what backup degree is most applicable to a career in the music industry?

pgm554

Platinum Member
Compsci EE.
IBM used to recruit the music dept when they ran out of bodies in the math dept.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
My suggestion would be teaching, preferably on the community college or higher level.

So much teaching is online now, and many don't work during the summers (festival season for musicians).
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Chiming in to say I fourth the suggestion of going the trade route. A blog I follow is mainly run by attorneys and they've been writing for years about how there are far more law school grads than there are positions for them. Meanwhile, a friend of mine had to get a plumber to come out late one evening...on Thanksgiving. He thought it'd be impossible but a guy was there in an hour. Turns out the plumber—this was in San Diego—was a serious surfer. So while he was a fully certified plumber, he only worked when he wanted, which was exactly opposite of the times most plumbers wanted to work, and volunteered to cover holidays and such. So by working part-time he was able to live exactly the life he wanted. My then 45-year-old friend asked if it was too late for him to learn how to become a plumber.
Considering how difficult it is to find reliable and quality plumbers, I've wondered if it's too late!

Most plumbers I've met have little to no customer service skills, and quite frankly, they don't care, because their phone is ringing 24-7 anyway.

Plumbing has one thing over other trades: Even perfectly good plumbing installations need constant maintenance. Plumbing components simply wear out over time. So there is always a need.

But being a plumber has no direct tie into being a musician, so I left it out.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Seriously, just think about what you actually want to do and major in that. When you inevitably wash out of music because you weren't fully committed, you don't want to be stuck in some field you actually hate, but you thought it would help your music career. Not trying to be harsh, that's just reality. You really can't get into this with one eye on the exit and expect to succeed on any level.
I was thinking this, but I didn't want to be the one to say it. ;)
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
engineering, specifically in computer/electrical.
The problem with these is that they won't put remotely near anyone that you need to network with to make a career out of music. They are not the entertainment sorts. Even if they can grok the modular synth all day long. the thing is these degrees are so tough you probably won't have much left over at the end of the day to make witty conversation with, and anymore they expect 50-80hrs per week in most places, demand is a funny word. There is a reason no-one wants to to it, though these days with work from home there is a glimmer of hope, and recording skills come in handy.

I feel all the degrees suffer the saturation problem these days. Ultimately they are just postponing life, I am definitely thinking about other plans for my kids, though they are likely to get sucked into it given natural aptitude, but if they don't get full rides like me we'll be having a conversation.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I want to get a backup degree. I'm not giving up my dream to make music my career, but I don't want to get a degree in music. I will regret it if I don't at least try and see what it's like to work in the music industry as a drummer. What degree would be most applicable or helpful to me achieving the goal of making a living in music? There would also be the added benefit in the case that I need a day job, I could get something that would pay much better than minimum wage.

I was thinking of getting a bachelor of commerce degree with a specialization in finance but I wanted to know what my options are before I actually apply for any programs. Thanks

Is there any way you can complete a music degree, and then complete another degree, if you decide music isn't for you? I realize that college can be expensive, but with your basic requirements out of the way, you might only need another year or two for that second degree.

I know a guitar player who is really a great player, and can function on a pro level in a variety of styles. He had a lot of experience in bands as a teenager, and also complete a jazz studies degree. After graduating he got a second degree in Electrical Engineering, and now has a well-paying day job. He plays music on the weekends and only takes the gigs he wants. But he's also grateful for his early experience and jazz training, which help him to function at a higher level then the vast majority of engineers/doctors/lawyers who play music as a hobby.

Engineering/CompSci is pretty useful in the music business. I know some musicians who work for music software/hardware companies like Izotope, Universal Audio, etc.

As stated by many, the trades are lucrative and there are a ton of positions open.

Many musicians decide to teach, in order to have a steady source of income in between gigs. So if you wanted to do that, a Music Education degree would be the most useful, because you would be certified to teach in local schools. A master's degree is usually required to teach music a the college level. Teaching privately allows you to have your mornings free to practice and prepare for gigs, so that part is nice. But plenty of great musicians don't have the personality or patience for teaching.

I was thinking of getting a bachelor of commerce degree with a specialization in finance but I wanted to know what my options are before I actually apply for any programs. Thanks

What sort of job would you get? Work for a large company's accounting department?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Degrees are funny. Tons of us have degrees we dont use.

I have a science degree I've never used.

My sister has a nursing degree. She is a 911 operator.

My brother has an aviation mechanic degree. He is the iT guy for the Home Depot home office.

My point here is trying to decide what degree to get is sometimes futile. There are no guarantees in life, including employment in your currently desired field.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
.....But being a plumber has no direct tie into being a musician, so I left it out.

Depends how tangential the definitions are.
Doing plumbing work or flipping burgers while listening to music could be considered music related,
for someone desperate enough to make a connection between the two.

IMO - there is little to no correlation between working as a drummer and any degree.
Also, for someone who's goal is to be a working drummer, there is no substitute - only rationalized compromises.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
IMO - there is little to no correlation between working as a drummer and any degree.
Also, for someone who's goal is to be a working drummer, there is no substitute - only rationalized compromises.

I don't entirely agree. The reality is there are many name drummers who have had or do have side jobs.

Bermuda had said numerous times he had a day job for years despite playing with Al, until he got to the point where he could quit his day job.

Gil Moore sold millions of albums with Triumph, but he morphed into owning a recording studio and PA rental business. But I wouldn't call him a failure as a working drummer.

Nick D'Virgilio has had a great career playing with numerous artists, and yet he works for Sweetwater now.

The list goes on and on.




 

Ransan

Senior Member
I am not a working drummer (no desire/need to) but in my experience both drumming and professional career wise - there is alot of take away from being an accountant.

Besides the obvious, contract review/management would be the prime example.
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Try getting certifyid in welding. In most states they make as much or more then a plumber or a
electrician.
I advise against this unless you are willing to spend the first year to year and a half making little money and getting terrible work while you build experience. Experience is key to getting any good trade work and its difficult to find entry jobs these days.
I have a trained and certified welder who mows greens for me daily, I have a trained and certified airline technician who also mows greens and rough for me daily. Neither can get a job paying more than they make here in their fields as they don't have years of experience.
Also, trade welding consists of either sheetmetal fabrication (duct work) or structural welding. Most other welding is done by computer these days and the former jobs I listed require a lot of field experience.
HVAC training and started with a company making $80k a year. Same thing with plumbers and other electricians.
These are much more advisable trades. In electrical, pay attention to the low voltage circuit building and cabling as these are the most common jobs and they pay very well.
I am a certified commercial HVAC technician, I choose not to work in that field as ladders and I no longer get along.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
You are the only person who can answer this....or even say if a post-secondary degree is needed.

What I can say is that the rigor of low wage in performance overwhelmingly takes people to their fallback...and the splitting of attention frequently reduces the quality of both paths.

I suggest speaking with as many REAL WORLD people about the path you are planning that they have walked...don't rely on cursory forum or university degree sales information.

If you are not content with lower middle to lower wages, I would not suggest pursuing performance as your sole income.

Its far harder than you might think to focus on a non-music performance career that is well paying AND dedicate yourself to a performance career.

I thought I would be able to use my non-music related degree to make a living while pursuing performance but the nature of inflation and ever constricting business profit going to the business holder without scaling to wage of the worker ended that possibility by the time I graduated....leaving debt and fatigue.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I suggest speaking with as many REAL WORLD people about the path you are planning that they have walked...don't rely on cursory forum or university degree sales information.

That's the thing, his (or anyone's) professional career is happening NOW-- why isn't he talking to people already? In a city of any size there will be people making a living in music in some capacity-- he should be participating in what is happening locally, in whatever capacity he can. Doing music in school, looking for chances to meet people, taking lessons, looking for chances to play. This abstract thing of talking about "the music industry" as some remote thing you'll try to "make it" in later is totally wrong.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I would go for field that puts you close to entertainment. Hospitality, you could move to a place where people go to have fun. EG Cruise ship drumming. You're part of the crew during the day but at night. The problem with most places, there is just nothing happening, so you have to go where the business is.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I don't entirely agree. The reality is there are many name drummers who have had or do have side jobs.

Bermuda had said numerous times he had a day job for years despite playing with Al, until he got to the point where he could quit his day job.

Gil Moore sold millions of albums with Triumph, but he morphed into owning a recording studio and PA rental business. But I wouldn't call him a failure as a working drummer.

Nick D'Virgilio has had a great career playing with numerous artists, and yet he works for Sweetwater now.

The list goes on and on.




I think either you misunderstood me, or I didn't make myself clear.
Either way, it's OK.

Drummers I've known have had side jobs or day jobs,
but those were an 'addition' to drumming, not a 'substitute' for drumming.

If someone's goal is to be a drummer,
but they get a degree to get a job that they think will keep them close to the music business,
and then give up the drumming goal if they find the job too demanding,
then to me, that's a rationalized compromise.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Sometimes life happens.

You might still disagree, but maybe that's phrased a little more clearly.
Maybe not. :ROFLMAO:
 
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pgm554

Platinum Member
Part-time teaching or adjunct college instructing is a different story.
And there lies the rub.
I taught a Novell networking class back in the day at a CC,$35/hr.
No bennies.
A lot of colleges use TA's which get a stipend and tuition as pay.
The folks at UC Santa Cruz were barely making poverty wages and struck to get an increase.
I knew a lot of PHD's that were barely getting by.
Colleges use it as a racket.
The folks they give tenure to don't teach,but publish.
Motto at the UC's are publish or perish.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'd say sound engineer-if no musical success the US fed govt hires them-a friend of mine works with them-originally NSA but now in general section. You could also start a recording business also-as my friends has done. So it's a degree with legs. He originally got his degree in jazz bass from a prestigious music college I recollect but then went sound engineer path.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I would say a marketing degree! The business side of the industry is incredibly important, and being able to market yourself or your band is a skill so many talented people lack. I went to school of Graphic Design. At the time I was a student that particular degree was all about advertising and marketing. The internet was still new and Graphic Arts were not yet synonymous with web design. (We still used rulers and pencils).

I never got a job in the design world outside of some trade ads in Modern Drummer and DRUM! Magazines, but my knowledge of marketing from that education has provided me the tools needed to sell myself as a brand. One thing I am always complimented on is that, my ability to sell myself. It's kept my music career from taking huge dips over the last 20 years.
 
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