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Discussion Starter #1
I've been accepted to the University of Toronto Jazz Performance Program (one of 14 people accepted this year) for saxophone. For those who have no clue, its a pretty prestigious program up here. I've also been accepted into the classical piano and applied science in engineering programs.

I've also been accepted to Queen's University in Kingston for engineering and classical piano (theres no jazz) along with a $9,000/year scholarship (this would cover tuition and part of res costs).
The program is still good, but it isn't jazz. If I went there I would be getting myself a private sax teacher and practicing my *** off, while trying to cover the rest of the stuff I have to pile through to get a degree.

Is the money worth it? Getting a degree in engineering to have a back up plan?
I want to be a jazz performer and nothing is going to stop that, so would a university program get me as far as a private tutor and a **** ton of practice?

What to do? Any thoughts?
Give me a hand please!
Cheers
 

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If you want to be a jazz performer, that's an easy choice. If jazz and performance is secondary, take the full ride. I would choose jazz myself, but that's me.
 

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I'd probably go for the money. There are a lot of famous Jazz performers out there that never took a Jazz performance course at a University, and taking that route doesn't preclude your playing all the Jazz you want to, down the road. Also, from what I've seen, a good keyboard player will get a lot more opportunities for gigs than a wind player and there's nothing stopping you from doing both. I don't know your financial situation, but possibly reducing the financial stress may give you more time and/or peace of mind, enabling you to spend more time on your studies and your Jazz.
 

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I'd hate to be in your shoes re making a choice where everything sounds good. But with the benefit of not being involved, I'd go for the money too. You can always do jazz studies once you've got your degree. Best of luck with it.
 

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Speaking from personal experience in a very similar situation (PM me if you want to talk more)..do what you want to do the first time. Don't compromise. You will likely end up in the same spot either way, and if you are committed enough, it WILL work out in the end.
 

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If you want to play jazz full time, don't go to school. Study with a pro at home and network your butt off.

If you want a career, go to school for engineering.
 

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As long as you would like to do the piano/engineering thing, take the scholarship. Then when you get out, you will have less debt, which gives you more choices (as does the piano and engineering background). Ironically, that may make it easier for you to do jazz, even if you need to take a couple years to build up your jazz/sax chops.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You can always do jazz studies once you've got your degree. Best of luck with it.
I've heard that its gets harder as you get older to make an entrance on the jazz scene. Any truth in this?


I'd probably go for the money. There are a lot of famous Jazz performers out there that never took a Jazz performance course at a University, and taking that route doesn't preclude your playing all the Jazz you want to, down the road. Also, from what I've seen, a good keyboard player will get a lot more opportunities for gigs than a wind player and there's nothing stopping you from doing both. I don't know your financial situation, but possibly reducing the financial stress may give you more time and/or peace of mind, enabling you to spend more time on your studies and your Jazz.
The financial aspect, both the scholarship and the dough that engineers make are the only things that are keeping my attention.

I just don't want to end up halfway through a degree with no time to practice and do what I really love in the name of cash.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As long as you would like to do the piano/engineering thing, take the scholarship. Then when you get out, you will have less debt, which gives you more choices (as does the piano and engineering background). Ironically, that may make it easier for you to do jazz, even if you need to take a couple years to build up your jazz/sax chops.
Thats my current argument for it.



I've always said when people asked me what I wanted to be: "A musician with a day job"
Now I'm not too sure. I'm worried that having a "career" wouldn't leave me the time I need to get where I want to go as far as playing.

There's got to be some cats around here waste away the days and play away the nights. Any regrets? Financial security worth it?
 

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If it is only the financial side that is attracting you to engineering, don't do it. Your job (whatever it is) takes up too much of your life to be something that you really don't like. That is different from something that is okay, that you like moderately well, but that is not your passion - that is just life.

You may end up halfway through a degree (or career) and find you need to change direction - that is okay. I don't know about you, but I can't really tell how well I will like something until I actually do it. I can guess, but it is not until you are in the middle of something can you really understand it.

The downside of having a job in the area of your passion is that the inevitable bullsh*t that goes with a job (all of them have it, just in varying degrees and forms) is now also affecting your passion.

Anyway, take your best guess and give it a try. If it does not work, try something else. That is the advantage of being young and (I am guessing) not having a mortgage or kids or lots of debt. Good luck!
 

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I've heard that its gets harder as you get older to make an entrance on the jazz scene. Any truth in this?
That's true of pretty much ANY scene.
 

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Honestly, i think advice one way or the other on this is a bit pointless. Just make a choice and commit to it, i think.

Having said that :): get a degree in engineering and keep playing and learning as much as you can. University is just the beginning. If you're really meant to do music you won't be able to help yourself. Not that that in itself means you would make a success of it.
 

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Hi,

First and most importantly this is really a decision only YOU can take. We are all biased by the ones WE made.

If it is only the financial side that is attracting you to engineering, don't do it. Your job (whatever it is) takes up too much of your life to be something that you really don't like. That is different from something that is okay, that you like moderately well, but that is not your passion - that is just life.
Oh SO true...

In my case, twenty some odd years ago I picked engineering. About five years in I started to regret it. Now I do every single day of my life. I could have succeed or not but at least I'd have tried.

Now I am bound by financial obligations: house, wife, kids

Much easier to do engineering after if it does not work out.

That is my story only you can decide for you.

Good luck


Anyway, take your best guess and give it a try. If it does not work, try something else. That is the advantage of being young and (I am guessing) not having a mortgage or kids or lots of debt. Good luck!
Again +1
 

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In my experience (I am a university teacher and academic counselor), students who are happy with the choice of school and program they have made tend to do well. Toronto is an amazing place to live and to study. I would also suggest that merely having a degree in engineering is not a "back up plan." If you aren't really interested in engineering, and you just go through the paces, you will have a degree, but not a career in engineering.

If you go to U of T and get great marks 1st year, scholarship money will follow.

Good luck!

R.
 

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If you want to play jazz full time, don't go to school. Study with a pro at home and network your butt off.

If you want a career, go to school for engineering.
Sounds great on the surface, but getting into performing is an extremely rocky road. With a degree in Jazz performance, you can assistant teach your way into a masters program and even a doctorate. After that, while you are fighting for the gigs, you can teach at a university level.
 

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i have degrees in art, and science. i learned that to be an artist, i did not need an art degree. i found art school very stifling. i could have learned as much and gained real experience, in the real world from working with older artists. academia is very insular while the world changes fast. that's my advise. you don't need a degree to perform jazz and be a good musician. i think you'll learn a lot and more, by finding a good private teacher and play out with other musicians, seek out mentors. there is also so much educational materials out there for jazz. even itunes u have free university lectures on it. no need to pay a professor a lot of $$ to regurgitate that for you. the degree makes sense if you want to teach or play with the philharmonic, or have a lot of money to burn and not have to work for a living. student loans is a pain in the arrse.

are you into engineering? you must be good at math/science if they gave you a nice scholarship. while in school take advantage of taking courses in as many subjects as you can. you might find new passions.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Let me ask you one question please: Are you going to base your decision on what you read here?
Base the decision, definately not. I'm just curious as to what the masses would do in my position. In the end I know it's up to me, and either way I'll end up where I am supposed to be. Both are just different paths I could take. Either way I know I'll end up in the right place, I'm very strong willed when it comes to my personal happiness.

I'm curious and want to hear the experiences of others, it may slightly influence my decision as I will have gained knowledge (as was the intention with the post) but I would never let anyone else choose my path.
 

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The question you're asking is about money and security. Twenty years from now you may be very accomplished musically but poor. It takes guts to forsake money. You may play music and be wealthy but if not are you ok with that?
 
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