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Oh no, I've done a useless degree.

 
 
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 03:54 pm
Well not entirely... I don't know.

Some of you know me, but for those who don't I've just finished my second year of a Bmus degree in Classical Music from a (reputable) London college.

I've just hit a bit of a hole and I don't know what to do. All my life I've been so motivated with my work. Work work work work work. There's always the next essay, next exam, next project to work for. This year i've worked my ass off, and now have 4.5 months of freedom.
Now it's going to sound spoilt to those of you who would like nothing better than 4.5 months of free time, but I already hate it.
I've got a list of stuff I need to do, and I'm going traveling in August, but I'm just finding it really hard without having structure given to me or without any sense of pressure.
Now, this problem can be dealt with reasonably easily. I can just set a structure myself, get on with everything and shut up whining. Whats worrying me more is that it's a taster of whats to come after next year.

In the practical departments of my course I studied composition, and did well, but It's not something I want to go into. The main areas I've studied (and the only ones I care about) are aesthetics/cultural theory/sociology of music/music history.
I've got no idea what I can actually do with these skills in real life.
I've thought about writing programme notes for some kind of organisation, but have no idea how one would get into that, plus, whats that, like one possible job.

The only thing I REALLY want to do is be a lecturer, or work in adult education. It just seems a very far off and unachievable aim. Currently I have the grades, but It doesn't completely solve the problem of how I'm going to use my degree, because I will have to get a job and work for a bit first.
Also, I'm worried that if I work first I shall forget all my knowledge of my degree and have to re-learn it. I want a job where I can use my knowledge and that makes me think.

I just don't want to come out of education, although I am actually bored of only having to go to college 3 days a week or less. A 9-5 job in education would be the most perfect thing for me to do- it's a full-on time structure, but still with a sense of goal, doing the only thing I care about.

I'm not very good at just relaxing. If I don't have a current 'purpose' I just fall into a hole and get depressed and find it hard to see the value in anything.

Thank you if you got to the end of this and have any form of advice you could possibly give.
pq x
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 04:54 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I'm thinking on it - we are quite different, in that I grew to rebel against the crampedness of work structure after a lot of years, and craved time for, mmm, creative play - changed careers for that reason, that and not having a window in my last lab job. With some more school, I got into a career that had a need for creativity built into it, thus was happy for another couple of decades. But that's not your peak interest, it was just mine.

I guess I want to hear more about why you go into despond without structure, if you can figure that out, or if you have, talk about it. Easy answer, fear of chaos? fear of devolution of some sort, fear of your organized mind changing it's knitting?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 05:01 pm
Have you given any thought to working at a classical music radio station? With your knowledge, you would be a very attractive candidate for them. There are a lot more options these days, too: National Public Radio, commercial radio, satelite radio, internet radio, etc.

Other alternatives would be working for various entertainment venues that feature classical music or agencies that represent classical musicians.

0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 05:01 pm
Question PQ: can you earn a living as a professional musician? BTW the last fricking thing you want to do is be a music agent, let alone some cheesy-cookie-cutter-underpaid radio announcer / music programmer.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 05:15 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Hi Queenie. Just a few comments until I have more time to write something of substance. First of all, for those with a Bachelor's degree in music there are a handful of options outside academia. As you mentioned, there is the possibility of working for an performance organization--writing program notes and giving pre-concert lectures (the two usually go together), public relations work (the area that is most receptive to freshly minted B.A.s and BMus's, in my experience), or some kind of administrative work. You could also do concert reviews for print and/or online publications. You can give private lessons. Like I said, only a handful of possibilities but that is the nature of the field.

Secondly:

Quote:
It doesn't completely solve the problem of how I'm going to use my degree, because I will have to get a job and work for a bit first... I want a job where I can use my knowledge and that makes me think.


You will probably have to be a little flexible on this. The more constraints you put on your job search, the harder it'll be to find one. It's as simple as that. Not everyone gets to do what they love for a living, from Day 1 onward. It's usually something you have to work toward, and if you're really that passionate about it then putting in a few years of unrelated work to build up some savings doesn't strike me as an unreasonable price to pay. Work at a bookstore or a cafe or something. Take a job that won't make you take your work home with you in the evenings so that you'll have time to keep current with your primary interests. It might not be the ideal way to do it, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. When you do head back to academia, you just might find yourself grateful for the opportunity to have seen life outside it.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 05:18 pm
@Shapeless,
Nods with Shapeless.

Not against what BFN is saying - I've known a person on a local NPR/PBS type station who handled the explication of/playing of jazz and classical music, and it was a volunteer job - I don't know how common that is. On the other hand, maybe a volunteer position like that could open other windows.

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 05:20 pm
There is no such thing as a useless degree. It functions much in the way that military service does in a job interview. In both cases, the prospective employee has demonstrated that he or she can make a commitment, and keep it, and do so for years, leading to a desired conclusion. It demonstrates that the applicant has worked to the satisfaction of authorities who have the experience of literally tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of individuals who have previously stayed the course of the educational program (or enlistment). It demonstrates reliability and a willingness to work.

There is no such thing as a useless degree.
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 09:59 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
"aesthetics/cultural theory/sociology of music/music history".

Write. Or at least hone your writing skills. Maybe start a blog, and work on the really good pieces and submit for publication. You can either go for the special interest mags or the academic ones. Publishing credits look good on CVs for aspiring lecturers. And as you know from A2K, nothing tightens up your thinking like writing stuff people are going to read and critique.

Deadlines might even provide the pressure/structure you crave.
lisacox128
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 11:36 pm
@hingehead,
You may be quite right.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 05:00 am
A fellow who has a passion for opera offers classes in opera appreciation through our local community education program. The class is lecture and field trips to performances and offered to adults only. Very high interest, here.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 08:19 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

There is no such thing as a useless degree.

but there is a degree of uselessnes
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 08:23 am
@ossobuco,
Well yes I need creativity too. But it needs to be intense otherwise I get bored.

I don't know exactly why i go into despond. I suppose when I am working towards something, I have sense of purpose, I'm kind of sacrificing the present moment for something in the future. When I haven't got anything, I kind of focus on how the present moment isn't exactly satisfactory.
I don't my mind changing it's knitting, I often try and push for that.
It's easy to learn about something I care about for my course. But when it comes to sitting at home and teaching myself, I feel a various mix of things.
Firstly, I think i'm being a bit naive, I kind of worry that i'm wasting my time and that I won't remember what I'm learning, or that it won't be of any use.
Secondly, I feel a bit abnormal, as in- why am I not out having fun? Surely this isn't a choice activity for a 21 year old. And then I feel guilty for being the way I am and learning being the only thing I care about. I think that might be something to do with living in a house where people like normal things like television and weed. I hate both.

Also, I'm not very good at just 'having fun.' Which sounds stupid, because I am a fun person and my friends find me fun. I just can't do anything in moderation.
For example, last thursday I was still in the quandry I am now. And so decided just to have a weekend of fun- but I just really can't do the nice chilled out version of fun where you just bob along, and ended up going on the weirdest three day adventure through london, and then was ill for two days because I pushed it too hard. It tends to be all or nothing.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 08:50 am
@Chumly,
Chumly wrote:

Question PQ: can you earn a living as a professional musician? BTW the last fricking thing you want to do is be a music agent, let alone some cheesy-cookie-cutter-underpaid radio announcer / music programmer.


Um. No I don't really think I can. I probably could have (maybe at a struggle) but I haven't nurtured any of those gifts nearly enough- i've concentrated much more on musicology.
Plus, practical musicianship isn't exactly what i want to do. Unlike quite a lot of people on my course etc.

But yeah, the jobs you're describing don't sound too amazing either.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 09:52 am
@Shapeless,
Thanks Shapeless. I agree.

Keeping my interests up in my spare time is something I shall definitely pursue. My main worry is that I'll forget everything.
I've forgotten quite a lot of the intricate knowledge from my art foundation degree, but not what really 'struck' me or shaped me as a person. Do you find yourself forgetting stuff?

Technically I wouldn't mind having a random job and studying in my spare time. I just don't know how feasible this idea is.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 09:53 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
I have sense of purpose, I'm kind of sacrificing the present moment for something in the future.


Bingo. Sometimes this means taking a less-than-perfect job until a better opportunity comes along.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 09:56 am
@dadpad,
Don't be despondent, DP . . . we still like you . . .
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 10:01 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
My main worry is that I'll forget everything.


Bah. You won't. You might forget a few things, as anyone would, but not enough to be worth the worry. Especially in a field like music history, what makes your BMus valuable is not that you learned everything but that you have an idea of where to look when it comes time to learn new things.

I can't remember if you were planning to get another degree before trying your hand at lectureships, but if so then you'll have plenty of opportunity to relearn everything. Graduate programs don't expect you to know everything before you step through the door. You just have to know enough to show that you have a sturdy foundation for learning more.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 10:22 am
@Shapeless,
That puts my mind at rest a lot, thanks.

A lot of it is gaining a perspective or 'map' rather than memorising a lot of facts. For example, the other day I heard Eva Hesse was a post-minimalist, and although I don't really know a lot about post-minimalism in art, I could recognise the characteristics and understand this from my music knowledge.
More like generally not being ignorant.

I do plan to do a masters, there's a course that looks like my dream come true- 'Aesthetics and Cultural Theory' but it's at Brighton, which isn't the most amazing university, although an amazing place.

I suppose if the worst comes to the worst, I have a good set of notes I can always re-read.
I mean, say I WAS to lecture in something, I still make lecture notes, etc.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 12:37 am
Hook up with Paul Potts, maybe it could benefit both of you. I like to listen to Broadway type music. Classical puts me to sleep but I enjoyed Paul Potts performance on Britain's Got Talent. Maybe, it is a language issue as it seems all Italian to me. I don't understand Italian.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 04:56 am
@talk72000,
Um....
Don't know where to start in response to that. It's probably best if I just leave it.
 

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