Jazz Studies

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Yeah, that was my initial gripe. People spending so much money - which is why I approached the issue the way I did. I wasn't even so concerned about how I would be treated if I ever got to one of those schools. My argument was simple: if you pay alot of money - then there better be some kind of return for your dollar. Otherwise, you really did go up to the counter to buy a Big Mac, and then threw it away before eating it. Go to Berklee (or in my case, USC) if you must, just know that it may or may not matter.

There are several musicians working here at Disneyland that went to USC - and they're just as a bitter as the guys who went to Cal State Long Beach!
Oh, when were you at SC? I was there in '88-89. I was delighted that they stayed out of my way and let me focus on the drums, and to be around people serious about studying jazz, but I can't say I felt like I learned a whole lot from the program itself. I split after they halved my scholarship (thank you Bush I; or maybe I just wasn't as good as they thought I was when I applied); I sure wasn't going to pay any number of thousands to go there. Again, the people were the most valuable part of the experience. That and John Thomas screaming at me to play more cymbals ("THAT'S exciting!") during my breaks.
 
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Paragraph 1: I got that. Then I said all large competitive enviornments eventually lead to the cutthroat mentality when even a handful resort to low road tactics. Therefore all these higher profile institutions eventually become cutthroat competitive because the actions of even a few cutthroats spread to the entire population.Your original comments pointed directly towards perceived personality flaws you felt were inherent of competitive people who would choose the cutthroat competitive atmosphere over no competition at all, or in my estimation a place even worse, where everyone is equal by virtue of their willing to participate, a climate IMO entirely contrary to good music.
When you said "Who said anything about backstabbing?", I thought that meant you didn't see that to me, and I think to the OP and most people, 'cutthroat is' the same as 'backstabbing'. 'Cutthroat competition' doesn't mean 'a lot of competition' or 'tough competition', it means people will hurt each other to get ahead. You and Bo spent a lot of time discussing low acceptance rates, lots of people showing up for a single spot, and the need to work hard. None of these imply that an educational atmosphere must be cutthroat. I don't mean this as an attack; it's perfectly understandable to misinterpret someone on the Internet. But you seem a bit peeved at me for pointing out that I thought you were misinterpreting the term, so I apologize if I was brusque.

As far as my previous comments, I certainly didn't mean to imply, as you do, that there are only two options: cutthroat competition and no competition at all. I just wanted to point out that some people are overly competitive and can be jerks, and some schools attract those sorts of people. Also, in my experience, a few cutthroats in a school don't always ruin the atmosphere for everyone, and Britt's experience seems to corroborate that.

However, I think the important point is this: when you said that most good jazz schools have a cutthroat atmosphere, I took that to mean that some did not. Now you're saying that all do. I don't mean to nitpick, but that's a significant difference in this context, since most people only attend one school. I apologize if I misinterpreted you, but hopefully you can see where the confusion stemmed from. Perhaps it would help the OP if someone could tell him which schools are more cutthroat than others?

I would also like to point out that, in most cases, only the last school you attended makes much of a difference for name recognition and the like, so waiting until the Master's level to go to a top-notch school (as some have suggested) may be a wise option.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Oh, when were you at SC? I was there in '88-89. I was delighted that they stayed out of my way and let me focus on the drums, and to be around people serious about studying jazz, but I can't say I felt like I learned a whole lot from the program itself. I split after they halved my scholarship (thank you Bush I; or maybe I just wasn't as good as they thought I was when I applied); I sure wasn't going to pay any number of thousands to go there. Again, the people were the most valuable part of the experience. That and John Thomas screaming at me to play more cymbals ("THAT'S exciting!") during my breaks.
I didn't attend USC - I was playing at Mt. San Antonio College under Ashley Alexander and was given the chance to attend USC as a transfer, they promised me a scholarship. After I did the initial audition (at a supermarket converted into rows of those Wenger practice studios), the wait was on...and on....I started getting financial paperwork to fill out in the mail, all the while I was already working as a musician with Disney, and in the end, there was no scholarship and after seeing the amount I'd have to pay per semester, that's when I formulated my attitude about getting something back for what I was about to spend. So I didn't spend it. I went to a state school instead, this was around '89-'90. Definitely kept me from networking with my fellow Disney guys, but as it turns out, I'm ok with it. Like I said, they're pretty bitter.
 

Frost

Silver Member
And just to overstate the obvious, not getting into tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Debt is a no-no if you are going to try your hand at being a pro musician.
So is making money in general depending on what you intend to play.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
So is making money in general depending on what you intend to play.
Not really. There are very wealth classical and jazz musicians, and very poor musicians working in the realm of popular music including metal. It's dependent on a lot of things, and drive is a big part. Luck is a big part. Talent is a big part. You're ability to network and market are big parts. Even if you are a jazz musician working on the fringes, that doesn't mean that you are not going to eventually be able to make a decent living if you work hard and people catch up to what you are doing. :).
 

Frost

Silver Member
Not really. There are very wealth classical and jazz musicians, and very poor musicians working in the realm of popular music including metal. It's dependent on a lot of things, and drive is a big part. Luck is a big part. Talent is a big part. You're ability to network and market are big parts. Even if you are a jazz musician working on the fringes, that doesn't mean that you are not going to eventually be able to make a decent living if you work hard and people catch up to what you are doing. :).
Compared to a regular, less fulfilling line of work, like a trade skill, the chances of breaking even to the kind of yearly income you'd make working 9-5 as a builder is incredibly low.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Compared to a regular, less fulfilling line of work, like a trade skill, the chances of breaking even to the kind of yearly income you'd make working 9-5 as a builder is incredibly low.
That's a good point and the thing is, if you have another trade where you can make good money, you can use that for your music. You can pay top notch musicians to play with you. There is the guy who near me who owns cablevision, a tv company. I think he sold it. He has a band and he's awful; but all the folks playing with him are really good. He can also pay to play just about where ever he wants.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I didn't attend USC - I was playing at Mt. San Antonio College under Ashley Alexander and was given the chance to attend USC as a transfer, they promised me a scholarship. After I did the initial audition (at a supermarket converted into rows of those Wenger practice studios),
Yes! Across from the Shrine on Figueroa- I spent a lot of time there annoying the string players while working out my Elvin stuff. They had that POS drum set with the heavy ride cymbal.

the wait was on...and on....I started getting financial paperwork to fill out in the mail, all the while I was already working as a musician with Disney, and in the end, there was no scholarship and after seeing the amount I'd have to pay per semester, that's when I formulated my attitude about getting something back for what I was about to spend. So I didn't spend it. I went to a state school instead, this was around '89-'90. Definitely kept me from networking with my fellow Disney guys, but as it turns out, I'm ok with it. Like I said, they're pretty bitter.
Too bad it didn't work out, but you made the right choice not to pay a lot of money to go there. I was looking into Northridge or Long Beach if SC fell through. But I wonder if I know any of your Disney people?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
That's a good point and the thing is, if you have another trade where you can make good money, you can use that for your music. You can pay top notch musicians to play with you. There is the guy who near me who owns cablevision, a tv company. I think he sold it. He has a band and he's awful; but all the folks playing with him are really good. He can also pay to play just about where ever he wants.
lol - how odd ... paying people to withstand the pain you inflict. Kinky baybee.
 

Frost

Silver Member
That's a good point and the thing is, if you have another trade where you can make good money, you can use that for your music. You can pay top notch musicians to play with you. There is the guy who near me who owns cablevision, a tv company. I think he sold it. He has a band and he's awful; but all the folks playing with him are really good. He can also pay to play just about where ever he wants.
A trend I've noticed, particularly in the USBM scene is that a lot of artists are getting jobs working in retail music distribution and starting up indie labels on the side. Good examples of this are Neurot and Southern Lord, but that is well and truly off the original topic of the thread.
 
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