When students start to think about majoring in music, they may not tell anyone immediately. That’s because modern students have been conditioned to think in terms of choosing majors that stream them into what most consider more traditional vocations.
It’s not that music isn’t a traditional vocation. It’s that it’s viewed with suspicion by parents and educators alike – even music teachers. Parents envision their budding music majors struggling to make ends meet, as they await their big break. It’s clear that a career in the field of music is not to be approached lightly. There’s an element of economic precarity which must be acknowledged.
The trick for educators is to talk realistically with students thinking about majoring in music, without being excessively negative. There’s a balance between realism and support. Remember that the conversations you have with these young people bear much weight, so it’s important that you find that balance.
A toe in the water.
Dreaming about the future is a part of being young. Many of us imagine ourselves in a variety of different careers, but later decide on another, for one reason of another. We may see ourselves as professional musicians, but our temperament or talents may not be the right fit and that’s key.
A teacher’s guidance in the question is always valuable, but students thinking about majoring in music can benefit from sticking their toe in the water. It’s always advisable to test drive a vocation before committing to it.
Majoringinmusic.com is an online resource where students can do exactly that. A wealth of information is offered to assist students in discerning whether music is the right career path for them. Some of that information is about summer workshops to sharpen their skills prior to auditioning at the more than 60 schools in the USA and abroad featured there.
An education in music doesn’t always mean a career in the field. This is comforting for parents unhappy about the choice. Majoringinmusic.com also offers information about double majors and how the skills learned through the study of music might be applied to other vocations, like teaching.
Consultation with parents.
As people engaged in the promotion of musical education, teachers are like ambassadors for the performing arts. Ambassadors don’t just speak on behalf of the jurisdiction or organization they represent. They advocate for mutual understanding.
And that’s a key word in this discussion. Parents concerned about their children choosing to major in music should always be managed sensitively. At the same time, they need to be apprised of the totality of what a career in music offers, considering the child’s aptitudes.
It’s always important to remember that students thinking about majoring in music may have stars in their eyes, but they may have a genuine vocation. That means your support is not only desired, but required. You don’t want to stand in the way of a young Lady GaGa or a budding Beethoven.
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