he won right out of college. He has taught/teaches at a summer chamber music program for adults since he was an undergrad, teaches in a publicly sponsored after school program Oct-May, has some private students, and was an instructor at a couple of local music school. When the economy tanked, the music school positions were the first to go, as lesson costs became a burden to his students/families. He has a full time day job that allows him the flexibility to take pro auditions, teach during the summers, and take time off for festival programs. His music income is a quarter to a third of his total income. To put it in perspective, he's still living at home, paying his own bills (largely a car payment, health & car insurance, and his student loans, personal audition expenses). He is frugal, and he's not saving much.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,439 Senior Member
    "How hard is it to major in music?"
    That depends upon the school and upon you, and frankly, can't be answered here. None of us know your abilities, but as a general rule, as an instrumental major, you'd be competing for a spot against kids who have been playing since they were little and have spend hours and hours practicing, weeks at summer sessions, time playing in ensembles and at competitions. Their families have spent vast sums on instruments,lessons, travel and playing and performing opportunties.They have found the time in their schedules, often and the expense of doing many other things high school kids expect to do. On paper, taken from your description, you are not in that league.But, we don't know, perhaps you are really a phenom and are willing to devote yourself wholeheartedly to music and work until you are able to get into a suitable program.
    I would say that anyone who approaches music with the thought of "how much money can I make" is going to be disappointed and should probably consider another field where skills can be quantified and correlated with income potential. If you read the other threads running now and see what is going on with auditions, you'll see just how much goes into the preparation for those- it's not for the fainthearted!
    By all means, keep playing and find the time for lessons- you may find that you want to make the switch! Congrats on your ED! What is your planned major?
This discussion has been closed.