3 answers

Which is a better profession to pursue: marching band or computer science?

Asked Dayton, Tennessee

I've been around computers all my life and I love working with them. However, it seems like it could be a lot of work and not much fun to do as a job. Marching band/music seems really fun, but I don't think it'd be worth it money-wise and I won't be able to do it my entire life unless I go into educating music. #music #band #technology #computers

3 answers

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

The one to pursue is the one which most closely matches your personality. Getting to know yourself to determine a suitable career area and then talking to people involved in that career area is very important in selecting something that will be satisfying and rewarding.



Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

Jonathan’s Answer

Updated

Why not do both?


The truth is there are VERY few people who make a living solely off of marching band related jobs. Most are doing it as a side gig to make some extra money, but mostly because they are passionate about making music. Just because you love a thing doesn't mean it has to be your main source of income.


If you want to pursue music full-time as a player there are litteraly almost zero paid positions as a performer in marching bands. You could go into the military in one of their bands, but those are extremely competitive positions to get. Most performers are making money in other types of situations such as orchestras, studio musicians, etc.


Essentially, unless you are a top musician in the world, marching band specific positions aren't going to be easy accessible.


Computer Science is going to be a much more stable career path, however it is also a lot of hard work before you get to use your creativity to make things that you care about. And it can be less fun at times, but it is highly rewarding to solve problems with things that you create from nothing.


A spot that I ended up really embracing and enjoying is frontend development because it combines a high level of creativity with the need for coding expertise without diving too deep into intense programming.


It would be awesome to see what career path you could find that blends two passions into something that matters to you!


Whatever you do, be the best at that thing and things will work out.


TL;DR: There aren't many high paying positions for marching band specific jobs, but that doesn't mean you can't work as a consultant for suplimental income while your main job is in something more lucrative.


Source: I used to study music in college, but decided I didn't want to teach full-time. I fell into working on design and frontend development and it has been a very rewarding and reliable source of income for my family.

Updated
Wow! Thanks for the insanely helpful feedback. I guess I could definitely do both and see where each one takes me. I could want to go into education for music, or I could become a computer programmer/tech/engineer. I've got options, which is always nice. Thanks a ton!

Tasha’s Answer

Updated

Dustin,


If pursuing both marching band and computer science is not possible, look at what drives you. You also have to evaluate what will allow you to make a living. Maybe make one a career and the other a hobby. You get the best of both worlds.