Colleges? I know this has been done to death!

toddbishop

Platinum Member
But the pitty is that there are no good musicians around my parts, and thats how you get good really,
I'd get to wherever you can live and study cheaply, have a place to practice, and be around serious young players and at least a core of veteran players.

Another good alternative to the massive tuition/debt associated with places like Berklee is the Banff workshop. I keep randomly running into guys from all over the world who are doing stuff, and are connected through that.
 

Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
I'd get to wherever you can live and study cheaply, have a place to practice, and be around serious young players and at least a core of veteran players.

Another good alternative to the massive tuition/debt associated with places like Berklee is the Banff workshop. I keep randomly running into guys from all over the world who are doing stuff, and are connected through that.
I'll check it out Todd, thanks....those are only 2week courses right?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Yes, if you have ambitions of being a professional musician, you need to be pretty single minded about it for at least the better part of your young adulthood. Your value in the tech/education/music-related jobs will be minimal if you haven't made a serious effort at being a musician, as far as I'm concerned. All the other jobs in the world are still going to be there if you decide at age 30 (or 40) that you don't care for the life of an artist.

You'll find your true level of commitment in the next few years. If you're the kind of person who needs to drive a new car, make frequent trips to the mall, and own all the latest consumer crap to feel human, you could probably save yourself a lot of time and heartache by dropping music now and doing something else. I would only get into the "industry" part of the business if it's what you really want to do; if you just fall back on it because you failed as a musician, you're not going to be any good at it, or happy. There are a million careers that pay better and are more satisfying than being a soundman. And keep in mind that you're never more than 1-4 years of training away from something better-paying- people change careers all the time.

Re: where to go to school: a lot of guys do the bulk of their schooling wherever is convenient, and only after they're pretty burning go to places like Berklee for a semester or two to make contacts. You could spend the next five years practicing your ass off, learning as much as you possibly can about music, doing as many of every type of gig that you possibly can, and then go to Berklee when you're 23-25. I wouldn't go to an expensive school for the purpose of getting your stuff together.
You know, somewhere in there I resemble that statement!

But just to set the record straight: No, I don't need the consumer crap to feel human. And no, I did not tell our OP here that he should negate his dreams and learn a specific trade (in this case, being a soundman). In fact, I said that he should pursue his dream if that's what he wants. Let's try not to adopt the impression that anyone is being told what to do, because I'm old enough to know that it's your life.

One of my main reasons for advocating needing the consumer crap to feel human is that when you're in my position, and you marry someone whose health is a little less bullet-proof than when you're 18, I can afford the health insurance to help that person live a normal life. They can go to the dentist, and they can get glasses. I can afford the car insurance that you're required by law to have to be able to transport the family, in my good running cars, to take care of them. They can live in relative peace in their own home without having to share it with another family, or have non-family borders living with us. And there's food in the house to eat, that's also heated in the winter, and cooled in the summer, and also insured so if it burns down, or gets broken into, the inconvenience of replacing it or its contents is relatively small.

I am all for becoming the artist you want to be, in fact, I pursued that relentlessly right out of high school and actually worked alot as a musician. Maybe I was totally lucky because right of high school, I started my career working for Disney. I was initially covered by the Musicians Union, which administers health insurance, and Disney provided the near full-time gig (as long as it lasted - a good 12 years last time I checked).

You'll just have to forgive me for quickly realizing how important the administrative stuff to having a life becomes when every band you play in there gets laid off. You get used to a certain standard of living and you're willing to do whatever you can do to protect it. At least being a mere soundman keeps me working in the entertainment industry. I still hob-knob with my working musician friends and still do gigs.

So what sounds better? Having a career in the entertainment industry (but not necessarily playing drums) where I still work with professional musicians everyday, OR, have a completely unrelated way of making money while insisting on playing drums for the art form? If you ask me, I'd rather hang out with the cutting edge pro musicians, some are even my friends, that help to keep me pointed in the right direction of what the industry requires, rather than working in an unrelated industry where I might meet people who "play (insert instrument here) too" (and I do that too - I'm also a professional portrait photographer and I have a degree in paralegalism - which I only used to get into Disney legal in Burbank for a three months - it didn't work out).

No. I'm not bitter at all about needing the consumer crap to feel human. If I recall, John Bonham worked on construction sites to make ends meet before he was plucked for Led Zeppelin. I have a dear friend who's a great player who works for alot of churches on Sundays that has a successful window-cleaning business that he does Monday through Friday, and he and his wife have a nicer house in a nicer part of the city - I'm not sure he'd take kindly to needing the consumer crap.

I wish you guys all the luck. Pursue relentlessly what you want until you get it. But like all older players here (like you will become), just be prepared if it doesn't happen. That's all I'm sayin'. Especially if you should get married or decide to be involved with someone. My wife is willing to suffer a bit for me to be the "happy artist", but you know what? I refuse to drag her and my family through that pretentious crap (besides, I already did that in my early phase). After a while you're just being selfish. But hey, between 20 and 30, I guess that is the 'selfish' phase. Sooner or later the realization hits. But if you think you can do it, then by all means. This is the path that I took.

OK. Sorry for the rant. Carry on. I ironically love drums and drumming!
 
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toddbishop

Platinum Member
I wish you guys all the luck. Pursue relentlessly what you want until you get it. But like all older players here (like you will become), just be prepared if it doesn't happen. That's all I'm sayin'. Especially if you should get married or decide to be involved with someone. My wife is willing to suffer a bit for me to be the "happy artist", but you know what? I refuse to drag her and my family through that pretentious crap (besides, I already did that in my early phase). After a while you're just being selfish. But hey, between 20 and 30, I guess that is the 'selfish' phase. Sooner or later the realization hits.
Well, I'm 43, also own two cars, am not getting foreclosed on, am supporting an artist partner who is having a harder time of it than me at the moment, making records, getting airplay internationally (it's only jazz radio, but hey, it's better than nothing), touring Europe with my own project for the second year in a row this fall. I'm not especially more gifted than any of the other good/excellent jazz musicians in the pacnw, and have not had any kind of stellar career; I just haven't gotten around to following the good advice of people like you.

I don't judge anyone's career choices, and I wasn't directing my comment at you, regardless; the OP has the right to hear more than one opinion about the subject at hand, and I was giving mine. I'm sorry if that seems like an affront to you. At the same time I'll tell you I was frankly a little put off at your seeming nod and wink at Geoff's disgusting "casino" analogy. Having this superior attitude while you're hustling artists for gratuities is, I don't know, a little offensive? To me, anyway.

Coincidentally, it was an old Disney musician that caused me to give up my long term money gig. The guy was 70-something and had played at Disney in Florida for decades- he kept thinking that one day he was going lose the gig and move on, but never did. Finally when he was pushing 70 the thing ended. That was his career and half his life. He's probably dead now, or will be soon- he was moving pretty slow when I was working with him. I didn't want to end up like that.
 

bigd

Silver Member
Funky,

Also look into SUNY Purchase in Westchester county just north of New York City. I believe John Riley still teacher drumset there.

You've gotten some good advice here but I'll say this if you want to continually work as a pro you have got to play more then drumset. You need to play mallets, timpani and world percussion as well.

My son studies with a college professor who teaches full time as well as fills in for the local major symphony, does paid recordings for the new composers society, played timpani for Aretha Franklin when she came through town last fall, played percussion for the 3 week engagement of Wicked that came to town, gets paid to write the music for the local major drum corps and teaches lessons in his garage studio for $40 an hour a whole 25 feet from his kitchen table. He has a consistent line of paid work. All because he plays it all.


Good luck.

The guys who work steady can do it all.
 

madgolfer

Senior Member
IF...you are absolutely sure the college thing is what you want to do, don't get hung up on names, because the only things that matter are if you are in the right place, know the right people, and that you can play your ass off. No one ever offers you a playing gig by asking "Where did you go to college?"

There's no doubt, you have to go to NYC, LA, or Nashville and network there if you want access to premium artists and opportunities. That means going out and meeting people, most of which you won't find in a school, despite what everyone tells you.

Okay, now that I've said that, my recommendations are:

Leeds College - just "down the road" from where you are.

Berklee College of Music - They have a large price tag, but they also give away a ton of scholarship $$. Go to their website to find their "scholarship tour" dates. Berklee also has an 80+% attrition rate, meaning only 20% of their freshman classes actually go on to graduate. Not everyone there is as dedicated as the school would have you think. (Also, you may develop a strange tendency to mention the school constantly. Almost everyone who has ever attended Berklee talks about Berklee incessantly. Ex: Did you like that beer? Answer: Well, when I was at Berklee...ick.)

William Patterson University - My first choice. Have had numerous friends attend this school and they are all excellent players despite having sucked pathetically before attending.

Julliard - Their jazz program has free tuition if you are admitted (I believe).

The other option you have is looking for a university close by where you want to attend.
In addition to William Patterson, there is Five Towns College and SUNY Purchase.

There is also a small program at the University of Maine - Augusta that is dirt-ass cheap. UMA's jazz program used to be run by Dave Demsey, who is now the head of William Patterson's jazz department. Steve Grover teaches drums there. He played with Dizzy Gillespie, George Garzone, Tim Sessions, Eddie Gomez and Lenny Breau. He also won the Thelonius Monk Jazz Prize in composition (the year before Joshua Redman won it) and has numerous albums under his own name which you can hear on iTunes. He is a drummer/composer/educator of the highest order.

UMaine-Augusta is 3 hours away from Boston and five from New York City. You can catch all the major artists if you drive or see them in person at UMaine, as the department brings them in regularly. Oh...Chuck Winfield (who was the trumpet player in Blood, Sweat and Tears) teaches there too.

Hope this helps.
 

drummerchick435

Silver Member
Belmont University in Nashville, TN is an awesome music school! I'm not a music major, but I'm an entertainment industry studies major there. You can do anything you want: jazz, classical, or commercial music on any instrument! We have Zoro and Chester Thompson on faculty there, and they rock!
 

Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
Thanks for all of the input lads, i really do appreciate it. I get what points you are all making, and all are valid, definatly. Its good to know of your situations and how you got there, some perspective i guess. But I gotta say, i don't think its selfish to go for your dream while your in your 20's or even 30's...at the end of the day you are your own man you know.

I have looked nto a lot of those colleges, and wil look into the others tonight. But now, I am looking into the idea of just taking weeks courses in a good musical city. And try and get a good teacher. Although my parents said they will help a lot THAT would be selfish, and even the left over loan repayments are not ideal. A good idea might be what jojo mayer did. Work my ass of at home ( get a job), save all of the money i can, and try and practice as much as i can, and move to a big city where even of i don't get many gigs at the start, i will have money to fall back on. I already do have a few thousand that could be used well. I have a year or so to mull it over. The odds are that i will apply to many of those colleges anyway just to see do i get a scholarship....but the jury is still out. A lot of research left to do....and practice of course!
 
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