Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Is it necessary to have a M.M.?...


Vivezza

Recommended Posts

Are you referring to degrees? Nobody cares whether you even graduated from high school. Can you show up agreeable, clean, sober and ready to play and deliver an acceptable performance by sight reading anything put in front of you? Can you improvise in a number of styles given a melody and/or harmonic structure? If yes, you can get work and no one cares how or where you learned to do it. If no, it doesn’t matter that you have a doctorate in performance. Obviously music school is a good place to learn and hone these skills. Some people with music degrees can do it well and a few can’t do it at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For freelancing, degrees don't matter at all. What matters is your playing ability, your knowledge of music, and most importantly, your ability to adapt quickly to widely varied circumstances.

Degree programs are usually good places for musical training, but no contractor cares where you went to school. It's all about connections and proving yourself.

However, I had a GREAT time working on my master's degree and learned a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You will get invited to plenty of auditions with only a Bachelors degree. You can do all kinds of freelance playing with that too, or with no degree at all. The Masters will open more doors for teaching positions, although, these days, there are a lot of places that insist on a doctorate. It is also a question of finances. A Masters degree could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. You would be weighing potential increased earnings against the cost of the degree. My opinion is that it is not worth it unless you are with a great teacher who will really propel your playing forward with two more years of study. Otherwise, take private lessons with someone brilliant and learn to play really well, and forget the expensive wallpaper. My two cents...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everybody. One other quick question now. I know that first year university can be a hellish experience by talking to a few violinists that I know who are in university right now. What are your experiences of this and, looking back, what was so awful about first year? Was it mainly adjusting to university life? The workload...? And is there anything you could have done beforehand to better prepare you for university? If there has already been a post on this ignore (I haven't checked yet).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well first year does indeed weed out some students. But when it happens I regard it as a big failure. Good teachers need to rigorously test and assess the interest, talent and perserverence of their pupils. Nobody should be entering conservatory without being pretty darn sure of what they are getting themselves into and what life sacrifices are being made. In my mind it is entirely different from the common decision facing a high school student about where to go to college.

Beeviola's advice is good. Study theory and piano while you have some time. Work at practicing very efficiently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved college 1st year.

After having taken 9 AP courses in high school, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I realized that there was no more "busywork" nor classes that lasted all day every day. No more phys ed or home ec or any of the courses that I never enjoyed and never got anything out of.

There was just a lot more time to work in college. I could get up early (I never shook the 7 AM wakeup time even in college) and hit the books or the violin while everybody else was asleep. I could actually stay awake in classes and could successfully digest what I was learning. And then I'd go and have fun the rest of the day.

I didn't have to get up at 6 AM for a 7:30 bus, nor participate in extracurricular activities after school while biking 45 minutes home because I didn't have a ride and the late bus was like the "Midnight Train to Georgia".

Also, I related to college professors much better than my high school teachers. I hated busywork, for it took away from the quality of my real work. I also hated my high school teachers, who had no clue as to who I really was and were more interested in buttering up to students of the opposite sex than DOING A QUALITY JOB.

As far as music goes, I'm not the best person to ask. In college, I took a few music courses but there was nothing I didn't already learn in Juilliard Pre-College. The thing that was different was learning jazz, which I had no preparation for.

Basically, high school SUCKED.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the worst things about my first year was probably getting used to living conditions in the dorms that were not as nice as I had in my parents' home. Never enough sleep (noisy), crowded, sloppy communal bathrooms, yuk. The workload was also really high that first year.

The only sure thing that will make your first year easier is to study all the theory you possibly can, and if you have never played the piano before, start NOW so you don't freak out like all my non-pianist classmates. The theory, keyboard proficiency, and sightsinging requirements can take huge amounts of time.

And of course, practice your instrument well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would recommend you take a couple of lessons with the teacher you'll be studying with. I didn't do this and really paid for it in spades. Things worked out in the end, because a wonderful teacher came to the school in my second year and I ended up with him, but that first year was miserable. Do it to be sure you're compatible and are inspired by the teacher you'll be studying with. I've heard many other horror stories of students going to a school to major in music and not meeting the teacher until their first lesson -- and being stuck with the teacher from he** for a minimum of one semester. Life is too short and college too expensive for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

After having taken 9 AP courses in high school,

I'm interested in how you managed to do this? The reason I ask is because when I was in high school AP courses couldn't be taken until senior year, which meant that the most you could get is 6 with most people only taking two or three.

cimparent, my comment was about college in general and after further thought probably applies primarily to large public universities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ditto what fubbi2 said. And as a corollary, find like-minded friends.

As you'll soon see, it's amazing what otherwise intelligent people do to themselves. GPAs are harder to budge -- up or down -- once you get a few semesters behind you.

I know learning is more important than grades, but grades are what you'll need to get into grad school, should you want to attend (esp. a good one).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cedar,

I know in our school district here in New York it is possible to take an AP course or two in 10th grade. My son is taking AP Music theory next year (10th). As far as other subjects, I am not sure if AP courses are available that early.

[This message has been edited by rainyann (edited 01-17-2002).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, yes. I was just going to post that I looked through the high school manual and it lists just a couple of AP courses available to 10th grade, Music Theory and European History are among them. The majority are for the last two years of high school. I do think that the most students are not as ambitious as HKV was but some certainly are, especially when scholarships are being sought. I might also point out that HKV went to high school here on Long Island (I think) as does my son so maybe the requirements are different here than elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first year at a university can be wonderful or it can be a nightmare. In my experience, the people who hated college after one year ran into the following problems:

1. They were overwhelmed by the number of students and/or homesick

2. They suddenly found freedom and went a little too wild, paying for it when grades came (after all, depending on the class, the professors don't take attendance, and you have to be mature enough to go to class and to do your assignments on time)

3. They were used to being top of their class in high school, only to go to a school where everyone else was also top. Not everyone can be top in college. In that case, a happy college experience often requires either the sacrifice of a social life to study and maintain top status or the sacrifice of the precious ideal of being the top.

4. They drank too much and found themselves in a horrible situation.

or

5. They had problems with boyfriends or girlfriends or even just friends (happens in high school and in life, this one).

As far as I can tell, these still are the biggest reasons why the freshmen at the university in my town don't do well.

You will learn how to pace yourself, how to have a life and still get good grades, how to make friends with lots of new people in your same circumstances. You'll learn which people are good to have as friends and who are just trouble. You'll learn which professors have reputations as good teachers and which don't. You'll probably take a class or two you end up hating and some you just love.

I loved my first year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got both a BM and an MM, and in playing with LA Opera, the studios, whatever, not one person has asked about my degrees. I could have a PhD in Exercise Physiology and it wouldn't matter as long as I could play. If you want to teach in a University, however, you need to go all the way to Doctorate or PhD, so Masters is just a prerequisite. A Masters can come in handy for free lessons with a great teacher if you happen to be on a full scholarship...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

In college, I took a few music courses but there was nothing I didn't already learn in Juilliard Pre-College. The thing that was different was learning jazz, which I had no preparation for.

I'd like to know more about your jazz experience in college. When I went to music school (back in the middle ages) there was no jazz instruction available.

Was it a required course? How long? How many people in the class? And what instruments did they play? What materials did you use? Could you describe the level of proficiency you attained? Did your jazz studies lead into any ongoing aspect of your musical life?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, an M.M. or M.A. is not crucial for the working musician.However, I agree with Todd French that the colleges ( $ making factory/ institutions)require them of teachers these days.

My father earned his PhD in the 1960s'and says that the M.A. degree in those days was just a consolation price for those denied their PhDs'.

None of the famous master -teachers I studied with had more than a B.M., for that matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My fellow Pardee animal, who just graduated with his Juilliard MM and is now working in Mexico as a professional violinist, said this to me a few weeks ago:

"Nobody down here cares about my Masters from Juilliard or even asks. All they care about is if I can play".

We had a course called "Introduction to Jazz". It basically featured our teacher (a guitar player) playing chords and us trying to play stuff on top. That was the only "formal" jazz course I ever took in college.

In my 2nd year of college, I went in not as a violinist, but as a guitarist. I was studying with that same teacher at the same time. He taught me the physical mechanics of jazz playing as imparted to him by his teacher Johnny Smith (Smith had violin training and that is reflected in his style), but I didn't learn much else. We had mostly horns.

The next year, we got a new jazz professor. He was a pianist, and he had a lot of knowledge about all sorts of music. We played big-band style arrangements weekly in the Jazz Band, and I also played with my friends nearly daily. What was cool about that band is that the big-band style arrangements introduced me to so many different styles of jazz in a presentable and defineable way.

All the time, I was developing my own chord knowledge. Something that really helped was Joe Pass's guitar video in which he says "Everything is major, minor, or dominant to me".

Since college, my focus has been on accumulating more harmonic ability on the guitar. As my guitar teacher said, "I knew you'd have no problem with lines".

Nowadays, the jazz training has shaped my musicianship so drastically that I consider myself a jazz player who plays classical violin.

What's interesting is that the contrapuntal jazz training has steered my tastes toward old classical violin recordings from 100 years ago in which composer-violinists spell out the chords beautifully.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the music students I've seen either quit school or switch majors during or after their first year do so because of music theory. I had a theory assistantship in my Master's work, and tutored theory students while I did my undergrad. I picked up some things I think are worth passing on.

1. Theory is easy.

1a. Theory professors are difficult.

1b. Theory professors are more difficult if they also compose.

2. Learn as much theory as you can before you start. This helps in two ways. First, you will have experienced theory, and you'll know it is easy. Second, that will give you some time while your professor is still covering things you already know to figure out what he does to make theory difficult.

3. Learn some piano. You don't have to be good at it, but being able to pick out notes slowly will be invaluable.

4. Play your harmony exercises on the piano. If you can hear your mistakes and understand why they don't work, you won't make them again. Besides, you want to learn music, not how to draw pretty patterns on lined paper.

5. If you need help, ask your professor. Listen to what they say, and if it helps, great. If it doesn't, ignore it and ask a student who is doing well. Either way, your professor will be more likely to make allowances for you if he has evidence that you're actually trying to learn.

Apart from theory, my first year was difficult because I made two mistakes. My first was to test out of class piano. Since I did that, I had to take private piano lessonse, and ended up practicing piano more than my viola. My other mistake was to let people know I played piano. I ended up accompanying more than was good for my viola playing, though it was good training in practical musicianship and chamber music.

Good luck,

Jason Fruit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...