Berklee anyone?

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Yeah. I wonder about that too. And I'm in TWO unions....
Me too, SAG-AFTRA. Since they combined, my dues went up 2.5x.

Grrrr.... maybe I'll move to Michigan & join the Detroit Symphony!

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
What a diploma or a degree does guarantee is that they player is at least at a minimal technical standard. Hopefully that also equates to a musical standard, based on relatively objective marking criteria.
Hopefully, but judging players in the real world, where the employment is, can be highly-subjective. Except for organized groups, there is often no standard at all. It's all too frequent that highly "trained" players often have no clue how to play with other musicians in common situations. For some, it's simply an elitist perspective. But for others, nobody at the schools told them that, along with their skill must come a measure of restraint when it comes to applying what they've learned. It's the MI grad "taking over the music world" mentality.

Surely you've heard about... The Audition:

He sits at the drums and the band leader says, "Can you play a samba pattern with your bass drum?"

The drummer obliges with a 'boom-da-boom' samba pattern.

The leader then asks, "Can you add a Mozambique cowbell pattern along with with your right hand?"

The drummer thinks, "yeah, I can do that, no problem," and quickly obliges, giving it his best Steve Gadd imitation.

He is then told, "Now add a 2-3 clave with your left foot on hi-hat"

- the drummer struggles a little, but soon gets it happening.

Next he hears, "Now add a cascara pattern on the snare with your left hand."

Years of studying Gary Chester and listening to world music finally come to fruition, and the relieved drummer finds he can play the whole combination of patterns without a problem.

Pleased with himself, he asks the band leader, "So, do I get the job?"

"No," says the bandleader, "that's exactly why we fired the last guy!!"
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
It's that cartoon again, isn't it?

I'm not claiming that most music schools teach working with others. Some do in my experience but not all. That's a huge deal. With playing, so much of it comes down to personality. I like to think that most of the time in professional situations I'm easy to get along with and receptive. I was glad the other day to get a text from one of my band members thanking me for my professionalism after a tough rehearsal.

It's as much about interaction as how you can or can't move your fingers. You might be able to play Rachmaninov 3 as well as anybody else in the room but if the conductor thinks you're an unpleasant person to work with, you won't get hired unless there is an overriding reason to the contrary. This is amplified in small groups or smaller sections. I've seen amateur orchestras getting in a real tizzy over one member of their violin section not playing the game.

As percussionists, we have a lot less of that to deal with in orchestral situations. We're usually in much smaller groups, far enough away from the conductor. I don't play in an orchestra (my lack of sightreading ability has seen to that!) but I've been around them long enough to know how the group dynamics generally work. In my experience, 'showing off' never goes down well unless you're doing it for a joke. Usually you'll find the other players around you are just as good but don't feel the need to show off. Nobody likes a show off.

It's the same as in any job. If you're good, you're good. If you're good but unpleasant, then you won't get called back after the audition.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
With playing, so much of it comes down to personality.... It's as much about interaction as how you can or can't move your fingers. You might be able to play Rachmaninov 3 as well as anybody else in the room but if the conductor thinks you're an unpleasant person to work with, you won't get hired unless there is an overriding reason to the contrary.
A good attitude is a big part of getting and continuing work, but playing Rachmaninov when the conductor asked for Chopsticks is a bigger problem, and one that a lot of grads suffer from. Of course there are overplayers even without going to school, and that's really another topic.

But a lot of the players who come out of music schools tend to be over-educated, and that's why they still have to go through the audition process regardless of having a degree. The hiring artist or producer or MD needs to make sure the person can actually function with other musicians, they can't rely on a degree to tell them if a prospective player is a good fit.

Bermuda
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I'm not sure you can ever be 'over-educated'. I see no issue with somebody being a technically brilliant player and knowing everything they need to or want to know.

I'd say that a lack of taste is actually a symptom of of under-education or musical naïvety. As is a lack of personal skills - it all comes down to experience and education. If all you've ever done is play in an academic environment, then your view on what it's like out there is going to be warped. This kind of education is rarely formalised and it comes from real work.

In my view, the best schooled players are those that went out and played with other musicians outside of the academic environment. It's a large part of musical education that people forget. That will teach you the personal skills and also what is required. Or you just found Dream Theater after studying for a semester, leave and then never learning the taste or personal skills.

Sorry, couldn't help it...
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I'm not sure you can ever be 'over-educated'.
It's used sarcastically, and not unlike the same way an employer tells a job candidate "you're over-qualified" It just means the person knows too much for their own good. Their skills get in their way.

Bermuda
 

bigd

Silver Member
That doesn't mean that a degree is required.

I'm not saying people with degrees don't get gigs. I'm saying they don't get those gig opportunities based solely on the presence of a degree. If ANY of the orchestras advertising themselves to union members required a degree, they wouldn't hesitate to say so. Yet, not one of them did.

I've got an acquaintance in the L.A. Phil percussion section, and I'll ask him 1) if he has a degree in music, 2) what kind, 3) from where, and 4) did it carry any weight in the decision to allow him to audition, or to then hire him.

Bermuda

Just remembered my cousin is a long-time Detroit Symphony member, will ask him as well.
You can go right to the LA Phil website and see that all the percussion section have degrees. Juilliard, UCLA, Cleveland Inst. and the drumset player from a U CAL school.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
You can go right to the LA Phil website and see that all the percussion section have degrees. Juilliard, UCLA, Cleveland Inst. and the drumset player from a U CAL school.
I'm not saying people don't have degrees... I'm saying they don't require them in order to apply or be hired by the orchestras.

Bermuda
 

solomarce1

Junior Member
Berklee it's no longer a jazz school, it's a money making machine, they don't care about the music, or musicians, it has gone Corporation, totally corrupted by the system! :(
 
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