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Thread: Best Universities for Euph?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    Perhaps things have changed since my college days but I was dissuaded by my college euphonium teacher from being a performance major on euphonium and it had nothing to do with my talent level. It was because there are so few gigs for a euphonium player.
    That's not bad advice, but there are other ways of looking at it. If you have a lot of ability and want to be a performance major that's fine, but you just need to have a plan B as far as making a living. Perhaps you really want to devote energy to being the very best player possible (although you can get most of that as an ed major). And maybe you're also a great cook. So get some training and experience in being a chef. Or a mechanic. Or whatever. But you need something that will pay the bills. Then if you don't get a full-time music gig, you can work at the paying job by day and play in groups or do solos, recording, whatever on your off hours.

    If you are not lucky enough to have a ready-to-go talent to nurture to help you earn money outside of music, then you need to do more planning.

    No one should count on coming out of college and finding a playing gig - INCLUDING those who play trombone, trumpet, horn... not just euphonium. Playing jobs are hard to come by and every musician needs a plan B for making a living.

    In my area here in the Twin Cities, there are two or three amateur brass bands and a good selection of amateur wind bands. BUT you can also earn a little extra if you make gigs for yourself. Maybe a brass quartet?? There are a LOT of fine musicians in this area, but only a limited number of those earn a complete living at it.

    Just think of all the college majors where you are not guaranteed a living wage in that specialty. Cultural studies of various kinds; philosophy; etc. A young man I know very well was an English major and loved it (he has his Masters in English as well). He's now gainfully employed, but not really using his English specialty in his job. But he likes his job and he liked his major. So if your expectations are realistic, a performance major can be fine.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
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    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Thanks David. Your last sentence is spot on.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    That's not bad advice, but there are other ways of looking at it. If you have a lot of ability and want to be a performance major that's fine, but you just need to have a plan B as far as making a living.
    This is the best possible advice for a young person looking at graduating from high school and looking at further schooling and a career -- and it's not at all limited to careers in music. And it's not just about making a living, but more broadly about having some kind of reasonable plan for what you want to do in life (and what you'll be able to do) if your "ideal life" isn't attainable for one reason for another.

    Every year (I speak from experience, having gone through school -- all the way through graduate school -- with people like this) thousands of people get bachelor's degrees in various subjects in areas in which there are no careers. These are most typically in the humanities or arts, but not restricted to those areas. With stars in their eyes (and ignoring the explicit warnings that professional associations have been sending to them for decades now) they get accepted to a graduate program and many of them manage to get Ph.D. degrees. Way too many of them. Their ideal life is to become a tenured academic and a life-time university professor. This happens for only a very, very few. When -- often after from five to ten years of trying -- they realize this, they then face the prospect of finding a job AND A LIFE that are interesting and rewarding to them (both financially and emotionally). And at that point, that's VERY difficult because they've trained themselves only for a life that they CAN'T have. Some of them manage to recover. Some of them "retrain" or make use of skills that they've acquired and can "retarget". Others become very bitter and depressed for the rest of their lives, and have unhappy lives as a result -- always resentful that they "failed" in achieving their goals. It is wonderful to have goals and ideals that you strive for, but it is crazy and irresponsible and immature to put blinders on and see only that path. This applies to professional music careers and other careers that have severely constrained opportunities for success.

    It's a difficult balance. You need enough "pedal to the metal" commitment to pursue your ideal and achieve it if that's possible -- anything less in a competitive area won't come close to succeeding. But you also want to be thinking that "For whatever reasons -- skill, luck, the economy, injury, familial obligations -- I MAY not end up with what I want." Also (and I confess that this was a large part of my own case), after spending all that time on successfully achieving that goal that you've had for so long and worked so hard for, after a few years you can look around and say "You know. I'm done with this. Need to do something else now." It's real good to always have the ability to do that.

    All through my college and graduate school years, and prior to getting tenure many years ago my attitude was always "Well, I can always go back to driving trucks." Never actually did that. But I did manage to have two other careers after my "ideal" one -- the one I KNEW I wanted for my entire life when I was in my early 20s -- got tiresome and I walked away from it. So the big advice here, and just expanding on Dave's, is "Think ahead. Your life will likely be quite long. Don't paint yourself into a corner."
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  4. #14
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    Seems pretty Elementary to me. Find the people who are making a living playing the horn and find out where they went to school

    I would make a distinction between people who play for a living and people who teach for a living. You are looking for a diploma or degree in performance not a degree or diploma in teaching, right?

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