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Thread: Switching from performance to education?

  1. #1

    Post Switching from performance to education?

    So I am currently a senior in high school, and I have already applied to UNT under performance for trombone (yes I know this is a tuba-euphonium forum), but since I am still really new to trombone so I can pursue music (switch from euphonium), I am scared of the fact that I will not be good enough for the high expectations of being a performance major. Now, I really want to pursue performance, but I also wouldn't mind teaching, and I honestly wouldn't have a problem being a band director in the future. So, how hard would that transition from performance to education be if I somehow realize performance might not be my best option?

  2. #2
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    I’m not familiar with UNT specifically…however, I DO know literal dozens of people who started off as music performance majors and switched to music education. It’s quite common.

    I’m curious though. Why not pursue a euphonium performance major? (As a low brass player, doubling on trombone is quite common…I don’t know a euphonium player that doesn’t double on trombone. )
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  3. In my view (as someone who started as an ed/perf double major, switched to straight performance, and then dropped out entirely and ended up as an engineer) a euphonium performance degree is about as useless as it gets. You're much better off to try to get into a military service band. At least there you can actually make some money and get benefits, although they will probably require you to double on something. If you want to be a teacher, then the education thing is great. My mother was a music teacher. Teaching can be frustrating, especially now, but for some it's also rewarding. If you want to be a college professor, an ed degree is a great first step.

    The main thing is that you don't want to waste your time and money in school for a field you aren't going to like. College is not like summer camp. The goal is to get a job you enjoy that pays well. Music as a job is not the beautiful fairy tale we sometimes imagine. And where do euphonium players get paid to play? (Military). I spent 4 years in a Navy band, and eventually decided (while getting paid to play) that engineering was a better way to go. And then the Navy helped me with engineering school.

    Whatever you choose, best of luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by hyperbolica View Post
    College is not like summer camp. The goal is to get a job you enjoy that pays well.
    I thought the goal of college was to postpone adulthood for as long as possible??? LOL
    Euphoniums
    John Packer 374LT
    John Packer 274L

    Larry Herzog Jr.
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    All things EUPHONIUM! Guilded server

  5. #5
    I've been out of it for years, but I think you might want to look at the courses required for an ed degree. You may wish to take some of those your first year or two in case you change your mind about performance.

    Service bands are a good job, IMO, but competition is pretty intense. It will help to have a very solid double, and good trombone chops would be the most logical for the non-premier bands.

    If you are thinking about college teaching, then you should get signed up for the monthly email on this site:

    https://www.academickeys.com/

    You will see a list of the music vacancies each month, long before you will be job hunting. The reason for this suggestion is that you can pick jobs you thing you might like and then look at the requirements. It will help you know what your prep should be. You will almost certainly need to go beyond a masters, but the grandest degree won't matter much if you don't have "something extra" in most cases. As you look at vacancies, you will often see (or infer) that you would need to teach in some other area(s) like music history.

    If you plan on a public school teaching career, you will need other types of "something extra" to succeed. You need to understand politics, for one thing, because fighting for budget/schedule/etc. can be a requirement. You will also need to understand the dynamics of working with public school students; some music ed classes give you a little prep, but you might find ways to volunteer and work with groups of students along the way. College can't teach you everything you need!

    If you stay with performance, try to give yourself a plan B/C/D in case a service band gig doesn't appear when you need it. Think about your double here, of course, because you can find more free-lance work on trombone. You can also think about forming a group that can do pay gigs. A brass quintet is an obvious choice, and you can play euphonium there for 90% of the music (IMO). But you could also think about a British-style brass quartet (2 cornets, horn, euphonium). There is quite a lot of music available for this group (especially from European sources), and you only need to pay 4 people instead of 5, so you can either work cheaper or make a bit more per player. As mentioned above, a non-music "double" can also be valuable. The trick would be to find a job in a secondary area that leave time and flexibility to follow your music goals.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
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  6. #6
    This thread reminds me of a joke that has been on this forum a time or three:

    Q: What is the difference between a profession euphonium player and a large supreme pizza?

    A: The large supreme pizza can feed a family of four.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  7. #7
    thank you. i needed that

  8. #8
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    I'm a first-year elementary music teacher in South Florida. I can't speak for UNT but I'll speak from the experience I've gathered so far. USF had an internship program where for one semester I was working alongside elementary teacher, and then a secondary teacher in my case middle school 9 weeks at each school at the end of my 4 years of college. That's where I got experience in the classroom from lesson planning, leading classes and attending meetings and seeing issues like schedules and budgets being dealt with. I love playing my euph, but I know many others from my studio gave it up when they started teaching.
    Anyway, after teaching so far, this current school year, I can say that I still don't know many things, I'm still figuring out ways to handle meetings and the social aspects of being a public-school teacher. The best advice I ever received was to "be flexible" and that is absolutely true. I've had my schedule switched up 3 times already so administration can address the needs of students. I've had to cover the duties of other teachers that were absent and never filled because of oversight, simply because I happened to notice there was no adult with a group of students after school.
    As well as being at a rather rough school, dealing with young kids who can be vocally profane and physically aggressive. So far, I broke up 2 physical fights and many screaming arguments by my 4th week of the year in my classroom while trying to teach music, thankfully no more since then.

    Not to cause reason for scare or to say this will be your experience if you pursue music ed and after as a teacher. But the moments of brilliance where I get ensembles going and kids learning the music lessons I try to get across and seeing smiles is what keeps me going. That's what I look for, going above and beyond and reaching out to the students who need me as a role model adult, teacher, and musician. Shrug off the bad days and come back strong the next. You definitely need to be ready and willing to give everything you have. I've seen many young music teachers burn out from expecting the best of the best thinking that everything will go the way they want and sometimes life doesn't work that way. I'm only 24 years young but I became a teacher not just for me but because I felt I had something to give to the younger generation above myself. Just some things to think about if you decide to teach. I've seen quite a few graduates from my university go into teaching simply because they deemed it easy and sadly, they were some of the roughest people (huge attitudes and ego) I've had to work with. Just make sure you go into teaching for the right reasons because at the end of the day, it's the kids that you're in front of that matter the most.

    Career wise it's definitely seen as more reliable compared to performance because it's stable income right out of graduating and you can always teach for a couple years. Save some money and go back for a master's in performance. That's what I plan to do. You may also be better off that way as you figure out what works for students in learning may also help you to problem solve your own playing issues if you have any as well as any teaching situations you may find yourself in later in life. My experience won't be yours but as a public-school teacher these are just some of the things I've seen and dealt with that college really didn't prepare me for.

    At least with teaching an elementary school I'm still able to play my horn with copious amounts of time as long as I'm not exhausted because high school entails marching band rehearsals typically and middle schools gets out later in the day. So, I'm home by 3:30 pm usually, I play my horn on my breaks throughout the day and I have time for my local community band during the week at nighttime because I'm rested up before then. I'm also home around the same time my fiancee leaves work so we get to see each other more often.
    Last edited by EthanL; 10-14-2022 at 09:16 AM.

  9. #9
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    A few thoughts: On September 8 I attended a master class presented by Brandon Jones, Principal Euphonium DC Air Force Band. He began his career as a teacher and eventually auditioned and was accepted for his present position at a military band. (By the way, in the Q&A session I asked him if he doubled on another instrument, and he said definitely not. He is exclusively a euphonium player for his job with the military band, although I think he said that at times he has played trombone on side gigs. I am not sure if that was while he was part of the military band.)

    Also, a couple of years ago I was thinking about going back to school for a second bachelors degree and majoring in music. A faculty member in the music department gave me the following advice. Even if you major in music in a non-performance track there is actually nothing limiting you from attaining the same level of skill as a music performance major. In fact, as I recall about a year ago one graduating music education major at that same school was just accepted into one of the military bands. He plays trombone and euphonium. I am not sure which instrument he will be playing in the military band.

    Something I heard about the military bands is that even if you are a musician you will still need to go through basic training. An exception to this is for the President's Own (the principal Marine Corps Band). Maybe Dave Werden can comment on this point with regard to the Coast Guard Band.

    And speaking of the Coast Guard, I've heard that the Coasties say (when referring to rescue missions), "You have to go out, but you don't have to come back". There are a lot of brave folks in the Coast Guard.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Members of the “President’s Own” USMC Band don’t have to go through basic training? (I had no idea. I know all the USAF bands have to go through basic training.)
    Euphoniums
    John Packer 374LT
    John Packer 274L

    Larry Herzog Jr.
    Twitter: iMav
    Facebook: iMav
    Email: me@imav.org
    Founder of geekhack.org

    Linktree: iMav


    All things EUPHONIUM! Guilded server

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