Performance major having second thoughts and freaking out!

<p>Hi everyone! This is my first post here and I hope to find some sort of guidance! I have been playing guitar for recreation for about 6 years (I'm 21 now). I could never figure out what I wanted to do with my life after high school, so I went to community college to give myself some time to figure it out. After obtaining my associates degree, I still felt like I had no idea. In my last semester in community college, I took a few music courses. They were way more difficult than I had thought, but I excelled, learned a lot, and really enjoyed it. I had begun to lean towards music because it was something I was good at, and liked to do very much. After a while of realizing that it was time to make a choice, I had decided to pursue music. I got into Columbia College in Chicago, enrolled in classes (I'm starting in a few days!), I am very excited, but very, very scared! I'm worried that I'm not going to make it, and that even if I do, I have no idea what I can do with a BA in guitar performance! I feel like I might want to try to teach, but this school (surprisingly to me) doesn't have a music education program. I am not sure, however, either way. I don't really know what I'd rather do besides music, but I am terrified that I'm not talented enough to realistically make it! I'm almost completely self-taught. I took a few months worth of lessons recently to try to prepare, and my teacher seemed impressed by me, but I'm seriously worried that I'm doing the wrong thing. I can't talk to an advisor at my school yet, and this has really been bothering me. If anyone can give me any sort of advice, I'd really appreciate it!</p>

<p>Hello Vet,</p>

<p>Did you audition for Columbia College? You can't meet your advisor yet, but does anyone in the music program there know who you are? Have you met the guitar teacher there? What did you mean by the "teacher being impressed with me"? Was that Columbia's guitar teacher? By accepting you, the school is saying they believe you have the aptitude to succeed at their institution. You must have done something right.</p>

<p>Another point worth considering--too often the thought exists that studying music must lead to a professional performing career, or it is a wasted effort. Total nonsense. Someone earning a BA in English literature, or philosophy, or political science, or psychology, or any one of a number of other majors, isn't judged after graduation if they don't enter that particular field in a professional capacity. How many English or psych majors end up as English professors (or even HS teachers) or therapists/researchers/professors? Those that don't--do people consider them failures in life? </p>

<p>You are working towards a BA. And, for many employers, a BA is a BA is a BA. You just happen to be earning yours in music. Most people holding a BA in a particular major aren't actually working in that field professionally--at least, not for the rest of their working lives. So it's something to consider. In college, you're following your passion and doing something meaningful. You will learn all sorts of "soft skills" that are easily transferable to a number of different careers by majoring in music. Especially if you compliment your studies with part-time work so you're keeping other skills current (customer service, IT, retail, whatever), you will be able to market yourself to a wide swath of employers. </p>

<p>As for music teaching, that can also be studied on the graduate level. Perhaps you would benefit most from a BA experience that really hones your musicianship, and has you focused on building a solid foundation, before moving on to the process of teaching music to others.</p>

<p>Or I guess there's always Vet school?</p>

<p>Make sure you get a teaching certificate, as well. But also, don't worry.....Several members of my family have music degrees and they mostly have jobs in finance. Getting the degree matters.....That's all.</p>

<p>Thanks for the replies! There are a few reasons that I chose Columbia, 1 big one being that you don't have to audition to be accepted (and another the opportunity to study contemporary styles as well as more traditional). What I meant by my teacher being impressed with me is that he thinks I might have perfect pitch (or at least a really good ear), and that when I told him that I was nervous about auditioning to get into a school, he said I could easily get into one. I suppose getting a BA in performance and then getting a teaching certificate can't be too bad of a path, but whenever I think of someone teaching music at a school, I think of there being a very very limited number of available positions, and that person really runs the orchestra as well. Running an orchestra isn't something that I am opposed to doing, but I don't know if I have what it takes to do something like that, as I've never been a part of one (nor do I have any experience with any of those instruments). Am I wrong in thinking that a degree in guitar performance and a teaching certificate isn't enough to teach at a school?</p>

<p>If/when you enter a graduate program in music education, you usually select a specialty: general music, instrumental, or vocal, sometimes with a combination of general with the other choice. You'll get methods classes and experience. Also, within your undergrad program you will likely have ensemble requirements--these could end up being chorus. Enjoy your undergraduate years, and work hard. Your liberal arts education will be important to you know matter where you end up. You will likely be able to pass the subject matter tests given in other subjects to add another subject to your certification if you decide to go that route. Also, elementary ed would be an option--school districts love to hire elementary teachers with strong backgrounds in music. Good luck, enjoy your schooling and don't worry so much.</p>

<p>Yes....don't worry so much. And the other subject tests are key and you will be just fine....Columbia has excellent production classes,too, and there are all sorts of businesses related to music, many more than you can imagine as a guitarist. In life, as you get older, you just make a choice and go with it and if it turns out to be the right choice, you keep going, and if it turns out you need to do something else, then you will know what it is at the time. Really, after high school, it isn't all such a straight line.</p>

<p>Hi Vet - it sounds like you're at an exciting time in your life! (And after all, CCC's motto is "create change," right?) My son just graduated from CCC with a major in audio arts & acoustics, and from everything he's told me, there are lots of opportunities in music and otherwise at the school. If you can channel all this nervous energy into becoming involved both on-campus and off-, you'll probably discover the path (paths?) you want to take in terms of a career. Enjoy the journey!</p>

<p>You've gotten some good advice. Just to clarify a few things, you do not need a teaching certificate to teach privately, in community schools, private schools. A muisic ed degree provides the background and training to obtain state regulated teaching certification within a k-12 public school setting. Please don't consider a job as a music educator (publicly or privately) lightly. Plenty of music ed threads here. If you can't find them, ask. I'll be happy to direct you.</p>

<p>I agree completely that a BA (or BM) is a BA, is a BA. It's a four year liberal arts degree, and will position you for any number of jobs (or grad level work) beyond music. Take a leisurely read through this <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/music-major/460187-how-many-music-voice-performance-majors-find-jobs.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/music-major/460187-how-many-music-voice-performance-majors-find-jobs.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Cold feet, buyers remorse or call it what you will is a concern for many. Many go in undecided, regardless of major. Many change major. Most will hold jobs having little or no bearing on their degree background. Not a biggie. You at least have a plan. It may not work, or you may decide to go a different route. Changing majors is typical. </p>

<p>Sound out your anxieties and concerns as you move forward. Plenty of good listeners and a wealth of insight is here for the asking.</p>

<p>Dive in, and good luck.</p>

<p>Hi Vet...</p>

<p>I agree with what everyone else has told you...When I first went to school I had NOOO idea what I wanted to do...At the college I attended if you were undecided then you became a business major...then during an internship my employer said that to get anywhere I needed to specialize (either accounting or marketing)...so I went with accounting....I worked in it for a few years (before taking time off to raise a family)...it was very good knowledge for me to have and I enjoyed it....but....on going back into the work force I went a total different way...I'm now a nurse....</p>

<p>The point I'm trying to make is...you're young...pursue what is of interest to you...there are many right paths.....you may decide to go down more than one path throughout your life and that's okay..</p>

<p>just don't go way into debt doing so...that will limit your options</p>

<p>Vet,I agree with what everyone else has said. Not being sure is common in 'regular' college careers, and in music, with its reputation and the reality of trying to get into the field, I suspect it is much worse:). As others have said, music can lead into many things, I know a number of musicians who work in fields like IT who were/are musicians, with degrees from conservatories like Berklee and NEC and the such....</p>

<p>As far as guitar performance goes, I also will add that a late start as you are doing is not necessarily as much of a mountain as it seems to be. If you were doing this with the violin or the cello and planning on going into classical music with your sights set on high level orchestra, chamber or solo work, I would be saying something different, but guitar performance is a bit different, a lot of people start late with it, and so forth, so it may not be quite as daunting (though obviously, all fields of music tend to be known for being, well, shall we say difficult....:). </p>

<p>And the nice part is, if you go into the BA in music performance track, and find out it isn't for you, you always have options, changing majors, or getting a BA in music then getting a grad degree in something else. </p>

<p>Speaking from my vaunted position, based in many years of incredible experiences..(okay, would you believe the thoughts of someone who stayed at a Holiday Inn Express)....in any event, one of the few things I have managed to learn along the way is that it is never a bad thing to try and find it doesn't work out, that if you try and fail at something it isn't the end of world, and especially before you have huge committments and such, you can reinvent yourself, people do it all the the time (hey, I was once a chem major pre med, turned comp sci, and ended up not programming and was one of the first to help create a new field within IT)......</p>

<p>
[quote]
Make sure you get a teaching certificate, as well.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Please...do not get a degree in teaching unless it is what you want to do!! Enough said.</p>

<p>Being nervous is normal. Relax and try to have fun as your college days begin. There are thousands of students feeling just as you are right now...uncertain about what they want to do. You'll figure it all out in time. If you decide to major in music...then major in music. If you decide to switch majors, realize that the vast majority of college students do so...and often multiple times!!</p>

<p>Thanks for the replies and encouraging words! I guess I'm freaking out because I'm already going to graduate at least a year later than I should be (I should be a college senior now :P) and I feel like there isn't much time left for me to be changing majors. :/ I just hope I'm doing the right thing!</p>

<p>Several years ago I worked in the IT department of a fairly large corporation, and one of the system analysts had a BA in music...</p>

<p>I see these posts are from2009. I was wondering how you liked Columbia College Chicago. My son has been accepted there for fall 2012. He is a sax player and will major in Jazz Studies.</p>