Who is worse American Idol or Julliard(Chapter 1 - 3)

For Anything and Everything to do with Flute Playing and Music

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:21 pm

Yeah, I read chapter 5 also. The one that got to me the most was the student who knew his instructor is full of it!

The funny thing is, the school took the side of the instructor anyway! That was jacked up. Unfortunately, music is not the only place this happens.

Phineas

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musical_Kat
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Post by musical_Kat » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:59 am

I finished the book a couple of days before christmas. The last chapter on life after juliard was the hardest to take in for me I think. What a wake up call after all those years of study! Life and a career in music is a harsh reality! But if you love it then there is no better way to live I guess. I love it....just not THAT much!! LOL

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Post by fluteguy18 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:34 am

Yeah. The last chapter was hard for me to digest. It has made me take a hard look at myself and what I want out of my life in regards to music. Do I really want to act [morally] like the people in this book in order to succeed? Do I want to kick and scratch and claw my way to the top? I don't know. I do know that I love music more than anything in the world though. I know that I can make a living doing just about anything else, but I don't think I could truly be happy doing anything else....

My, My, My.... Decisions, Decisions.

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cflutist
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Post by cflutist » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:27 pm

My husband and I also read this book (borrowed it from the local library).

For myself, I made the right decision by not pursuing it professionally.

I had a scholarship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Preparatory - pre-college - Department). There I studied solfege, music theory, music history, in addition to my flute lesson and playing in the orchestra. In my last recital as a senior in high school, I performed the Dutilleux Sonatine while Julie McKenzie performed the first mvt from Mozart #1. She is now Principal Flute of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra while I'm a VP at a Fortune 50 company in the IT department.

So I go off to SFSU and for my first semester decided to major in music.
I studied with Paul Renzi (Principal Flute of the San Francisco Symphony).
It was the "B" I received from him in my jury that convinced me that I wasn't good enough to really make it professionally. I took 9 classes that semester and received 8 "A"s and the 1 "B" from Renzi. I later found out that he normally gave incoming freshman "C"s, but didn't know that at the time. So I switch my major to Business Information Systems and the rest is history.

I am currently Principal Flute in our local community orchestra which is made up of adults like myself with other full time jobs, college students, and some paid professionals. I don't think I can play at the level I did while at the Conservatory, but I don't practice as much as I did then either ... maybe only 1 hour a week now. I still enjoy music though and do hold "flute fests" at the house where we sight read flute choir music (there are several of us who have Alto, Bass, and Contra Bass Flutes).

I do wish the best for those of you who want to pursue it professionally.
Follow your dream :D

At this point in my life, I cannot say that I "love" my job, but rather it pays the bills. My orchestra conductor does "love" his job though.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:13 pm

Music majors are put through the ringer. This is true even in local Conservatories. Sometimes I wonder if some of the professors are just frustrated musicians that take it out on the students.

Cflutist

I had a similar experience with Guitar(My main instrument at the time). Here I was, playing in studio sessions in Hollywood. The worse thing I did was sign up at LACC(LA community college). I was good enough to get paid, but not good enough to make it. I was told I had no talent, and no ear for harmony. At about the same time, I was working in a pit at a local show. After a month of working in a pit, and a semester at LACC, I decided not to pursue music as my main source of income. I was bored to tears playing hte same music day after day in the pit, and got tired of being nit picked to death at LACC. Another thing that was going on at the time was the fall of the union gigs. There were a lot of people around LA that were willing to do studio sessions for almost nothing just for the exposure. Reality hit me when I had to boil my guitar strings before a gig because I could not afford to buy a new set. I even tried playing around the San Francisco. There were a lot of good bands, but none of them worked...lol

I am glad I was not a music major in college(I double majored in Electrical Engineer and Physics). Even though I was a science double major, it was a lot less of a mental strain!

As you may have guessed, most of my music major friends are not even working as musicians. In fact, I get more gigs than they do! It is really sad.

Politics and self promotion, and business. Three of the most important things that they do not teach music majors. Things besides luck that will get you ahead in the music business.

This book proves it! I may not be as good of a player as I could have been, you may even call me a sell out. But at least I can afford guitar strings! :D

Phineas

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cflutist
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Post by cflutist » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:34 pm

Phineas wrote:Music majors are put through the ringer. This is true even in local Conservatories. Sometimes I wonder if some of the professors are just frustrated musicians that take it out on the students.

I am glad I was not a music major in college(I double majored in Electrical Engineer and Physics). Even though I was a science double major, it was a lot less of a mental strain!

This book proves it! I may not be as good of a player as I could have been, you may even call me a sell out. But at least I can afford guitar strings! :D

Phineas
WOW, a techie, I'm really impressed !!!!. It is amazing how technology and music are related. The Principal Clarinet in our orchestra is a PhD in Math and is a scientist at Lawrence Livermore Labs (he was playing gigs in New Orleans earlier in his career). The Principal Bassoon is a UNIX Systems Admin. I'm in IT. The Principal Oboe was a music major though as is the Concertmaster.

Yes and you're correct about being able to afford guitar strings and multiple flutes .... LOL

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Post by fluteguy18 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:25 pm

Phineas wrote: Politics and self promotion, and business. Three of the most important things that they do not teach music majors. Things besides luck that will get you ahead in the music business.
Absolutely!!!!!

I am SO glad I am double majoring in Performance and Music Business/Merchandising. I have learned a LOT about the business side of music, and it is horrible that they don't teach all musicians these rudimentary survival tools.

What I have learned in the past semester has completely changed the way I run my career, and has already made a huge impact. From learning the basics of self-promotion and business I have already landed a few really huge freelance gigs in my area. And it wasn't even hard! I just knew how to market myself. I get questions all the time from my friends asking how I do what I do. They don't ever get gigs outside of school, and I usually have a few every month [which for a collegiate player is quite a lot].

And as for politics, it is merely knowing Who, How, and When to brown-nose. Connecting with the right people will make or break your career. I for example am also a freelance harpist. I got in touch with the top harpist in the area, and within a week I had a job offer for pit work. Now keep in mind that the offer didn't make my career obviously, but from that simple contact [and careful flattery] I have already had several job referrals.

This book in particular pointed out the politics of NYC. My Music Industry teacher illustrated the system even more. She was an agent in NYC for a while, and was the agent of Jean Pierre Rampal, Jim Walker, and cellist Zuill Bailey. [She is still Jim's agent in fact]. This book is absolutely correct in the fact that agents got new clients from their old clients. And even then, they only signed new clients if they were either already famous, or offered something that was new and marketable. And you have to be flexible too.

You can't just play classical anymore. It's not enough. One of my teachers went to a summer festival several years ago, and met Greg Pattillo there. She beat him in auditions. But look at them now. He is famous for beatboxing, and she [while still successful and financially stable as an orchestral player] is not famous.

Politics, Self-Promotion, and Business. The heart of the Music Industry.

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Post by pied_piper » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:23 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:I know that I can make a living doing just about anything else, but I don't think I could truly be happy doing anything else....
I felt that way (for a while). I got my BS in Mus.Ed and taught in the public schools for 6 years, played gigs, and ran an instrument repair business on the side. Then, I took a summer job (non-musical) for some extra cash. While there for 3 months over the summer, I made as much as 6 months of my teaching salary and I was offered a management position for even more - I couldn't say no, so I took it, left teaching, and never looked back. A few years later, I went back to school for an MS in Computer Science. I now work as a software architect and love it (most of the time). I still play regularly - mostly at church, but also a few gigs here and there when they fit in with my work and travel schedule. Do I miss teaching? Not really. Do I wish I had time to play more? Yes, but my software career has allowed me a much more comfortable lifestyle. I try not to be a workaholic and to keep things in balance so that I stay involved in music. For me, that has been the best of both worlds. YMMV...
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:50 am

pied_piper wrote:
fluteguy18 wrote:I know that I can make a living doing just about anything else, but I don't think I could truly be happy doing anything else....
I felt that way (for a while). I got my BS in Mus.Ed and taught in the public schools for 6 years, played gigs, and ran an instrument repair business on the side. Then, I took a summer job (non-musical) for some extra cash. While there for 3 months over the summer, I made as much as 6 months of my teaching salary and I was offered a management position for even more - I couldn't say no, so I took it, left teaching, and never looked back. A few years later, I went back to school for an MS in Computer Science. I now work as a software architect and love it (most of the time). I still play regularly - mostly at church, but also a few gigs here and there when they fit in with my work and travel schedule. Do I miss teaching? Not really. Do I wish I had time to play more? Yes, but my software career has allowed me a much more comfortable lifestyle. I try not to be a workaholic and to keep things in balance so that I stay involved in music. For me, that has been the best of both worlds. YMMV...
The funny thing about humans is all we want is a good life. The love of music, and wanting to do it for a living is a part of that for most of us. Unfortuately, people think just because they are doing something they love to do, that life will be easier. This is far from the truth. You find out that whether you are a Janitor, or a Flute player, when it comes to work, they are related! The difference is the amount of work that it takes to make the same money. I see young artist get signed with a record label, have to do tours, etc..... for $50000 a year. I can make more money working as a pipe fitter, be home every night, and not have to be obligated to a contract(pimped)!

If musicians/artists got paid relative to the amount of work it took for them to be good enough, they would be one of the highest paid people on the planet.

As far as "HIGH TECH". Artists as a whole are the smartest people on any job. Musicians generally make up most of the better Engineers and IT people. If you think about what it takes to play an instrument well, you can see why musicians are some of the smartest people on the planet.

1. Math - Reading music is on the fly division.
2. Organization.
3. Cognitive thinking.
4. Memorization.
5. Sound/Pattern recognition.(Language)
6. Deductive reasoning.
7. Critical thinking.
8. Situational awareness.
9. Coordination

These are things the most none artist people do not have. It does not surprise me when I work in an engineering department, and most of the people are artists/musicians.

Phineas

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Post by pied_piper » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:46 am

Phineas, you make some excellent points with respect to the similar characteristics and skills of both engineers/IT and musicians. I, too, have found a high correlation between the two disciplines and have worked with a number of people in the software and engineering industries who are very capable musicians. Besides myself, at my company we have a developer (with an MM) who previously taught music at the university level. He was working on his PhD in music but switched to the computer industry for a better way of life...
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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Post by Tonight8 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:26 pm

Julliard. At least American Idol has got it honest.
www.latestartermusician.com

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