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I probably should have done this over two years ago when I started college, but I just don't know what I should major in. People tell me I should choose something I have a passion for. Well, that makes it easy: I should choose to be a music major of some sort. But... after having been in college for two years, is it too late? I feel as though I'll be smothered by others who had the luxury of learning music theory (and how to play their instruments properly) in high school.

Is this a... wise decision? If so... what sort of choices do I have? I've heard of a "music business" major of some sort, which might be something that would work for me. After all, I've always been talented with electronics and computer programs.
 

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Nobody should ever do a music major if they're unsure about it. Only get into music if you know that you'd be miserable doing anything else. Otherwise just enjoy it as a hobby and study and make a living doing something else that you enjoy. That doesn't mean you can't do a music minor, though.
 

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You could be a music technology major.
 

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...that's what I did after I got my Music/Music Ed. degree. I had a whole career from it. It's tougher now than it was then (1983), because electronics are much better/cheaper and therefore more available now.
 

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Choose a profession and work backwards. Find out what job will give you the best overall combination of happiness and financial security. But make sure it's realistic and attainable. Do research to find out how healthy the job market is in that area. Once you have that, then you just major in whatever will will lead most directly to that job.

I agree with littlmanbighorn. I have little interest in anything besides music (unless you count watching sports and surfing the 'net) and just can't imagine myself being happy doing anything else.
 

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Here is my off the wall suggestion!!

I did my undergraduate in life sciences. Later in life, I really am enjoying the artistic side of things. I wish I would have done a degree in music. I think you should do what you enjoy most and then let life fall into place around what you like to do.
 

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I say if you have a passion for music, become a music major. Pretty much as a music major it boils down to whether you'd want to be a teacher or a performer. I guess it depends on the university but when I attended cal state long beach, if you want to go the teaching route in music you'll be required to reach some level of proficiency with all the band instruments. With performance, you'd only have to worry about your primary instrument and piano. The thing is, I believe most schools would be willing to hire you as a teacher whether you have a teaching or performance degree in music.

By the way, I chose business administration as my major. BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE. My reasoning was that I wasn't smart enough to become a scientist or a doctor but anyone with good common sense should be able to handle business. I did fine until I started running into the required math classes. I went to CSULB for 4 years plus a semester and didn't graduate. When I finally got my head straight I went to a community college as a music major for two semesters and got accepted to cal state fullerton. I ended up not going to cal state fullerton. By that time I didn't have the resources to go to school full time. I wasted my opportunity.

I've also realized that when it comes to getting good paying jobs, as long as you have a 4-year degree you're better off than 75% of the work force, regardless of what the degree was for. When I ran into difficulties as a business major, I didn't have the passion for it to try to work through those difficulties. If you choose a major that you've really got the passion for, you'll do much better. Don't think "practical." Think "passion."
 

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Master.America said:
People tell me I should choose something I have a passion for.
No, you should choose something that will allow you to make money. That's what college boils down to these days. It is an incredible investment in capital and to do so without a plan to reap the rewards is a waste of time and resources.
 

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Grumps said:
No, you should choose something that will allow you to make money. That's what college boils down to these days. It is an incredible investment in capital and to do so without a plan to reap the rewards is a waste of time and resources.
ALL 4-year degrees will make you money, although to varying levels, of course. My advice is that unless you're exceptionally smart or just driven beyond belief, to commit yourself to something that you're interested in. Trust me, classes get more difficult and many times when you're racking your brains and not understanding the lessons you'll ask yourself why you're doing all this in the first place. For some people, the money-making incentive is enough, and if that's you, go for it. All I know is that for me, my general lack of interest in the major I chose was part of the reason I didn't finish.
 

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FighterForJC said:
ALL 4-year degrees will make you money, although to varying levels, of course.
I guess ZERO would meet that range of "varying levels", wouldn't it?

Some 4-year degrees are only worthwhile when coupled with advanced degrees or additional credentials.
 

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Do what I did:
Choose a major other than music because you're afraid of not being able to make a living in music. Graduate.
Decide that you can't be happy doing anything other than music and go back for a second bachelor's in music.
Get a MM in performance for the hell of it.
Learn that there really aren't full time music jobs that pay the bills other than teaching which means you don't have time for playing. Go back to school.
Get a second master's in something that will get you a job with free time enabling you to play to your heart's content outside of your 40 hr/week job.
Cost: $80,000.

Or, just major in something that will get you a job the first crack at college and play to your hearts content. Chances are you will have more time in the practice room as a business major than as a music major.
Cost: $20,000.
 

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Dr G said:
I guess ZERO would meet that range of "varying levels", wouldn't it?
That makes for a nice quip but no, that does not include "ZERO." I've stumbled across endless ads where a BA is required and out of those, maybe only 10% required a specific major. Of course if you want to be a physician you can't go into accounting and expect to get a job as a doctor for Kaiser. A 4-yr degree tells the employer, above all things, that you have the commitment and dedication to attain that degree. It speaks of your character more than of your brains. Most if not all of the things pertaining to your job, you'll learn on the job. Employers won't hire you based on your degree with the assumption that you already know everything you need to know for the position they are hiring for.
 

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...or major in something that interests you.

Then go get a job apprenticing for one of the trades--like electrician, or plumber.
 

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The best advice I ever got was to go for some kind of 4-year degree where you get letters to go behind your name. Letters like PE, PG, CIH, PA, CPA, RN or a host of others will help you more than the degree itself.
 

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FighterForJC said:
All I know is that for me, my general lack of interest in the major I chose was part of the reason I didn't finish.
You forgive yourself too easily. Again, college is too expensive not to have a clear plan for maximizing income. It needs to be considered an investment; pure and simple. Show me someone who now goes to college to find themself, and I'll show you someone who isn't paying for it themselves.
 

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One option is to find something you're interested in and do that while taking lessons with someone on the side. University is only one of the options for learning music, and many of us will continue to study with people after we're done school.
If you want to go to University be prepared to practice 4+ hours a day while trying to get a big pile of other things done for classes. If you're not ready to put piles of time in on the horn, then don't do it.
 

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Grumps said:
You forgive yourself too easily. Again, college is too expensive not to have a clear plan for maximizing income. It needs to be considered an investment; pure and simple. Show me someone who now goes to college to find themself, and I'll show you someone who isn't paying for it themselves.
Choosing a major of your passion or interest and having "a clear plan for maximizing income" are not mutually exclusive. Invest in something you know you'll be able to finish. Don't take on something you have zero interest in just because you think it's going to make you more money than another major. Doing something that you don't care for is a bigger obstacle than you might think.
 

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I know plenty of people who make a good living that would tell you that potential income shouldn't be that big of a factor in choosing a profession/major. Many of them would (or already have) be happy to take a pay cut if it meant they could do something they enjoyed. I have a cousin who makes mucho dinero as a lawyer and doesn't like it. She's debating whether to go back to school to get her MBA.

Certainly, there is truth in the saying "if you can be happy doing something other than music, do it" or "only do music if you won't be happy doing anything else". Nobody should try to tell you to do something other than music simply because it pays better. But if there's something else that will make you happy and provide you (and family) with a better lifestyle, do it.
 
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