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telecode 101

Thoughts on Music Education

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Hi, I like this community. So throwing it out there for thoughts and opinions.

One of my kids is a teen in high school -- and a regular teen. gamer, goofing off, and doesn't know what to do with his life. He likes making music and does the bedroom producer thing. Releases some tracks once in  a while.  And here's the dilemma. He has to decide what to study in university. He expressed interest in the music program. To get into the music program, there are the usual high school requirements and there is a theory exam and a performance audition exam. Regardless of if you choose the bachelor of music performance stream or bachelor of music education or composition stream.

My kid did do piano and reached RCM level 6.It took him 4 or 5 years to get there back when he was little and practiced.  The requirements to get in to study music are: RCM level 9 if you do the piano audition and RCM level 6 if you do a percussion audition. Anyone know what sort of stuff RCM level 6 in percussion is about?  What are the chances he will be able to get to pass an RCM level 9 in the next 16 months? Below are audition entrance requirements.

Quote

1) A Prelude & Fugue or two movements of a Suite by J.S. Bach (a 3-Part Invention may be substituted)
2) Two contrasting movements of a Classical Sonata
3) A composition of the Romantic Period

 

The theory exam is:

Quote

• Alto/Bass/Tenor/Treble Clefs
• All major and minor scales; names of degrees of the scale (tonic, supertonic, etc.)
• Time signatures, time values of notes and rests
• Key signatures and accidentals
• Intervals (above & below a given note) and their inversions, including compound intervals and enharmonic equivalents
• Keys in which given intervals may be found
• Keys in which given chords may be found
• Basic musical terms & signs
• Dominant seventh chord & inversions
• Cadences (perfect, plagal & imperfect)
• Transposition of a given melody
• Figured bass symbols for triads and seventh chords

Wife thinks not a chance in hell. I say ,anything is possible. Thoughts?

Edited by telecode 101

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Does your son have a good ear?  If he does I think it is possible but he will have to practice 2-3 hours every day for the next 16 months. 

But he will never know if he doesn't give it try. If he doesn't make it he will be very close I bet and could enter undeclared if a university and try the next year or attend community college and keep working on the list and reapply after 2 years.  The church music director at my old church did that.  Not that he wasn't good but money was really tight so he went to community college first and transfer over to 4 year college with a scholarship he earned.

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1)The  quickest way to get a million dollars as a musician is to start out with two million.

2) He's going to be competing against kids who have been playing and practicing constantly since before they were knee high to a snake.

3) College is so grossly overrated. Most kids would be better off learning a trade instead of getting suckered into the lie (and the bills!) that you have to get a college degree to get a decent job.

Edited by bdickens
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Remind him that those with a college education tend to make more than people who deliver pizza to support their hobby of playing bass. 😁

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1 hour ago, craigb said:

Remind him that those with a college education tend to make more than people who deliver pizza to support their hobby of playing bass. 😁

Ummm ... Maybe....

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9 hours ago, telecode 101 said:

One of my kids is a teen in high school -- and a regular teen. gamer, goofing off, and doesn't know what to do with his life. He likes making music and does the bedroom producer thing. Releases some tracks once in  a while.

 

4 hours ago, bdickens said:

2) He's going to be competing against kids who have been playing and practicing constantly since before they were knee high to a snake.

 

The above don't sound like a good equation. While the level of competitiveness varies between universities/conservatories and programs, the universal truth is that the further you get, more serious the competition becomes.

I'm not familiar with the RCM and I only took a quick glance, but based on that my uneducated opinion is that going from level 6 to level 9 in 18 months is realistically achievable. You don't need good ear to play an instrument (well) - just the physique and memory. Power, stamina, joint mobility, flexibility, flex-extend speed, fine motor skills and sensitivity of touch (to name a few) are far more important than acuity of pitch recognition. Out of all the instruments, this is truest for piano (least for violin).

What is also more important than ear though, is determination, and putting your above description and wife's comment together it doesn't sound like he's determined to pursue this. There's a difference between expressing interest and being hungry, and there's the real danger of being rewarded with disappointment and identity crisis for all the time and energy wasted on pursuing what should have been a fleeting thought.

I would spar with him to see if there's hunger. Ask him open-ended questions like what is it that he wants to accomplish, then be utilitarian and work together to try and see clearly the reality of if and how formal education would align with that. If you find hunger and it seems like the education could have utility for him, then see if you can make him hungrier.

If there's no indication of determination and rationale, and it seems more like one rather arbitrary option out of many possible, chosen under pressure of having come of age and nothing more, then I'd gently reel him back into reality by doing my best to explain why there's no treasure at the end of that rainbow.

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all good comments. thanks for the link. RCM level 6 piano was pretty advanced stuff (to  my ears anyways). i recall him practicing for it years ago. it was not easy.

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I'd encourage him to go for it. Motivation is the key ingredient for success in anything, and rather than letting him worry about the competition, suggest the benefit of being around players who are better than you. If he doesn't get in, or he gets in and finds it's not a good fit for him, he can always change course.

Lots of MBAs play music and can actually afford to indulge their GAS impulses. Heck, Brian May is an astrophysicist. I wanted to be a paleontologist. Your natural path will find you.

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I'm with Bitflipper on this.  Motivation is the most important thing here.  Getting a college degree is big, can be more important to get one than what the course of study is in some cases.  Staying out of dept is also something to consider.  Having a minor in something computer orientated would not hurt.

My parents did not want me to major in music, but that is all I could ever think about. I followed their wishes, got thru college and a BS in Business Marketing by the skin of my teeth and then went out and built a career in music.  I often wonder if i would have been an "A" student if I majored in music.

I really have very little "talent".  Bad timing and a very average ear have plagued my life as a musician.  So I might not have done well in music school, but in the real world I more than made up for short falls because of my desire not to to do anything else.     I have out earned and out produced many with much more talent.

So I vote for whatever motivates a kid...

 

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18 minutes ago, bdickens said:

I say music school no, but music most definitely.

I agree.  It can be an expensive hobby.   You can see there are differences in opinion by age.  These are the last places I would ask for advice.

BTW those requirements seem above the average high school education and more for students who had private instruction or come from private schools.  Those look like basic grad school requirements.

I would also think about community college. Colleges are a monopoly envied only by oil companies.

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Hard to answer this one.

College is very expensive. If he wants to be a teacher, it's a requirement. If he wants to play music for a vocation, the knowledge is important, but not the diploma.

Being a pro musician is not easy. I've done it, but I know many more who tried and failed and now do it part-time with a day-job.

To be a pro musician, one has to be an entertainer and a musical chameleon. As far as sitting in your home studio and becoming a success on the 'net, I know nothing about that. Although I've been called to do sessions in recording studios, I make my living playing live in front of an audience.

If he wants to have a wife and children, tell him the teacher route is probably the best one. I've known a lot of musicians who, working at night, with variable income, ended up divorced with child support payments.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, kitekrazy said:

I agree.  It can be an expensive hobby.   You can see there are differences in opinion by age.  These are the last places I would ask for advice.

BTW those requirements seem above the average high school education and more for students who had private instruction or come from private schools.  Those look like basic grad school requirements.

I would also think about community college. Colleges are a monopoly envied only by oil companies.

the requirements for this thing are are just for entering the undergrad program. either way, i think me and the wife have  come to terms that this ain't gonna happen. it took my kid almost 3 years of practicing to prepare and pass the level 6.  and this was when he was younger and wasn't as big a gamer.

I chatted with a business associate of mine. he has a kid a little older them mine. his was also doing RCM piano over the years and was always ahead in the levels. his son basically ended at level 8. he says the practicing got way too much and his son wanted to get into computer science anyways, so furthest he managed to get was level 8.

 

this is level 9 apparently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z09Z7Kgv4hM&list=PLXymDBcBR9cd2LN3fGMCbNArgFE9SfaQZ

 

 

Edited by telecode 101

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3 hours ago, bdickens said:

I say music school no, but music most definitely.

my take on education is, it tends to give you a more holistic view of things and exposes you to stuff that you would not normally have discovered by stumbling around on your own. plus, it makes to question and read up on your own on things you see in print and media.

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17 minutes ago, bdickens said:

"School" and "Education" are not necessarily the same thing.

So True!

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7 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

Hard to answer this one.

College is very expensive. If he wants to be a teacher, it's a requirement. If he wants to play music for a vocation, the knowledge is important, but not the diploma.

Being a pro musician is not easy. I've done it, but I know many more who tried and failed and now do it part-time with a day-job.

To be a pro musician, one has to be an entertainer and a musical chameleon. As far as sitting in your home studio and becoming a success on the 'net, I know nothing about that. Although I've been called to do sessions in recording studios, I make my living playing live in front of an audience.

If he wants to have a wife and children, tell him the teacher route is probably the best one. I've known a lot of musicians who, working at night, with variable income, ended up divorced with child support payments.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

 It's a horrible option. More people are leaving and less are entering education. People think it has to do with money but I can explain it in 2 simple words - human doormat.

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9 hours ago, kitekrazy said:

 It's a horrible option. More people are leaving and less are entering education. People think it has to do with money but I can explain it in 2 simple words - human doormat.

you are a human doormat anywhere you work. you get treated like shit. all depends how you  accept that. i am in (i guess you could call it big end) IT.. we deal with quasi big shots trying to do big data and ML.. you get treated like a door mat all the time. but it beats fixing iphones .. so i do it do the doormat routine with a smile on my face.

 

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