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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter #1
I can practice for two hours and play a three hour gig if needed. But I'm wondering if I could physically handle what it takes to get a masters degree?? Why do I want this. I just love the college atmosphere. Almost as much as I love playing for convalescent folks but its a different kind of high. Just wondering.if at 64 could I handle classes, ensembles, and whatever I'd have to practice? K
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Go for it! It may take longer then the 20 year olds but you’ll appreciate it way more. You’ll hopefully inspire some of those whipper snappers as well.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Tony, love your clips of playing. We've come along way since that thing with bootman K
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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What college are you contemplating? I suggest you have an interview with the department head regarding your goals.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Doc, thats the first thing. I think I a masters of jazz performance is offered at Sonoma State and just a plain performance degree is offered at Anguin college by Napa. I have to weigh if I'd need to audition, what the course load would be, how many hours on campus. Etc. All that and what I'd have to give up? I really don't want to lose all the duo and trio gigs I do, the convalescent work, going to the gym an hour a day, gigging with the JJ band. And probably most important the running away for a weekend with the wife. I guess I could look at other avenues like auditing courses, whatever. Part of me would like to do it for the challenge and part says I couldn't stand to play in a concert band or jazz band or academic jazz. I'd have to take much experience and hide it or just swallow it. Maybe I should pick a month. and go to a jazz club every night. Those of you retired will get all this. You want the challenge of something but afraid of all the BS involved. Thanks for your input K
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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I get it very much, Keith. I just retired and gave up my musical network of 20 years. Now I, too, am looking at college - not so much as to get a degree - I have enough of those - but to play in some various ensembles of different genres just to stretch myself.

Enjoy the Quest!
 

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I have a BS in MusicEd, too. Then set out to survive. I'm 69 and the idea of a masters has crossed my mind.

I do a show for a local library called Conversations About Jazz. My last guest was a fine young guitarist who just graduated in jazz performance from U Central Florida. In describing some of the curriculum, he brought up the example of being in a transposing session where various players, using a prscribed set of standard tunes, pulled their key out of a hat and had to play it.

That sounded like the most time consuming and, for some, most daunting activity. Before I left Boston 40 years ago, all you heard was 'Dizzy says you don't know a tune until you can play it in all keys'. Other than that practice, you'll be bringing a lot with you. I've found that many younger players have limited knowledge of standards. Theory classes will codify what you've been playing and those ensembles should be a blast but if you are not killer sight reader, add some practice time on parts alone.

BTW, UCF jazz department is directed by saxophonist Jeff Rupert with an all star faculty/band. I look forward to playing with more of their grads.
 

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"I just love the college atmosphere. Almost as much as I love playing for convalescent folks but its a different kind of high."
I tend to be goal oriented, one might say that the Masters degree is your goal. Wiser people than I have told me to "enjoy the process." Your statement suggests that you would enjoy the process. From the above discussions, it sounds like depending on the school and programs offered etc. that you (as do many working students) may have the options to enjoy "the college atmosphere" while maintaining the other activities that you love.
Plus you can stop if you change your mind, and/or transfer to other schools. How great to have the flexibility to consider doing what you love!
 

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Hey Keith, You should go interview the co ordinator of the program at Sonoma State to get a realistic idea of expectations. I would think you could hang with the ensembles fine, and generally do the work. It is just a matter of if the sacrifices would be to great.
 

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Education is definitely a business. If you've got the $$ and they have the atmosphere to sell, then it's a deal. I wouldn't guarantee that your fellow students will treat you like your just another 20 something, but that's a matter for you to figure out. Masters programs often don't have as much classroom interaction and require specific study into arcane areas with an academic goal. If your goal is to interact in ensembles it may be that there is another route that could satisfy this better. There is obviously no reason for having a Masters in order to convince anyone that you can play. I'd keep your real goal in mind rather than having the piece of paper as an excuse that may not give you what you're looking for.
 

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Education is definitely a business. If you've got the $$ and they have the atmosphere to sell, then it's a deal. I wouldn't guarantee that your fellow students will treat you like your just another 20 something, but that's a matter for you to figure out. Masters programs often don't have as much classroom interaction and require specific study into arcane areas with an academic goal. If your goal is to interact in ensembles it may be that there is another route that could satisfy this better. There is obviously no reason for having a Masters in order to convince anyone that you can play. I'd keep your real goal in mind rather than having the piece of paper as an excuse that may not give you what you're looking for.
I agree. As one of those "lifetime learners" who has garnered several degrees in different areas, I advise against traditional classroom settings at your age. Most College and university programs prepare one to teach. (There are exceptions, but take a look at different schools' curricula). Find a qualified tutor who can teach you what you need/want to know. For what you'd sink into two years of study in a class room, you'd do much better with a tutor. There's also the social aspect. You DON'T want to have to work with teachers who are probably half your age and students who are even younger.

Do some math. Find a REALLY good tutor who can teach you what you want to know/learn, then find a band to practice with. Most of what you will learn, you'll do on your own. You just need someone to point you in the right direction. Look into some of the Berklee books. 40+ years ago, I took a Berklee correspondence course that taught music theory, composition, and improvisation in twenty-five lessons. I accomplished more in six months than I did in two years in an established jazz studies program.

Working with/against the generational gap can be extremely painful, especially if you demonstrate a certain amount of mastery.
 

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Keith you have too many irons in the fire already .

Lotsa unfocused practice material studies - videos you're making where things seems incomplete/unmastered on your end .
I often see talk of boredom in your posts; whether it's practice or listening to some other player's solo, etc.

I don't see you realistically pursuing this latest particular goal. Focus on what you've already got going, which seems like plenty.

All this information without inspiration, perspiration, and dedication is frankly just .. conversation .
 

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I like the idea of meeting with the department(s). I know a couple peers who have degrees and are adjunct assistants to several departments at different schools in the area. It satisfies their need to participate and leverage their skills and education, provides them some networking, and a little scratch.
 

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Using local community college.
Going back to school after retirement.
Taking interesting classes in any field that fit my schedule.
Enjoying the youngsters and the professors, profoundly satisfying experience.
Not degree driven.
Campus and class subject driven.
Access to the gym and the pool and the practice rooms/pianos.
Lot of fun and challenging forms of entertainment.
Good self improvement investment.
Easy to connect with other students interested in music.
 

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Keith you have too many irons in the fire already .

Lotsa unfocused practice material studies - videos you're making where things seems incomplete/unmastered on your end .
I often see talk of boredom in your posts; whether it's practice or listening to some other player's solo, etc.

I don't see you realistically pursuing this latest particular goal. Focus on what you've already got going, which seems like plenty.

All this information without inspiration, perspiration, and dedication is frankly just .. conversation .
That sounds a bit brutal - however, speaking as someone who's been an admissions tutor for a master program (all be it in an engineering program, in my dim and distant past), if someone asked me if they could do the course while not giving up on their other interests or R&R time, I'd be inclined to not admit them (assuming I wasn't stuffing bums-on-seats for money, as many places do do). Being interested and a bit bored will get you through the door for a few weeks... not longer.

What is it to have a masters? It is to have applied yourself in a focused way on both learning high level stuff and applying yourself to a project with a substantial bit of independent research in it... ideally, anyway. If you look at some of roundmindight's threads, that seems to me to be the real deal; someone deep diving into one or two areas and chipping away at detailed questions till some clarity emerges. It's a perfectly good thing for someone to do later in life and it's not unknown for folk to continue their work into PhD level; but it is all about wanting to dedicate a substantial chunk of your personal resources to to a research question - and preferably a question that is an itch you really want to scratch.
 

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I'm currently in a graduate performance program at the University of Maine as a nontraditional student. One thing to consider is that you won't just be working on your playing- there are graduate-level classes you're going to have to take. For example, I had to take form and analysis- a very challenging class- you analyze symphonies and stuff. There are papers to write and lots of reading and studying besides just practicing your horn for juries and recitals. These things are a lot of work and take a lot of time. Remember when you were an undergrad staying late nights at the library? More can be done at home now but it still is quite a commitment in terms of time. If you want to keep your current lifestyle you'll have to do it slow, and you have to really want to learn.

I disagree with the person who said you won't want to work with younger people. I've found them to be great to work with- and there are some talented players. They also benefit from having older students to share their perspectives. Since you're doing it for altruistic reasons you can do it very slow, skip semesters, or even just do part of the program- you wouldn't be a "quitter"- just realistic.
 

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I've found that many younger players have limited knowledge of standards. .
That’s why you never hear younger players quote tunes. The guys they listen to don’t know standards either.
I only hear one quote sometimes, Laura. A younger friend of mine quoted it when we were playing. I asked him he knew the tune, Laura, and he said no. I thought it was funny.
Listen to Joe Henderson, who it seems guys say they’re influenced by, he’ll quote something in almost every chorus.
 

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Why do I want this. I just love the college atmosphere.
Me, too - but I don't need another terminal degree on my transcript. That's why I am looking at what may benefit me at the local community college (ARC). I plan to exercise it as a medium to explore genres and ensembles that are not otherwise as readily available.

Might there be programs in your community college(s) that would be as beneficial to you?
 

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It depends on what you will be using it for. Teaching you have to have a Masters but the pay is the equivalent of a full time 7-11 worker. If you seek knowledge to make you a better performer than find a someone to mentor you.

Even in my bumfuc town jazz musicians here all pitch in to mentor each other through lessons, jam sessions and gigs.
 
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