Double major in Music and (Bio)Math

<p>Currently, I attend the Florida State University, and when I got accepted, all I could think about was how great their arts program was. I spent my whole first year taking lessons, dance courses, and theatre classes in preparation for an audition for their Musical Theatre program. Unfortunately, I had only done theatre in college that one year, as well as dance. Knowing that music was my strongest point I also auditioned for and got accepted into their college of music (voice principal).</p>

<p>Unfortunately, after acceptance, I started to think that music was not a good major for anyone who wanted to be able to find a job. I was told that art is a waste of time (not from FSU students and faculty necessarily, but from internet searches, some people on campus, parts of my conscious, etcetera). But then I remembered why I came to FSU, and decided that music can work, but only with smart planing, dedication and passion. I am a firm believer that if you set your mind to something you love, it will set itself to you. </p>

<p>It was at that moment that I remembered how much I loved math and science. Knowing that Math is the language of science, and how much I love both it and music, I decided to try my hand at a B.A. in Music and a B.A. in BioMath [(or even just applied, or pure, but Bio being the preference as it would also prepare me for med school) preferably Optometry school, of which all test subjects are covered]</p>

<p>I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on my situation. I am talking to counselors and I personally have my whole sophomore year almost to try and see for sure. I can drop math or music at the end of the year, or switch to a heavier music degree (I plan on auditioning for performance, even if I don't plan on majoring in it, that's the track I'm currently and would at least like to prove myself). But excuse my ranting, if anyone could tell me about job opportunities, difficulties, what some courses may be like for either the math major and/or the music major it'd be greatly appreciated. Also, if there is anyway that I could combine them, that would be lovely information as well. I am very prepared to work hard, pinch my pennies, time as well as my social life. I think that where there is a will there is a way, and anything is possible.</p>

<p>This is linked as a Featured Discussion at the top of the page for the Music Major Forum. Lots for you to read in here:
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<p>In any major, I don't know that it is a matter of if you can find a job, as much it is a matter of can you find a good paying job or a job that is related to the major.</p>

<p>Music performance jobs may be very rare, and many of them aren't full time or simply don't pay much, but a music major has just a good of a chance of getting an entry level management job as any other major, probably even including business. Many employers are simply looking for someone with a college degree - doesn't matter what the major is. </p>

<p>At one of my first jobs after college I was told that "this job doesn't require a college degree but we only interview college graduates because they tend to be more successful in this position."</p>

<p>If you are considering majoring in math, you have to look at it the same way as music. I've never actually seen a job advertisement asking specifically for a "math major". A bachelors in math probably only really qualifies one for an entry level management job or grad school (pretty much like most majors). Of course you could teach math, but most states require a teachers certificate, which would likely mean a minor in education plus student teaching in addition to the bachelors in math.</p>

<p>In music, you have the same option to become teacher certified, the same option to go to grad school, plus if nothing else works out, you have a skill that may be far more valuable than math to start your own business. I'm not bashing math, but how many times have you ever been to a math concert? How many times have you ever seen people giving money to a street mathematician? Can mathematician make money by doing math at weddings or by performing calculus at bars?</p>

<p>In music you also have an equal or superior chance of getting a management job. Most music stores or music industry businesses only hire musicians. I've never seen a math store and I really don't know that there is any math industry outside of academics and engineering. Certainly there are jobs for actuaries at insurance companies, but there are specific majors for actuaries that are much more specific than simply "math". And of course there may be some math involved in the finance field, but since there is a finance major, I would expect that finance majors would be preferred over a general math major.</p>

<p>This may be a turning point where you really need to do some soul searching and then follow your heart with conviction. In the future when you think back to this fork in the road you don’t want to be wondering what-if and having regrets. </p>

<p>Right now is a tough time in the job market no matter what major you’re in. You have to control what you can by constantly learning and building skills, having the right work ethic and building your network. The network is extremely important because they will help you identify and take advantage of opportunities that you might not have known otherwise. </p>

<p>In college, look to your professors and advisor as part of your network and really let them get to know you and help you grow. Not only are strong recommendations important but they can recommend summer internships & programs which can sometimes lead to a job.</p>

<p>No one can tell you your passion in terms of career path. You need to decide that for yourself and what role potential earning power plays. Even in the best of times, music performance is a competitive field but only you can weigh the tradeoffs. It's important that you do graduate with a degree.</p>

<p>You are going to have to do a self-assessment of your skills and strengths relative to others in both of these fields. People that pursue music successfully have very little doubt that this is their path. They know they could end up not as rich as an accountant or a doctor, but in the end, they pursue music because that is their passion. You have to be able to compete with these types of people, both in talent and conviction. If you are getting nervous, or you don't think your heart will be in it if the money doesn't come in, then you are smart to question yourself now. If you choose the biology or similar path, you still have to ask yourself if you are passionate about that as well, as those students are also very into their thing and are likely already sorted by their sophomore year, meaning, the C students from freshman year are mostly moved on to other majors by their sophomore year, so what is left is very bright kids that are pretty interested in biology and the major. Now is a good time to think about it ... if you wait another semester or year it could get more expensive to change as it could take you longer to graduate if you have to make up courses.</p>

<p>I agree. It's all very good advice, but I do not question whether or not I love math or music. The question isn't whether or not to do math and/or music, but rather what can I do with math and music. I love both of these subjects and will confirm my passions through my studying for hours, as well as extensive practicing. However, I know that these subjects don't exactly go hand in hand to well, and I am just exploring my options. I would like to know what could combine these two subjects together, if anything. I don't mind doing them separately, but it would be best if i could find a way to integrate the two and work on it now, while i am still in college and can still get internships, and extra classes to bridge gaps.</p>

<p>I was thinking of things like digital music, or composition, but any other known options would be golden information to me as well</p>

<p>Ah, I see, combining math and music. You're on the right track ... someone that studies composition and arranging uses part of their math brain to tie together keys, progressions, and note patterns. If you add onto that the technical/science knowledge to create a great recording or audio system, you continue to tap into your math skills and even some science and electrical and acoustic engineering. Majors to look at are Composition, Music Theory and Composition, Electronic Production and Design, Film Scoring, and Music Production and Engineering, and variations of any of those depending on what school you are looking. At your current school, the music and dance programs are excellent. Perhaps you can turn music composition into classical dance music composition and choreography? You sound like you are bright and talented ... you don't have to throw some of your strengths away ... look for ways to combine them.</p>

<p>I am very thankful that I found this, because I am in the same situation as you. I have a love for both math and music, but I have no idea how idea these two majors would combine into a job.... After reading Snowflake's post though, I'd have to admit that they are on the right track as far as going into composition, music theory etc. I also like the idea of simply dropping the music major, and getting your bachelors in math. A math degree would give you plenty of really interesting job oppurtunities. Then, on the side, you could study music performance, composition, or theory in private lessons... In my mind, the things I'd like to do in music (such as perform and compose), don't neccessarily require a college degree, but rather, a talent in the given subject. The things that I would like to do in math however, would almost certainly require a college degree... You could become a successful performer or composer, simply by taking private lessons under a college of music professor... This is just my thinking at the moment, I hope that this helps!</p>

<p>Acoustical engineering is another idea for those interested in math and music...</p>

<p>Fortmanj, I'm a math person myself, so I can understand why you say you should get your degree in math; I mean, statistics show that the higher level of math knowledge that you have, the higher your salary. On the other hand, as a composer or performer, you can only get so far without professional training at the college level. Without a degree or advanced degree in these areas, you won't be able to grow your knowledge, gain ensemble experience beyond your current capability, nor will you gain respect among other musicians that could take your music to possibly higher levels. You would have to take a lot of private lessons to equal the experience of a bachelor's degree, and you'd have to be extremely charismatic to create a network or musicians and listeners to make a living off it without a formal degree as a base. Just my thoughts.</p>

<p>There are a number of things you could do with a math major itself. More then a small percentage of computer programmers and other IT professionals have degrees in math, for example, because majoring in math these days requires pretty good computer programming skills. Besides actuarial work, math majors can also get involved in various types of statistical analysis. More importantly, a lot of the quants in financial services (the guys who work out the hedge models and trading strategies that dominate trading in financial instruments around the world these days) have math backgrounds, guy I work closely with is a quant with a math degree from Indiana U (he was also a music performance major originally, but figured out he wasn't going to make it as a musician). </p>

<p>In terms of music and math, things like audio engineering and acoustics require heavy duty math skills, and potentially with those you could get into things like doing research for audio equipment manufacturers or firms that do acoustic design (just if you get into that, make sure the contractor gets rid of any concrete under the state <em>lol</em> took them almost a year to figure out why the stage at the renovated Carnegie Hall had gone dead, for that reason!)</p>

<p>Musicprnt, do those math type jobs just require a BS in math or do those guy have other degrees as well? Like the "quants", do they not also have a degree in finance or some sort of a graduate degree? While a math degree may be a selling point for those types of jobs, it just seems to me that those companies would be advertising for someone with a more specific degree or combination of degrees. </p>

<p>I know that lots of jobs are math intensive but it would seem like they would require math and something else to even get an interview.</p>


<p>With things like quant work and financial engineering, I have known a number of people who got into it with degrees in math or math related fields, and that is not unusual. Among other things, based on my own experiences as a hiring manager, it can be better to come out with a degree like math or engineering and head into areas like financial engineering or analysis, because people with a degree in business, specifically finance, don't stand out because it is viewed as being pretty generic. Obviously, the better trained someone is the better when applying for a job, especially the first one, but some companies still hire grads and train them themselves, so the paths are not rigidly defined by what school or what degree you have. A degree in math shows a student has already done rigorous work in the kind of math models use, whereas with business the math is not particularly rigorous as far as I know. Someone coming out with a math degree looking to apply it could also take a certificate program in financial modelling or engineering and be in fairly decent shape. Same with tech jobs, someone with a degree in math who showed good programming skills could get hired for an entry level job, happens all the time. And once out there working, what you got a degree in or where you got it generally starts meaning less and less....</p>

<p>Snowflake, </p>

<p>I do agree with you, and really, that's why I'm still holding onto my music degree. I do think it's possible to "go off the beaten path" and just skip the degree, however, I'm sure that people who end up successful from taking this path are far and few between. Xenakis is the only successful composer I can find that did this.</p>

<p>I've heard about computer programs that are capable of writing chord progressions over a given melody. This seems like an interesting combination of math and music. Perhaps a double major would be more suited for work like this? Kind of combining technology with music.</p>