YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
ekord123
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YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by ekord123 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:27 pm

Hi all,
I am a twenty year old college student who has been writing music and learning about recording for years. So far it has given me zero income, and none the less it is the most rewarding thing I have done.

I am at a crossroads, however. I was recently considering transferring to a college that offered a degree in music technology (I am currently at NCSU), but upon further thought and advice, it seems like getting an internship opportunity is a more valuable use of my time and money than paying for a degree in something in which many succesful people do not even have degrees. Ideally, I want to compose music for film and games, but that comes down to meeting people. I need a way to get a degree that is applicable, but at the same time will not compromising the time commitment that composing/recording presents.

Has anybody been at this point in their life? I was considering electrical engineering because that is a valuable skill within and outside recording, but I hear it is a grueling and time consuming major. I enjoy psychology but it is too broad to truly be of any use. any advice? I am under an unbelievable amount of stress.

Linear Phase
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Linear Phase » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:34 pm

be cool, stay in school
Linear Phase has left the building..

djcyph
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by djcyph » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:42 pm

if i could do it all over again id either take bunch music technology and theory classes, not sure if id go diff school just because wouldnt have met the people i know now

past 8 months or so ive taken production very seriously and im learning plenty of shit on my own relatively fast but classes would have helped immensely not only technically but motivation wise...when i learn now i cant get enough....all day at my normal job i cant wait to get home and start my next tutorial or track

and im more of a hands on learner...i never had an internship at a studio but im assuming theres not much hands on until they trust you a lot or only at times when studio is not in use

Angstrom
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Angstrom » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:12 pm

Music is a weird area for a career. Musicians tend to be passionate about the subject but it often blinds them to the harsh realities.
Of the musicians I know who have worked professionally (over the last 20+ years) not many of them are now working as a musician and receiving what I would think of as a commensurate salary for the education hours they put in. So if you plan on reaching 40 and owning a home, or supporting a family, it's possible off writing your own music, but improbable. A degree in it is certainly comparable to a philosophy degree. Nice, but hardly practical.

I know a few who you might say "made it", but most musicians find their way into much less glamourous music jobs, either back into academia (teaching the next generation) or working jobs like you describe, audio engineering, session player, film work, adverts, tv stuff. The giant majority of all the gigging musicians I knew 15 years ago now work outside music, often in menial jobs.

The odd thing about going for a job "in music" is that musicians usually have a terrible business head to begin with, and that means an awful grasp of the potential of mundane repetition, drudgery and how bad bosses can crush a guy. It's just as much of a grind for a guy editing radio adverts on protools as it is if they had become a lawyer (who works 2 days a week and plays bass all the other days).
Most of the people who have a passion for music are driven by the artistic need to create distinctive pieces of art, something that inflames their sense of self.
Sadly most real jobs which have a boss, or a client are predominently chores, with idiots telling you what to do. "you've got 5 minutes to me a nicer techno jingle for this catfood". As I said : musicians are generally romantics and hate to consider this. But in reality it takes a very patient sort of person to be a session player for an egotistical insecure coke head with brutish management, for example.

I'm not saying "don't be a professional musician", but you do need to examine your character and see if you will be happy with the education of a surgeon but the pay grade of a waitress. Do you absolutely need to perform or you feel desperately unhappy? If you love music, that's one thing, but examine in what way. Performing, knowledge acquisition, socially, artistically, the craft of it?

Different personality types can cope with different things for different lengths of time. all have different Outcomes. A craft person will make a good session player, a knowledge person a good teacher, ...etc.

As far as education goes: all education is really about meeting people. Making contacts.

regretfullySaid
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by regretfullySaid » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:18 pm

I would go for the internship, you're instantly getting your feet wet and networking. Your work and reputation will speak for itself, not a waste of money and piece of paper.
ImageImage

Tone Deft
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:41 pm

a friend of mine was a natural at music from a young age but he pursued a degree in physics at UCSD. years after graduating he was playing gigs several nights a week, got into a band that was voted best in his state, all that. he still yearned to explore the academic side of music. so, he took a sabbatical from work and went to music school. after a few months, maybe a year he was gigging almost every day and going to school and realized that his fellow students were studying to get the gigs he was already playing. he learned some new theory and appreciated the exposure to the professors but in the end he realized that his fellow students were taking classes to get the gigs he already had. along with gigging he learned to produce his bands' albums in Pro Tools. in the end he got a more practical degree, went into software development and is working for a startup that might land him some big bucks, moreover he likes his job and still gigs.

I think 20+ years ago when it was much more difficult and expensive to get a home recording studio going a degree in this stuff made sense but anymore it's really accessible from home. besides, the money sucks, the market is saturated with people that want the nice gigs and it's filled with egos and assholes (from what I've seen.)
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

littlepig
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by littlepig » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:05 pm

Angstrom > I think that you are under estimating philosophy degrees. It is quite possible to get a well paying job with one.

Tone Deft
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:32 pm

littlepig wrote:Angstrom > I think that you are under estimating philosophy degrees. It is quite possible to get a well paying job with one.
can you post a job listing where a philosophy degree is required? preferably not one teaching philosophy.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

Jed
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Jed » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:38 pm

Angstrom wrote:Music is a weird area for a career. Musicians tend to be passionate about the subject but it often blinds them to the harsh realities.
Of the musicians I know who have worked professionally (over the last 20+ years) not many of them are now working as a musician and receiving what I would think of as a commensurate salary for the education hours they put in. So if you plan on reaching 40 and owning a home, or supporting a family, it's possible off writing your own music, but improbable. A degree in it is certainly comparable to a philosophy degree. Nice, but hardly practical.

I know a few who you might say "made it", but most musicians find their way into much less glamourous music jobs, either back into academia (teaching the next generation) or working jobs like you describe, audio engineering, session player, film work, adverts, tv stuff. The giant majority of all the gigging musicians I knew 15 years ago now work outside music, often in menial jobs.

The odd thing about going for a job "in music" is that musicians usually have a terrible business head to begin with, and that means an awful grasp of the potential of mundane repetition, drudgery and how bad bosses can crush a guy. It's just as much of a grind for a guy editing radio adverts on protools as it is if they had become a lawyer (who works 2 days a week and plays bass all the other days).
Most of the people who have a passion for music are driven by the artistic need to create distinctive pieces of art, something that inflames their sense of self.
Sadly most real jobs which have a boss, or a client are predominently chores, with idiots telling you what to do. "you've got 5 minutes to me a nicer techno jingle for this catfood". As I said : musicians are generally romantics and hate to consider this. But in reality it takes a very patient sort of person to be a session player for an egotistical insecure coke head with brutish management, for example.

I'm not saying "don't be a professional musician", but you do need to examine your character and see if you will be happy with the education of a surgeon but the pay grade of a waitress. Do you absolutely need to perform or you feel desperately unhappy? If you love music, that's one thing, but examine in what way. Performing, knowledge acquisition, socially, artistically, the craft of it?

Different personality types can cope with different things for different lengths of time. all have different Outcomes. A craft person will make a good session player, a knowledge person a good teacher, ...etc.

As far as education goes: all education is really about meeting people. Making contacts.

I don't post here often but these comments hit a chord with me. I'm a bit older now but faced your dilemma at 20 too. I was gigging continuously and had to decide whether to dedicate my professional life to music or keep it as a pocket money hobby.

After much deliberation I studied for an electrical engineering degree and kept music is my hobby.

I still played out 2-3 times per week right though to my mid 40's. But also I was able to have a family and get a house/ travel etc thanks to the regular income engineering has provided.

At 50 I still do acoustic gigs around town with a friend but I jam constantly online (using Live of course) and produce music with people from all round the place. I just love it - its my passion and always will be.

For me I think that is because I've had the luxury of enjoying music a relaxing and challenging pastime, as opposed to relying on it for money to live.

All the best - you'll make the right decision for you - some great heads around here to get thoughts from

Cheers
Jed

pencilrocket
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by pencilrocket » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:03 pm

Why should you have house, why should you have wife?
What is the meaning of your life? Having house?

If you don't think you can prioritize music over those things, I would tell you to put music as a Sunday hobby.
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matthews
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by matthews » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:07 pm

Actively pursuing music as a career has always seemed as a hit or miss kind of thing for me.

I was in the same place as you. I'm 26 now, but at 20 I had already developed a love for creating music. I considered going to school for Audio Engineering or studying Music at University, but reality kicked in and I ended up doing Computer Science instead. Can't say I regret it.

The thing is, if you love making and learning about music, it's something you can always do (and if you get to a point where it becomes financially lucrative, then you've achieved the dream). But having something feasible to fall back on, and a skill set that's constantly in demand with employers looking to hire, provides a certain safety net. Not saying that a good musician/engineer isn't going to be in demand, but to some respect, its a very cutthroat industry and dependent on whether or not you're perceived as being 'good', which unfortunately isn't always dictated by your actual technical ability, if that makes sense.

Not trying to sway you one way or another, just something to consider.
Last edited by matthews on Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JuanSOLO
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by JuanSOLO » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:45 pm

Angstroms point about the grind and the lawyer is on point.

At 37 If I were to do it all over, I would have sunk all the energy I spent on creative job pursuits into something else that ment more money and less work. That way I could be spending more time making music. However this is a double edge sword kind of thing, because in my youth my optimism for creativity was so much more expansive.

Once upon a time my first band got a deal with an off shoot of a Warner Brothers Label, we were gonna tour with WEEN and the Boredoms, we broke up right before that. That had me pursuing fruitless ambitions for years.

Right now I work at an animation studio that just won an Oscar for best animated short. I get a 1400 dollar paycheck every 2 weeks. I love my job, but it's long hours, ultra tedious, and I'd rather be home making music.

As far as education in the realm of creatives, there are schools that specialize in getting people cool creative jobs, not your typical kind of schools though. Some are REALLY expensive. On that note, no one is guaranteed a good job in the end, but those who bust ass usually succeed. That said, I went to a cheap shitty school and busted my ass learning stuff on the internet to get to do what I do. I'm happy I got here, but I always wonder if I would be happier as a Lawyer working 2 days a week making music at a house in Hawaii or something.

Society and tech have/is changing so fast. Jobs that were once prosperous dont pay as much because technology has made so much more accessible, AND SO many more people have the same skill set.

I say think about a job/education that will give you the opportunity to let your creative hobby be a hap-instance career

Angstrom
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Angstrom » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:57 pm

If I were to give any advice on your parallel career, I'd say pick something that's non-technological. Technology demands constant skill updates, which is thrilling when you are 20, but becomes progressively less thrilling when you are learning the fifth new, cool and amazing way of doing something, just to tick a box.

Also, as a person who is interested in music production, you will always do that. You don;t want your day job to also involve great technological demands. That part of your brain will burn out.

Tone Deft
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:59 pm

nah, I do techshit for a paycheck and love that there's no end to the things I can learn in my job. I find the music stuff to balance well with the techshit, it's a 180' flip on nights and weekends to make music and do zero with tech. add to that the cycling I love and it's a great balance.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

Richard Ellis
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Re: YOUNG PERSON SEEKING ADVICE

Post by Richard Ellis » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:17 pm

I haven't posted here in a couple of years, but seeing this request for advice made me want to chime in.

In short, go for the internship - You'll meet people and develop your skill set. Keep music as a hobby which you can push as hard as you want on the side. If something good comes of it, then that's great, but if not, at least you'll have the skills, experience and contacts you've made in the internship to fall back on.

The first thing I was told on my music technology course almost 10 years ago was 'if you want to make money, there's a plumbers course next door. The likelihood is you won't make any money in the music industry.'

This levelled my expectations and in my case turned out to be untrue - I'm a DJ and my career has grown to the point where I'm making really good money doing it, but for years, I was gigging for next to nothing - getting by on love of the music!

Fortunately their advice was heeded and I always had a 'proper job' to keep me going. I'm now a senior AV Tech at a fantastic public venue. It's steady and secure, but I top up my income (very well) with my DJ gigs.

Enjoy all that music has to offer, but play it safe - In my experience, It's only the exceptionally talented / exceptionally hard grinding / exceptionally smart / exceptionally lucky and / or sleeps with the record exec who can make it in the music business without any other safety net (I'm certain that I've missed other exceptions out - Guys please feel free to add to the list).

Whatever you chose, I wish you all the best!

Rich
Richard

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