high school student music major help

<p>Ok I love playing the piano and I wish to major on music ed but the problem is I only have 6 months of experience I discover my talent to late. My music teacher always complement how fast I learned the songs and dedication I have. How can I have a music career? no other thing seems to interest me</p>

<p>Most music students have many years of practice, private lessons, ensemble performances, etc, and they audition for acceptance into a Bachelor of Music program. In an audition setting, piano players probably have the most competitive auditions because so many of them start playing at a very young age.</p>

<p>So at this point, your best bet is to enroll as a music BA student in a non-audition program - since you do not have those years of experiance. This will give you 4 more years to strenthen your music skills. </p>

<p>Now when you say that you want to do a music ed major, you do realize that music ed programs are directed towards teaching in grade school don't you? I think a lot of times people who don't have band/orchistra/chorus experiance in high school just assume that "music ed" means a general education in music. Most music ed programs are BM programs and will require a very high proffecenty level on your primary instrument (not typically piano) and you would have to audition to be accepted. I seriously doubt that your skills are developed enough yet to accomplish that.</p>

<p>If you are serious about becoming certified to teach music, then you can still do that with a BA in music by minoring in education and completing your student teaching (which may take up to an extra year), or by getting a MAT (Masters of Art in Teaching) degree in grad school (which can typically be done in two semester plus a summer). </p>

<p>If teaching isn't really what you want to do, the great thing about music is that there are no legal certifications or qualifications to keep you from being a musician (like there are for doctors and lawyers). If your good enough, you can get a lob. So the key is just becoming good enough. four years spent earning a BA in music would be a step in the right direction towards becoming a performer, even though most people who desire to become performers take the BM route. A BA in music could lead you to grad school where you could possibly major in performance, or other music fields.</p>

<p>Also, you need to be aware that most music schools are oriented towards classical music and possibly jazz. The theory is that if you can master classical music, and have a good understanding of music theory, you can play any type of music. there are a few colleges that do have popular music programs though, so if you have no interest in classical, then you may want to seek out a college that is more pop-music oriented.</p>

<p>As a senior in high school you have almost waited to late to be making these types of decisions. It is already too late to apply at many colleges, and you only have maybe two and a half more months (at the most) to apply to most selective colleges ("selective" colleges are the ones that don't accept most everyone who applies). You need to kick this college selection process into high gear TODAY!</p>

<p>And don't let anyone discourage you. There are many musicians that start later and life and become successful - they just have to work and study a little harder. My son's trumpet professor didn't start playing trumpet until he was a high school senior, yet he eventually was accepted to and graduated from a top level music conservatory college and often does "guest soloist" gigs with major orchistras.</p>

<p>I think it depends on what you mean by having a music career, what you are aiming for. If you are talking about a career as a classical pianist, forget it, you aren't going to do it. The talent level and competition on the piano is some of the fiercest out there, and as Imagep points out piano students start at a very early age, and by the time the kids hit your age you are talking kids that have already won major competitions, been in high level music programs since they were 8 or 9, and some have concert careers budding. The level is simply staggering, and even if you listen to 'At the Top' you can get an idea of how incredible piano students are these days (though comparatively more then a few of the Pianists who appear on that show are merely "really good" compared to let's say kids in NEC pre college on piano). </p>

<p>That said, there are pianists who do make a living out of music who haven't gone to Juilliard or Curtis, in fact a lot of them, but it is going to take some decision making on your part to figure out what you want to do. While Jazz, for example, is a formal study in music programs and has been for many years, a lot of jazz players come up through a different route, you don't need to go to Frost's jazz program or wherever to put together a Jazz Trio and perform (I am not that familiar with Jazz these days, but I would guess that most jazz players out there routinely working did not go to BM degree programs, though I could be wrong). Obviously, pop music is full of keyboard and piano players who haven't gone the music school route and there are other forms of music out there I will simply label as 'non classical', new agey music, etc......</p>

<p>As ImageP said, there are programs focusing on contemporary music but from what little I know of them they have pretty high standards to get into them (I am talking performing), there have been threads on here about that I suggest searching. </p>

<p>I don't have any specific advice because you will in effect be creating your own path on this one, but that is nice in the sense you also have options others might not have. For example, you could major in something other then music (not a bad idea, considering how hard it is to make a living in music) and at the same time be studying Piano with a private teacher or maybe even through the school (a lot of schools without BM programs have the ability for students to do music, NYU did when I was there, for non majors), or perhaps even a dual major at a school with a non auditioned music program or a ba in music/bachelors in something else. </p>

<p>I did want to comment on something in Imagep's post "And don't let anyone discourage you. There are many musicians that start later and life and become successful - they just have to work and study a little harder. My son's trumpet professor didn't start playing trumpet until he was a high school senior, yet he eventually was accepted to and graduated from a top level music conservatory college and often does "guest soloist" gigs with major orchistras. "</p>

<p>I am concerned about this statement for a number of reasons. First of all, how old is said professor? Even 20 years ago, this kind of story could happen and often did. Back then kids could pick up an instrument in high school and get into a top level conservatory on 'potential'.....one of my son's violin teachers actually did that on the violin, she wasn't a particularly strong student, but still ended up going to a top level conservatory and is now a principal in a pretty high level orchestra..but that was over 30 years go.</p>

<p>Plus the teacher in question was on brass, which like woodwinds have a very different experience then piano and strings (I am not saying easier, rather different). Brass and wind players start later, simply because it is very hard to play them before a certain age, so a brass player who starts playing at let's say 13 is with kids who probably started at 9 or 10 at the earliest....whereas with Piano and strings, many of these kids start before the age of 5, some as early as 2. The basic point is that brass and woodwind players face less 'catching up' when starting later, and in the case of piano and strings given the incredible levels people are achieving at young ages, makes 'catching up' if not impossible, darn near, especially late in high school. In a sense it is sort of analogous to singers, who mature much later, where starting late is not as much of a handicap....</p>

<p>The other thing to keep in mind is that the levels of all instruments are going up, and it to a large extend is the reason the levels have gone into the stratosphere on Piano and strings, and that is the influx of kids from Asia (or Asian backgrounds). The stereotype about Asian kids all playing piano or violin or cello has some strong roots to it, and the craze for these instruments has led millions and millions of kids from Asia or Asian background to play these instruments, and that with the work ethic means these kids are achieving proficiency at younger and younger ages (doesn't necessarily mean musical skill, but still), you have piano and violin students as young as 5 practicing as much as 8 hours a day (this, btw, are verified accounts, not myth or rumor). It has driven the level way up there, and it means with piano or strings kids have to make a dedication to them as early as possible, 'getting serious', with them you don't have music as 'a hobby' and then get serious in college, it doesn't work.</p>

<p>These days the same thing is happening with other instruments, albeit a bit more slowly. Brass and woodwinds and such have things that make a later start still easier to do, though the level has climbed. For one thing, there are physical limits to playing, with piano or violin or cello it is physically possible to practice 8 hours a day, with winds and brass no matter how much mom and dad push the kid to practice, you can't get more then several hours out of the kid a day (I know of some parents who did push wind and brass players past sane limits, and they ended up destroying their facial muscles and ended up not being able to play) at most; and likewise, you could try giving a 5 year old or 6 year old the trumpet or french horn to play, but for several years they would be basically stuck by physical limitations, so once again the story of piano/strings is not recreatable (on percussion, on the other hand, to quote an old joke, practice is limited by how long everyone else can stand listening to it......though early violin is hell, too:). ImageP's story of a brass and woodwin player starting later is less likely to happen today than in prior generations, but it still can happen, whereas on Piano and strings, it is pretty much impossible (again, talking classical training here), if you are talking a top level music program.</p>

<p>I wish you luck, hopefully this helped!</p>

<p>It depends on what you want to do with piano. I agree with other posts. But if you are interested in working as an accompanist, it isn't too late. Around where we live, good accompanists (meaning technically good and musical) are a bit scarce, and we live near a large city. My daughter's favorite accompanist did not study piano in college, but picked it up again 8 years ago and today she is a wonderful accompanist. I'll take her any day over a conservatory-trained piano soloist.</p>

<p>Good and not so good points made here. It is no longer possible to make it in a top conservatory without extensive training. While Frederica von Stade made it into Mannes in the 60s and onto the stage of the Met shortly after, that just isn't going to happen any more. Ditto for instrumentalists, the competition is too fierce and have spent years in Youth Orchestras and pre-college programs. Wishing does not make it so.
Accompanying skills vary widely according to what one is playing for and where. Conservatory level voice students need good, collaborative piano grad program students for their work, while someone who has studied piano on a serious "hobby" level might be great for a church or community choir or to play for someone who doesn't need an "equal" partner in the piece.
What disturbs me is the tendency to think that prospective music ed majors should be held to lower standards. No, they may not have to have the technical proficiency of a performance major, but they will have to be quite capable on piano, be able to read multiple clefs and to play instruments from different groups. They are charged with inspiring future generations of youngsters and will provide the introduction to music for most children. Those kids deserve well-trained and capable musicians as teachers.
Although I took every opportunity to expose my children to every type of music and venue possible, but two wonderful teachers that she had while in elementary and middle school (even while she was taking private lessons) helped give her confidence to compete and perform and to pursue a career in music.</p>

<p>"And don't let anyone discourage you. There are many musicians that start later and life and become successful - they just have to work and study a little harder. My son's trumpet professor didn't start playing trumpet until he was a high school senior, yet he eventually was accepted to and graduated from a top level music conservatory college and often does "guest soloist" gigs with major orchistras. "</p>

<p>Just wondering, did he get accepted as a senior, or later in life? My piano teacher is a paralegal worker and is around 45 but just finished his masters in pedagogy. I want to pursue a music career as well, having realized that I don't want to spend 40 hours a week every week doing something I find boring or even worse, hate. I feel like it would be school all over again (though I do realize now, without the hours of homework and studying!). For me it's also probably too late to get into a good program. I've been playing since 3 and lessons since 5 but I don't practice much. I can play Grade 8 songs but I'm not like a piano genius or anything.</p>

<p>I'm hoping I can take music classes anyways even if I'm not in the school of music (piano lessons I know I can take!) at University of Michigan, so that I could possibly audition in my second year. I hear that Music Ed and Composition students don't need to be that exceptional, as piano performers need to be at performing, so I'm hoping I can major in something like that. But I was wondering, how exactly good are music ed players? or composition players? If they don't need to be that good, do the Music Ed applicant's interview or the composition applicant's portfolio have to be equally as exceptional as a Performer applicant's performance does?</p>

<p>If not, then perhaps I can be lucky and get in. Or I can try to practice a lot throughout college, with the piano lessons offered, try to catch up, and get a masters in music? (Or if I'm allowed to, try again for junior year to get into a BM).</p>

<p>THANK YOU SO MUCH if you can help me!! T_T
I regret never thinking about my future enough, I never even realized the possibility of having a music job.</p>

<p>Another question; even if I am a grade 8 piano ish student, as others have said I'd be competing against all these crazy good students who play several hours a day. Do I have to compete against these kinds for music ed and composition, etc. as well? Would it be better for me to audition on Flute instead? I haven't had private instruction in flute but I've had several free "lessons" (teachers come in during band class, take the flute section to a practice room, and help us out), and have been playing for 6 years now. I almost never practice at home but there is the 55 minutes of playing at school (or rather closer to 30 minutes, since I'm not always playing). If those 30 minutes counts for anything then I have been practicing flute even more than piano. I'm not that good at flute, though I've been practicing double tonguing and vibrato recently. I'd say i'm a top 3 flute out of the 15-20 ish at my school, but I'm not even 1st.</p>

<p>If neither my piano or flute skills can get me into a non-performance degree, do you think if I practiced flute instead of piano, I'm talking 2 or 4 hours a day, I could possibly make it in to music ed or composition at University of Michigan for my sophmore year? Another possibility is that if I fail my sophmore audition, I can try to transfer (if I'm allowed to after 1 year) to Michigan State University -- overall it's a much lower school but the music education program is supposed to be top in the nation (#1 by US News since 1994). My brother says employers won't care about the program, they'll only know the school names. Then again I'm not sure if it means that the music education audition there would be even harder than the ones at UM =/</p>

<p>(Another option is to do what I originally planned, undergrad finance BPA degree at UM, and I can dual degree that with BA in music, since the business program only consists of 45 credits, so I can use all my 90 ish Liberal Arts elective credits for my BA in music!). And try out for a masters in music later on, if possible. May be not right after undergrad, but later in life, as my piano teacher has done. I'd prefer music ed over piano pedagogy though -- I heard private schools (where they would probably have piano classes) pay less? And with Music ed you work 180 days a year, and so have a lot of time to do other jobs like teaching or performing.</p>

<p>One last question though... is a BA actually worth it, if I dual degree in 5 years? I know it gives you more performance classes (and I think 1 hour vs 30 minute lessons), but it means you have to take more music classes as well, which are usually just history and such. Would it not be better, if I plan to get in to a masters program, to just practice on my own with 30 minute classes? (I could get a BA in music even if I can't get into a masters, and that could help me find a music related job, but I think a masters is much better right? So i'm talking ideally here)</p>

<p>mezzo-</p>

<p>I agree totally with you across the board. I don't think a lot of people know what an accompanist really is or the level of playing it requires, they think of someone playing to accompany a local chorus or in a church or school or whatever, or playing at an instrumental recital, and that is a different world. There is a pianist that accompanies the recitals of students in my son's teacher's studio, and she has a Phd in Piano Accompaniment (collaborative Piano is the offical title) from Juilliard, and with high level musicians their accompanists have to be almost as good as the soloist (the people who accompany soloists, vocal or instrumental, are generally accomplished musicians in their own right, Jeremy Denk, who works with Joshua Bell, is a world class soloist as well). Being an accompanist with a local chorus or local kids is kind of akin to being the guy playing piano in a piano lounge or for parties or at a local bar, it doesn't require the kind of skills required at higher levels, as you stated.</p>

<p>I also agree about music education teachers needing to be held to a high standard, one of the standard conceptions I have heard on here about how music ed represents a fallback from a performing career, as a 'safety' for music and so forth is troubling, because then what you end up is with someone 'settling' to be a music teacher, rather then really loving to teach and excite young musicians. If anything, music ed can be a lot more difficult then a performance degree, because music ed students have to learn multiple instruments and often teach instruments they themselves were not trained on, depending on the level.</p>

<p>Yoshi-</p>

<p>I am sure some others will weigh in who know more then I do, but from what know about Music Education degrees they require a high level of ability on the instrument you audition on, maybe not quite as high as most performance majors, but still significant level and I suspect it doesn't matter what instrument you are talking about (for the record, flute in performance and therefore probably in performance is going to be extremely competitive, flute is often as competitive and often more competitive then either piano or strings in some cases). I would be really surprised if you could, in a year or so, transfer to the Music Ed program on Piano even if you work hard, and absolutely shocked if you could do it on flute, the level is just so high there with people who have played for years I just don't think you would be ready, same for transferring. I have to be brutally honest, I don't think you would be able on Piano to get into a high level master's program (and U Mich has a fanastic music department, it is one of the top ones) based on where you are now, I just think it is too much to overcome given the time you have. </p>

<p>I will add that this is just my opinion and hopefully people who know about music ed can weigh in but I think if you are going to try and go into music like the OP, you might need to think about a creative path rather then a traditional one, to be able to do it. I hope you find your path and if music is it, find a way to do it on some level, but I also wanted to be realistic as well so you don't chase after a red herring.</p>

<p>Yoshi as much as you would like someone to "chance" you by predicting whether you could get into a music degree program none of us can do that. You need to be evaluated by a live person who can evaluate you and how you might fare trying to enter the program. Arrange for a private lesson either at the school or with someone who has students who were accepted there. That evaluation will tell you more than anyone here could.</p>

<p>Yosh, I believe that one of the hardest things to do is to self evaluate, and I think your inability to self evaluate is causing you a lot of stress. Maybe you should try to schedule a private lesson with a college level piano and/or flute instructor and explain to them that your are seeking to figure out where you are and how your skills fit into the world of music.</p>

<p>Expected music ability is going to vary quite a bit school by school. Some colleges will accept just about anyone for any major, including performance or music ed. Other colleges may audition hundreds of students for every slot they have open, rejecting many execellent musicians. </p>

<p>Music Ed majors will generally need to be almost as good as performance majors at any given school. My son is attending a fairly typical large state university, it's not known for music at all, yet almost every student they accepted into their BM programs made Allstate band several times during their high school career - even music ed majors. </p>

<p>The typical student at some top music schools will likely have been studying music with a private instructor since they were five or six years old, while in high school they probably practiced 30+ hours a week, and they have uncanny natural tallent.</p>

<p>The typical music student at a public flagship university probably started music training between ages 9 and 12 and probably practiced 10+ hours a week and has tons of natural tallent, always sitting first chair in their high school ensembles, and likely took several years of private lessons in addition to being in a music class every day in middle school and high school.</p>

<p>The typical music student at a college struggling to fill empty seats probably started music in the sixth or seventh grade, and probably practiced 2 or 3 hours a week while in high school.</p>

<p>My son applied at colleges of several difficulty levels to increase his likelyness of being accepted. you may want to consider doing something similar.</p>

<p>Thanks a lot guys, the advice is appreciated. I always keeping thinking of how much more fun it probably would be working with music rather than doing something else, but perhaps I forget that it takes a lot of time and effort in order to do such a thing, so there is a trade-off, not to mention you probably won't make the most money as a musician.</p>

<p>I'm going to start my own thread so as to not steal this one and revise my post ^^</p>