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Educational predicament.

Postby Salazarsam33 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:02 pm

Hello everyone, I have a question for the teachers and professionals who know about the educational system in the States.

Bear with me a brief explanation of my background and current situation.

I earned my degree studying abroad that is equivalent to a masters or at least a bachelor's here in the states. It is not music related whatsoever.

I had been playing a lot while studying abroad, even taking private lessons from the states orchestra (who happened to be a graduate of long Beach). I sube in the orchestra a couple of times and got other gigs, most people assumed I was a tubista from the states like my teacher even tho I was in a different field.

Finishing my degree has led me to believe that tuba performance is what I wish to pursue and do with my life.

Now I am back in the states and looking for the best way to get into school for tuba. Many people have suggested that I go into a masters since I already have a bachelor's. I just have to prep for the audition. I do feel however that I lack knowledge in theory ND history. A friend of mine said that if I fail the placement exam I would just have to take a remedial class. I don't really want to go into a masters thinking I will end up taking extra courses, so a friend of mine suggested I do some sort of performers certificate at a university with a good teacher to learn a little more in theory and history while I polish up my skills with a good teacher.

I am new to the whole music education scene so I don't know if the performers certificate is something universities offer, and if I old obtain a masters in tuba performance without a bachelor's in music.

So my questions basically bold down to.
1.) what is the best route for someone with a bachelor's who plays a decent Mount of tuba.
2.) are there schools that offer performers certificates for tuba, and if so which schools are recomended
3.) if you do recommend going thru with the bachelor's would I still have to get the GE's out of the way with the standard American school system?

Thank you
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Re: Educational predicament.

Postby Mudman » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:56 am

To get in to a masters program in the US, the student will usually need to already have an undergraduate degree in music, from an NASM accredited program.

Some undergraduate degree programs will accept some of the general education classes that you completed at another university.

Artist certificates or artist diplomas are different at each school. Some are intended for students who are trying to win a job, but don't want to earn a doctoral degree. Usually this is somebody who does not want to teach, but who hasn't quite broken through in the audition circuit. There is no standard format for this type of certificate. Lessons, recitals, ensembles, and a couple of academic classes would make up a typical certificate. Depending on the background you have, you might be able to find an artist-certificate program.

A couple of other options: find great performers that you want to study with. See where they teach, and then look for school options in that city. It may be possible to do a really inexpensive degree at a community college while studying with the heavyweight tuba player in that city. Studying with that artist can lead to some employment.

If you want to play for a living, it does not matter what degree you hold. Just move to a market that can support another freelance tuba player. Pay your dues to try to break in to the market, something that will take 2-3 years. If you can play a solid double, like electric bass, you can have a shot at paying the bills.

If you want to win a playing position, the main thing will be studying with the right teacher for you, and getting really high-level playing experience. This could be in school, or out of school. A day job in another field does not stop anybody from winning an audition.

Source: current university teacher, and former advisor at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
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Re: Educational predicament.

Postby paulver » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:38 am

I had a similarly related conversation with an orchestral percussionist some months back. My daughter is a french hornist, and wants to be a "player". Being still in high school, she thinks that her route to success is to get a music performance degree in an undergrad college. While that is a possibility, I keep telling her that route doesn't necessarily translate to automatic employment in the performance arena. Four hundred trumpet players showed up for an audition for one trumpet spot in a well known orchestra. While education is incredibly important in this world, if you want to be a player, you need to be where the players are. A symphony conductor isn't going to care if you have a degree, or where it came from. He/she is only interested in how well you play and what you sound like.

Additionally, being taught to play by big name instructors opens many..... and important, doors. Summed up, and simply put....... it's a combination things..... talent, playing ability, preparation, right spot at the right time, and WHO YOU KNOW!!!!!

All that being said, the proper educational element will obviously give you the information and musical expertise to make you a better musician. But, more importantly, it will put you in a circle of people who may very well be experienced in what you want to do, and have the connections you need to get to the doors you want to open.
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Re: Educational predicament.

Postby Tom » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:38 am

Mudman nailed this. Great post.

You don't need to go into a degree program (anywhere) to become a great tuba player. Likewise, you don't need to go into a degree program to take tuba lessons, either. You also don't need to go into a degree program to brush up on your music theory or history. All of those things can be done outside of the college/university setting if you want to.

If you just want a degree in tuba, a masters or otherwise, then ok. Entry/acceptance requirements are not universal and vary from school to school. You'll have to do your own homework to see what you need to do to go to the school you want to go to and what they're willing to offer based on the degree you already have. Be aware, however, that it is a universal requirement that you'll have to audition into a music school (conservatory or university/college) and will have to take placement exams for the academic subjects such as music theory. Only you can decide if you are ready for that or not. The fact you do not have a bachelor's degree in music may keep you from being able to do an advanced degree in the US (masters, doctorate, etc.) - but again, you'll have to check into that based on where you want to go.

In my opinion, If what you actually want to do is just study with a good teacher, skip the college/university step and instead call up the person you want to study with, ask about private lessons, and pay cash for those lessons as often as you can schedule them and afford them. You won't earn a degree, but if that isn't something you really care about anyway, tons of time, money, and energy can be saved by taking lessons independently.
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Re: Educational predicament.

Postby dwaskew » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:29 pm

Mudman and Tom nailed it.

Degrees lead to more degrees. Eventually with enough degrees you begin teaching others seeking degrees. Yep, I said it.....

Now that that's out of the way: degrees aren't bad, but guarantee nothing. The proof is in how you carry yourself, do the gig, be collegial, and have the background knowledge musically and technically to be accepted/respected, regardless of degree or "pedigree". If, for you, a degree/perf cert feels best to prepare, then do that. If you're having success applying yourself with a great teacher/mentor, then do that. No magic bullet. Study, get better, do the job.
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Re: Educational predicament.

Postby bloke » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:50 pm

dwaskew wrote:...Degrees lead to more degrees. Eventually with enough degrees you begin teaching others seeking degrees. Yep, I said it.....

I fell into this trap c. age 21, and - at the end of the first year of graduate school (as a teaching assistant - teaching a major university's entire tuba studio) - realized that I was getting pushed down the career railroad tracks with the Degree Locomotive's cowcatcher (and only for the benefit of those doing the pushing), put on the breaks (followed by "that ugly/insulting talk" that some very selfish aggressively recruiting professors give to promising young students, when those students decide to walk away - thus KNOWING that I had ABSOLUTELY made the correct decision), and did so with nothing-in-particular to do instead...other than to return to the c. $30K (yes, late 1970's $$'s) of freelance work that I had walked away from in order to accept a $5K stipend, and allow myself to be lied to regarding, "Don't worry. We'll get you a waiver of out-of-state tuition", which (having had to pay out-of-state tuition - as it WAS a lie - was about 3/8ths of the amount of the stipend). :|

If the purpose of a "performance degree" is to "get to where one can perform", YET I was already earning (2017 $$'s) well over $100K/year performing, what the hell was I thinking? :roll:

bloke "It requires a tremendous amount of patience to be a teacher (particularly: of lazy students who spend their weekends abusing substances, rather than preparing their assigned materials), and a tremendous amount of humility to be willing to only be paid what teachers are paid - departments in which I'm not particularly strong."

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