All posts tagged: university arts programs

4 Ways to save yourself from a soul-sucking college experience

By the start of the second semester of my masters degree in bassoon performance, I knew I didn’t want to be an orchestral musician.  I was lost.  Everyone was (seemingly) passionately pursuing their degree, determined to land that coveted orchestral position.  The pursuit of perfection and mastery on the bassoon drove me, but without the goal of attaining a job in an orchestra there wasn’t a clear path to a sustainable career.   The realization that my degree path might not be the key to my career success took me to dark places, quickly draining my passion for the work.  The soul-sucking, 21st century, college experience left one thing clear: The next steps in my college education would be on me. If the 21st century college experience is not what you expected, you’re not alone. Many of you are questioning your degree path, the amount of debt you’re taking on, your institution, and your decision to attend college in the first place.  This is not your fault. Universities are going through an identity crisis, trying to preserve their great traditions, while attempting …

Are you on a path that leads to a successful career in music?

Last week, I wrote this post with the hopes of providing advice to college students interested in working on their careers beyond the walls of their university.  That post got me thinking: What do students majoring in music actually need out of their education to be successful? For those of you searching for meaning in your college experience, I would like you to consider two paths: The path of a Mechanic.  Mechanics in music perform, teach, and recreate great music better than anyone else in their field.  Like an auto mechanic who fine tunes pre-existing cars, a music mechanic focuses on fine tuning pre-existing music. (Think, perfecting of excerpts for an orchestral audition.) Your path is one paved in tradition. Creativity is expressed in a very narrow, accepted window of performance practice which has been dictated by your teacher, conductor and the music written on a page. The path of a Designer: Designers in music create new ways of thinking about the art form and quite often cross genres, disciplines, or even career silos to somehow bring something new to the field.  You’re comfortable with the unknown and the things that …

5 Ways College Students Can Jumpstart Their Career In The Arts

I love this post by Ivan Trevino.  He raises questions many of us are asking at institutions of higher learning across the country.  The arts entrepreneurship  movement from the past few years has helped and many schools are working diligently behind the scenes to address the new needs of the 21st century artist, however, change is hard at the institutional level. While I agree with Ivan whole-heartedly, the curriculum he desires in his post represents a shift in the entire higher-education system.  That is, a shift from the traditional, lecture-based, skill and drill type curriculum to a curriculum rooted in experiential learning, critical thinking and real world skills building. What if you’re attending a music school that offers a great – but traditional – education?  You have to do more in today’s marketplace. No longer can you simply put in 100% effort into your degree and expect to be successful in your field upon graduation.  (This goes for just about every degree out there, not just music) That said, there has never been a better time to jumpstart your career while still in school.  Here are …

Back to the Future for Orchestra Musicians?

Now that we’re well into the summer months, I thought I’d take a moment to see what people are writing about in the orchestra world.  Here’s an excerpt from an article I found: The situation of the symphony musician in the United States today is reflective of the somewhat tenuous economic status of symphonic music as an art form offering meaningful aesthetic experience to a limited public.  The symphony musician is caught between the potent forces of general public apathy, a management dominated labor market, and a union that in someways works against his best interests.  To these may be added the effects of a recording industry over which he has little control and which offers him only short-term rewards while extracting long-term profits.  From the disjunction of his social position as a dependent craftsman and his idealized self-image as a gifted and highly skilled artist emerge problems of reconciliation of his social and aesthetic expectations with the realities of his occupational life.  Strong commitments to the values of art and his chosen profession, essential …