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Is becoming a music major worth it?

I play trumpet and bass guitar. I want to play bassoon but my school does not have one. I am interested in becoming an aerospace engineer or a music educator. But is a college path in music worth it?

Thank you comment icon Hi. My name is Brody and I play the bassoon. If your school does not have a bassoon you can try getting in touch with local music companies and colleges to loan/borrow one. I would say with your passion for music you should become a music major. Hope this helps. Brody

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T.J.’s Answer

Hello Caleb!

Your decision may hinge on what your specific goals in music education are.

- To become a music teacher in a K-12 school, you'll need to complete a bachelor's degree, state exams, get a certificate, and do work experience in a school setting. For college music teachers, you'll need a graduate degree.

- To become a music teacher in terms of private lessons or professional tutoring, you'll mainly need to develop your skills. You can start a independent business where you give lessons in-person, or provide sessions online.

There's so many ways you can become a music instructor! Here's some articles about music teaching roles:

- What is a Music Instructor? Music Instructor Overview: https://www.zippia.com/music-instructor-jobs/

- Eight Types of Music Teacher Jobs: https://flypaper.soundfly.com/hustle/8-types-music-teacher-jobs/

To decide whether or not you want to pursue music, you can find advice from people working in these roles.

See if you can reach out to music instructors near you and interview them (by asking them a few questions via email or in a "coffee chat" --- a short virtual Zoom call).

Here's a good website to check out! https://musicteachersdirectory.org/USA/LA-Music-Private-Teachers-Louisiana-Music-Private-Lessons

(Also: If you don't know what to ask, here's a list of interview questions! https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/questions-to-ask-someone-about-their-job ).

You may also benefit from watching videos about the nature of the job of being a music instructor. Check out these YouTube music creators:

- inside this music box: https://youtu.be/OAU866rdjpg

- The Future Millionaire Band Director: https://youtu.be/CsJNL62fqUA

- Schmidt Minutes: https://youtu.be/8UWAbHKRXjQ

- Music and Motivate: https://youtu.be/SkVJB67iblQ

Lastly, you can read posts from Music Educators on this online community here! https://www.reddit.com/r/MusicEd/

Give yourself time to dive deep & learn more about the professions out there. After you explore, you'll gain a better idea if there's a path that's right fit for you.

Sending you good luck as you explore the world of music education :)
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Joseph’s Answer

Hey Caleb!

I found myself pondering a similar question during my high school years: should I join AFROTC to become a pilot and officer, or pursue music education/performance? I played the trombone, and my family has a strong background in teaching. Ultimately, I chose the Air Force, didn't complete pilot training, and became a project manager (both in the military and now as a civilian). I truly enjoy my career and collaborating with my team (including engineers)!

You've received some awesome advice already. I'll share one of the best tips I got in my career: list your priorities in order, from 1 to whatever number you need. Your priorities will undoubtedly change over time, but this exercise will help you see what matters most to you right now.

My priorities guided me to the career I have today. I love having control over my schedule, being there for my family, and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle. I still celebrate district and state music festivals with the music teachers in my family and play trombone as a hobby, although I'm not as skilled as I used to be!

To determine if a path is worth it, you need to know what you value. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. While I'm not an aerospace engineer, I've worked with a few.

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

Evaluate and Rank your priorities
Inform yourself as best as possible based on those priorities
Continue to re-evaluate throughout your career (major milestones & over periods of time)
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Kyle’s Answer

Hey there! It's a thoughtful question and I want to start by saying that it's one that no one can really answer except for you.

When I went to college, my intent was not to be a music major...but then my high school band director left the profession and I felt a deep urge to become the kind of teacher he was and inspire students the same way that he inspired me. Majoring in music (especially not starting that major until my second year!) helped me develop a lot of practical skills that I use every day - time management (and more broadly, calendar management), team work, and active listening. It also helped me learn to be critical of myself without putting myself down - after all, practicing well (another skill I developed as a music major!) can fill most skill gaps. Music also brings together a lot of different kinds of people, so it exposed me to personalities and viewpoints that I might not have met had I stayed in my first major (Physics!).

Ultimately, I no longer work in the field of music...but the things that I learned are valuable to me in too many ways to count.

TLDR - for me, it was worth it. For you...you'll have to decide for yourself.

Good luck!
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