Are there people who switched career to music for the sake of relief ? (rant , seeking advice and your opinions)
By - 0ReiNa
What kind of music do you play and want to play? Music schools are almost entirely devoted to classical music and some to jazz. If you are not into playing classical guitar you'd probably do better paying for a teacher who works in the style you want than paying a whole lot more for a music education that you might not want.
After that, it's really hard to say much. We each have to live our lives and suffer the consequences (and joys) of our decisions. I, too, started out in STEM and was an engineer major in college. I switched to music after two years pretty much out of nowhere (mostly self-taught on classical guitar) and then did that, composition, for another 6 years. I then stopped doing music altogether and worked IT for like 17 years.
And then I decided that my life had been meaningless and I gave up literally everything to pursue composition again. Seven years later and I'm still doing that and just barely getting by (thank god for patrons) but I am so much happier now than I ever have been as an adult.
But that's one story. You have your own story. And you can always change your mind.
I think the big thing now is to make sure music school is really a good fit for you or find one that is. And then also consider just taking the basic college courses to get started. You will definitely want some kind of degree so that you'll have more flexibility in future careers no matter which direction you go so at least get started on that.
Obviously I don't know how things work in Algeria but choosing a path that is flexible always seems like easy advice.
Good luck and try not to let things get you down yet. You are very young and can change directions so much more easily when you're young than when you're old. So try things out and if they don't work, shift to something else and do not regret your decisions.
I am fine with classical music , and the guitare I practice with is a classical one already.
By the way , I know the situation is different here and there : but we don't pay for school in Algeria , it's free by law.
*" I, too, started out in STEM and was an engineer major in college." ,* which engineering domain exactly ? Was it related to music ? Or did you make a complete career change ?
I am very likely to get into a music related **STEM** field a this point in my thoughts...but it's still very unclear if I can handle going to another school than the institute , I really didn't want to give up on it but if I find something that can appease me in **STEM** I will take it.
> I am fine with classical music , and the guitare I practice with is a classical one already.
> By the way , I know the situation is different here and there : but we don't pay for school in Algeria , it's free by law.
That is awesome. School here in the US is so expensive and people end up taking out huge loans that take decades to pay back. I'm fortunate that I am older now and school wasn't as expensive when I was younger.
> which engineering domain exactly ? Was it related to music ? Or did you make a complete career change ?
It was Electrical Engineering and there was absolutely no connection to music. My switch was completely out of nowhere.
> I am very likely to get into a music related STEM field a this point in my thoughts
That seems like a reasonable choice. Hopefully it gives you what you want and still provides enough flexibility should you want to go more into the music side later on.
Good luck with things!
I’m gonna go against the grain with my advice:
1. If you feel that STEM is wrong, then you *must* follow your gut. You’ll have a lot of internal tension if you ignore yourself because the 99% told you to follow the status quo. Sometimes, you just get a vague feeling that the 99% is probably wrong, and sometimes you’re right.
2. You’re obviously very into topics where you can explore and discover all sorts of ideas, where there’s layers of complexity and a higher bar for understanding. This makes STEM and music both decent choices. The main difference is that music allows for *expression* whereas STEM is mainly about *repetition and documentation.*
It's not that I hate **STEM** to see it as "absolutely wrong" because I still like maths and physics and certain things that touch to computers. I don't know why I get this feeling though , it's basically : *"I still like* ***STEM*** *but I hate the fact of learning and pursuing it at university so since I also like music : if I am going to go to a superior studies place I had rather go for the music institute"*
I have always hated going to school but I was forced to go , not that I hated learning *(any kid would go crazy to learn new stuff I bet and I didn't lack that curiosity and enthusiasm as a kid back then)* but I just hated schools *(whenever I think about it , I just can't help but hate my parents for it)* and being forced to go there over 12 years probably made me loathe the idea of getting into one once more and messed me up a bit , but I didn't feel that repulsion towards the institute of music so I got a bit attached to it. I am thinking *"for once that I want to attend to a school maybe I should try it especially that I have few other reasons of different intensities to join it".*
The reason why the title of my post contained "**relief**" in *"Are there people who switched career to music for the sake of relief ?"* is what I mentioned about schools , I don't know if it's considered as a trauma or something but I definitely feel repulsion towards the university that parents want me to attend to ,if anything that feeling of repulsion I can be sure of it.
It's not **STEM** that makes me feel bad , it's the idea of attending a school that doesn't feel "safe" or "special" *(by "safe" I don't mean non-dangerous in the terms of public security , I mean it in the meaning of "comfortable for one's mind" ; but I didn't try it so I can't tell but I don't want to try it as well...I am just sure that if the field of music offered more opportunities for careers I wouldn't hesitate a second to pick the institute that feels safe but I might need to suck it up like these past 12 years even if I don't like it , idk I should think more)*
Even if you like the STEM field itself, if you’re naturally repulsed by the school you’re looking at, you have to listen to your gut.
I also should’ve added a number 3:
3. Even if you pressure music at school, you can still pursue and enjoy STEM topics throughout your life.
4. You don’t have to go to school *at all*. Maybe the status quo of the school system is not for you.
3 advices. 1) Don't do what you like for a living, do what you're good at. 2) everything has the potential to frustrate you if done enough times. No one really loves their job because of that. 3) do not underestimate the security that a traditional job can bring you. You're only 18, you only think you don't care about financial security but believe me, you do. What I would do at 18 is take a whole year to figure myself out and then decide what to do. No one is making you go to school right now. Sometimes what you want to do doesn't even require going to university. And I switched to music because that's the best thing I'm good at
I don't really know what I am good at to be frank. But I know that I like certains topics , I get your point though : doing what one is good at definitely gives more opportunities.
I would like to think more , but thinking more isn't enough : I also need to learn how to think. My personality really doesn't help either in a social level.
*"No one is making you go to school right now."* I really don't want to go to school right now yes.. But if I didn't fill my registration I probably wouldn't be able to do it later on the **STEM** school , I can apply in the music school next year or this year (*the music school allows a highschool-diploma old by one year at most but I don't think the other school does)* , for now I applied to the **STEM** one but I can still switch the music one before end of septembre.
I have been thinking about taking this first year at the **STEM** school to buy me time and think more while exploring what I can do *(at worst I could just skive all the lectures if I can't handle them)* , anyway even if I wanted to pursue on **STEM ,** the exams shouldn't be too difficult at this first year level.
I thought many times if I should take this one-year-sacrifice plan but I kept saying to myself that I will find an answer in one month and here I am lost.
*"What I would do at 18 is take a whole year to figure myself out and then decide what to do."* I feel like I really need to do this yes.
> 1) Don't do what you like for a living, do what you're good at.
u/dorian1356's advice really resonated with me! Of course, if we're lucky, we actually like doing things we're good at. That's how we get good at them, after all!
But that comment resonated with me because I was passionate about music since my early teens, but never felt very good at at. But I was good at drawing, and (eventually) made a career from art (graphic design, cartoons, animation etc). Naturally I enjoyed that, but only up to a point.
Eventually, that work all dried up and I took the plunge into music - specifically teaching. Throughout my art career (and since my teens) I had played in bands, gigging, earning a little money on the side. That money was nowhere near enough to live on, but at least I had enough music in my life to be *satisfying.*
But when a friend asked me to give them guitar lessons, I found I *enjoyed* it. It was tough to start with, but I felt an intuitive ability at it. That persuaded me to take a part-time music teaching course, and now my main living is from teaching music (with just a little gigging and illustration work on the side).
My experience may not be too relevant to yours, but there is a lot to be said for following your passions, provided you also keep your head screwed on: to think about earning a living, while also being as objective as you can about your own skills. With an artistic occupation, like art, music, or writing, it's easy to suffer from imposter syndrome. Even if you love what you do, you feel you're never good enough to actually take the plunge and go professional. And the problem is that sometimes you aren't! Imposter syndrome was what put me off an art career in my 20s (I didn't go pro until my 30s, after a degree course). It also put me off attempting to go pro as a musician. In the former case, I was wrong. In the latter, not so much!
The clue (looking back) is that I never found art *difficult*. I was good at it, and it was *easy.* I only had to try a little harder to get *very* good. With music - and I had plenty of fellow musicians along the way to compare myself to (pro and amateur) - I was good, but it was much harder to get *very* good. It turned out I didn't really love music *enough* to put myself through all the work that getting to a pro standard entailed. Becoming a pro standard artist took very little work at all.
In your case, STEM-related occupations are obviously a much more secure way to earn a living than music-related ones. So if you have STEM skills - if you at least feel *comfortable* with that kind of work, you have a natural affinity with it even if you lack passion for it - that seems like the best career path. You can always pursue your musical passion in your spare time - while looking out for opportunities to divert to that as a career if it seems possible.
Remember that earning a living is about doing something that people will pay you for. What are your most *marketable* skills? What can you do better than most other people?
As a musician, I earned the most money by playing music people wanted to hear - such as in covers bands at weddings and dances. And now I get reasonable fees (not a lot) for teaching people what they want to learn. I would never have earned anything by playing my own compositions! Luckily I enjoyed *entertaining* people - that's actually the greatest musical thrill for me. No one is going to pay to hear me express myself! But they will pay to be entertained - and that's what music is *for*.
IOW, check how that fits your own passion for music. Do other people enjoy listening to you? I mean *really* enjoy it? Enough to ask you to play more, play again? Is it your ambition to be on stage in front of a happy crowd, or to is it to sell albums of your own compositions? If the latter ... man, good luck with that, you're going to need it. :-(
I didn't have a teacher and I still don't have one , I only learned by practicing a lot of times following tabs and reading few articles here and there.
So to reply the second question , i will think of it as *"What, specifically, do you think you will learn from the music institute, that you can't learn from weekly practices ?" :* having teachers will surely be better to guide me especially through all the topics there are to study.
At that institute they teach history (not deeply interested) , theory , singing (I like singing but my voice doesn't seem great and I struggle with singing for unknown reasons), piano + a chosen instrument.
To be honest I didn't decide yet which instrument I want to specialize in because I haven't touched enough and I picked guitare since it was the one that felt better , I would love to learn piano and violin (I would need to pause my guitare learning to focus on those two in that case and that's fine) : I am pretty sure I will love the piano when I try it but I can't be sure about the violin yet (and honestly , the learning path of violin seems intimidating).
it's mainly to get in touch with instruments but also bits of the other topics mentioned above when I sum them together it makes me want to join the institute.
Yeah I used to be a CPA and now Im broke
I am sorry that you're in such a bad situation and I hope you find a way out , I have trouble understanding what you want to convey with you comment though : do you mind precising *(is it related to being in a field that doesn't suit you and causes you unbearable anxiety or maybe an academic degree issue or something else)* ?
Like others are saying, you must explore your own path.
I can give you part of my story though. I grew up taking various music lessons because I was told to, but I was very strongly encouraged to pursue stem for all things serious. In college, I produced and hosted a music radio show and took extra creds in film and loved it all. But I graduated in stem, all the while playing music as a side hobby but nothing more. At this point, I still didn't know what I wanted to do but I realized my stem degree was fairly weak. So I got a masters in it, then got a job.
I found that I didn't like the job or the path I found myself on. It's another side story, but the job and sci edu provided stability and led to insights. So now I am fairly stable and switching jobs to something a little less stable that allows me to pursue my passion.
If I can give some advice it would be to be patient with yourself. Your interests may change, your circumstances will change.
And forget about all that talent and education from childhood bs, but do consider why you care and what you want from your path. Fame and stability? Decide what path you want to pursue and if you find that you aren't enjoying it then switch. Granted, switching isn't easy. But if you want it bad enough then pursuing x would be worth the effort.. right?
There is a veritassium video on luck, I recommend checking it out.
Speak to a career counsellor if you have the chance.
Also, don't forget that it only takes ~10,000 hours or 11 years to master something. You're young enough to enjoy both at different times in your life, and then go on to master several other disciplines.
I was in a very similar boat. 3 years ago I started studying Computer Science at a well regarded University here in Germany. I always like math and stuff, and I was a bit of a computer nerd, so I was really excited about my degree and I thought it was what I wanted to do. But soon I started to realize that CS wasn't the right fit for me, and I lost more and more interest in my degree. During that time I picked up my first guitar and started learning to play, have never played any instrument before. Very soon it was pretty much all I did, instead of studying for university I spent 8-10 hours a day playing guitar. I started to more and more think about switching my major, and after about half a year of deciding what I want to study instead I finally decided on applying for a musical college here in my city. I'm now in my third semester and I don't regret that decision one bit. I enjoy the lectures a lot more, and I have met plenty of very nice people that are just as enthusiastic about music as I am. And as you said, there definetly are ways to make a living with a musical education. You'll probably never earn as much as someone working in the STEM field, but to me personally that's a trade I'm willing to make, if it means I get to spend my time with something I'm really passionate about.
I would encourage you to look into Music Technology: Audio Engineering, Sound Recording, etc. Things like that. There are actual jobs out there in the field and you can do music and your skills that got you this far into STEM will help.
Go talk to an advisor in the music department about this.
Also, since it's not just "trying to be a pop star" your parents will likely be more supportive.
>You're only 18, you only think you don't care about financial security but believe me, you do.
Or rather, you WILL.
You need to trust us on this. Many of us have worked extremely hard our whole lives to become musicians only to have someone who pushes a button and wears a helmet or someone who can't sing without the aid of a vocal effect and big boobs make millions of dollars while we get nothing.
The problem with being a performing musician is there's very little middle ground - you either make it, or you struggle. And only a very very very very small percentage of people make it - and often not because of any musical talent or at least there's something else there that the rest of us don't have.
In other fields like IT, there are MANY levels and there are many more jobs than just "entry level" and CEO - there's a lot of things in between and you can actually advance in your career over time.
I've advanced from playing in bands where I didn't get paid to rehearse and made $100 a gig to not getting paid to rehears and making $120 a gig over the course of 20 years.
I know people who played as a hobby who while they don't have my other musical skills, can play alongside me. They have a "real job" and a nice house, nice cars, pool, man cave full of guitars and amps, home studios, and so on and so on. They show up for a gig with "which guitar will I use tonight" while I show up with my 1 good guitar.
We're both at the same gig and they're going "it doesn't matter what we get paid, I'm just doing it for fun" while I actually am desperate for the money from the gig.
Look I totally get it - I just wasn't really cut out for anything else.
But there were things I was kind of good at - I would have been good in IT, and I would have been good in Music Tech (I am, but I came to it too late).
Don't put all your eggs in the "playing guitar" basket.
Look into Music Technology of some sort - there are a lot of jobs that pay well and you can still do music on the side and have it be a major part of your life, plus your main job does it too.
*"The problem with being a performing musician is there's very little middle ground"* I understand that domains in art are very likely to suffer from that unfortunately.. If I go on the **STEM** path I will definitely study something related to music *(the truth is that before considering studying music I wanted to major in some acoustic physics related topic)* , well I can't lie that there are other domains that got my attention in physics as well but honestly at the current point I want something musical.
I also considered working on creating musical instruments someday *(but not getting too much into it).* Anyway , thanks : I definitely need to check more on the music-tech domain.
Building Instruments, Acoustical Architecture and Design, Making Musical Devices (Hardware, like Guitar Pedals and Effects), Making Musical Software...
Then there are fields like Music Therapy, Music Marketing/Sales/Industry/Business...
There are things to do "in music" without being a "performing musician" or "songwriter" etc.
I want to warn you about something: A lot of people who are good at or have a knack for Science and Math are interested in music. And a lot of them make a huge mistake: they find out about "Music **theory**" and they think that Music Theory is like other Theories in math and science - like "formulas" and they think, "oh, this should be easy because it's just another theory I have to learn" and that's not it all. It actually takes a lot of work and a lot different way of thinking to learn music - music actually has very little to do with Acoustics for example. It's an **art** not a science!
So I see people who are STEM oriented get frustrated.
You - if you're serious about music - you need to take lessons with someone who's already working in the field. Otherwise trying to do it on your own - it's not going to work - that's the same mistake a lot of people make.
Now, some STEM oriented people do pick up on it easily, or do pick up on the less musical but often practical aspects of things and get good enough to enjoy playing, but still get a job that lets them buy 20 guitars rather than being poor.
But for them working in a "music-related" field is the best of both worlds because they make money at a good career, and are around music all day, and still can have fun with it outside of work as well.