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03 April 2005 @ 08:46 pm
Doubts, etc.  
This quarter I've seriously started to doubt my decision to major in Music.

I'm finding music to be the least enjoyable than I ever have. As of, well, the first week, I'm keeping up and doing well, but I doubt as to whether I'll be able to keep that up.

I'm starting to take up Music classes that have me closely working or just socializing with the other Music majors... and it's amazing how intense they are about music. They LOVE it. They love all the Classical composers and attend operas and orchestral concerts and other recitals for fun. They really see themselves going somewhere with their course of study.

Put bluntly, I'm not any of that. I don't find any of that stimulating. I simply like music because I'm skilled at it. It exercises and expands my skills. I have a great ear, I can compose, I can do things for people with my knowledge of music. Culturally, it's nothing to me.

When you're in college, it's nice to learn and have new experiences, but if you don't think you're preparing yourself for the future, you're lying to yourself. I really wonder if I am, and I wonder if I should be doing something else. College-wise. I mean, I love UCSC, and I do enjoy taking classes that interest me. I don't know.

Any advice, suggestions, would be greatly appreciated.
Starline Xiomara Hodgestarline on April 4th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)
Well, if you didn't do music, what would you want to do?

And don't compare yourself to the other students. If you don't enjoy that stuff, then you don't. But you like making music, and that's what counts.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
Yes, but it almost seems like that mindset is part of the curriculum.

Scratch that, it IS. In a performance-based major, your superiors can tell if you like what you're doing or not.

I don't know what I'd do, and that's the problem. I don't want Music to be my choice simply because I don't have anything else to do.
CreativEcstasycreativecstasy on April 4th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
suppose you're a senior graduating with a music major. now what will you do?

suppose you change majors, what will you do now?

ask yourself these things.

i went through something similar in theatre. i don't know if i can do it in the real world, but i really want to, and the only other thing i would major in is education...which you can't major in here anyway.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 06:36 am (UTC)
Have you been able to answer these questions?
CreativEcstasycreativecstasy on April 4th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
suppose you're a senior graduating with a theatre major. now what will you do?
go look for a job as a professional stage manager. i'm already interning with an equity (theatre union) group this summer, so i'm headed in the right direction.

suppose you change majors, what will you do now?
i would be an elementary school teacher. or possibly high school theatre teacher. the latter is insanely harder to do though. (1 drama teacher per school leads to very few openings)

also, take a quarter off. finish GEs, take interesting classes, do anything BUT music. see how you feel w/o music in your life.

i freaked out this summer when i was doing no theatre. that's how i know i need theatre in my life.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 06:43 am (UTC)
I've been without music for a while. In fact, I blogged (I don't really feel like going back and looking for it) about the number of things I'm good at but the fact that I don't feel that I excel in any one particular field. I ended up choosing music because although I might not always like it the best, I'm the most naturally skilled in it.

And right now I don't feel as if I can answer those questions.

This isn't looking good, is it?
CreativEcstasycreativecstasy on April 4th, 2005 06:45 am (UTC)
not particularly.

could you see yourself doing music at 30 years old? 50 years old?
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC)
Doing music? I could see myself working as a composer. Not that anyone really checks for bachelor's degrees (in singing) when it comes to that.

The performance aspect of the Music major in general is a big turn-off for me.
rtf on April 4th, 2005 06:33 am (UTC)
You could do what I did last quarter and deliberately try to make life hard on yourself; then in the ensuing panic and misery the mind will do overtime to figure out how to resolve this problem. That's literally how it worked for me - I had to get into a crisis to figure out something useful about what I wanted to do.

But the big principle I got out of that experience(that helped me choose Econ as a major) is that college isn't necessarily a sole matter of finding "what you want to do" and sticking to it - although many people manage to deliver on that cliched expectation, plenty of others can't do it. So college is also about keeping your options open so that later on down the line, as you find things you want to do, you can reach them. From that principle I resolved that I would get a degree that would keep my career options open, which Econ does; I could get many kinds of jobs and from there easily move into a particular area I'm interested in. It happens to be particularly flexible, but so are most of the writing-oriented majors.

(Note: reading What Color Is Your Parachute some years ago probably helped me to think in terms of career rather than "degree/job" as it makes a point of showing how one can, over time, transition into a desired field of work a little bit at a time. Good book to flip through in the bookstore if you haven't yet.)

Another thing to consider, thinking of careers, is that oftentimes jobs don't call for an authoritative knowledge of one subject - they need the amount that an amateur knows, enough to get by without special training. So if you get an "easy" degree but back it up with a lot of knowledge of something like a particular industry, you can end up working in that industry by combining the degree with the additional knowledge. The market is always looking for people to fill in such gaps.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, actually I have one of those kinds of jobs right now. :P

The economic situation I'm in right now (a very good one) is what makes me know that my B.A. certainly isn't the end-all of my decisions.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 06:38 am (UTC)
Additionally, this quarter will be hell, academically. Loads of work.

I'm afraid that all this will really accomplish is make me hate Music with a passion.
haley: puddlehome_grownhalo on April 4th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
try not to compare yourself to your classmates. most of your listeners won't and probably aren't even able to.

maybe music isn't rewarding because classes and teachers and classmates don't give you any sense of reward for your work. you don't have to impress the critics to be considered good. maybe you'd be satisfied and find it enjoyable again if you had a different audience who appreciated your work?

of course, if music really does stink and it doesn't work for you, go ahead and find something else to do. there's nothing wrong with pursuing a pleasant major... unless, of course, it's the science of torturing puppies or something.
snof on April 4th, 2005 06:42 am (UTC)
A few thoughts:
  1. You could try talking to an academic advisor. They could, um, advise you... academically... or something.
  2. Do you have any idea at all what kind of career you're interested in? Thinking about that might help you figure out what course of study you should pursue.
  3. You could try taking various intro classes from different departments and see if any of them really interest you.
myriagonalman on April 4th, 2005 06:43 am (UTC)
I'm predictable.
Jeffrey, I pretty much live for Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and all them oldschool homies. When I listen to that stuff, I have really really intense feelings. I've watched other teenagers listen to classical music and none of them ever really seem all that into it. I couldn't understand where they were coming from until I went on SSRIs and stopped having emotions.

I've heard you talk about your lack of emotions before. I recommend you try a supplement to increase your norepinephrine and dopamine like l-tyrosine. There are days when I thought I'd give everything to be emotionally stable like you seem to be and days when I thought I had it really good with my strong emotions. I dunno if messing with pills will work for you, but it might be worth a try.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 06:48 am (UTC)
Re: I'm predictable.
I actually am on medication now to improve my mood. It's a very light medication and it might really need to be increased if I really want to FEEL anything, but as far as I can tell, it isn't working.

Also, what happens when I feel I'm done with these medications? Will my feelings for a certain subject or just my overall emotions go back to normal? What am I supposed to do then?

Also, when you take theory classes for an entire year, you learn that all Bach is doing is adhering to strict formulae. Not entirely encouraging, emotionally.

People can have extreme emotions when they listen to music. See: emo. Yeah, I think these people can be as real as those who get high off classical music. We're bordering on talk about tastes and overall feelings for music... and it gets sketchier from there.
myriagonalman on April 5th, 2005 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: I'm predictable.
They tried to put the formulae into computers to write music and I don't think it ever worked. I know baroque stuff pretty much writes itself, but it's gotta be written through someone.
ミルス。Seven-Colored Puppeteer of B u c u r e s t i.miluda on April 4th, 2005 09:38 am (UTC)
I suggest finding something you could find yourself doing.

If it's only the performance part turning you off, I suggest trying for an Independent major. Talk to your advisor about getting forms and teacher recommendations.
- sketchee on April 4th, 2005 11:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
anchovie2000anchovie2000 on April 4th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
I think my older brother overdosed on his aeronaughtical engineering 5 year B.A. degree from San Luis Obispo (cal poly). He kinda did the opposite you're doing. Got annoyed with the high end engineering, and I think that his last year, he just took a bunch of music classes instead of a bunch of engineering classes. needless to say, he still got his B.A. in aero and now works as a civil engineer. He plays piano like a god, both classical and jazz (but especially jazz).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that many people get sick of what they study. when you see a bunch of the same stuff over and over again, it's normal to be bleh about it. I'm kind of in the same boat as you, not too sure about what I actually want to study, having doubts about whether my choices of what to study may be fields I will actually enjoy working in, but I figure that what I study probably won't be a waste of time either. as long as classes remain somewhat interesting, I'll be happy.

also, I think it's really great that you have a job while at school (at Sun microsystems, no less), it'll help open you up to possible fields of study if you do decide to change your mind. If you don't, at least you'll be able to put your work at Sun down on a resume, which, according to my counselor, could prove more valuable than a degree.

anyways, hope it helps
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on April 4th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
Re: hmmm
It's not that I'm bleh about what I'm studying right now. In fact, I've only been taking Music classes for about a year now. It's that I can't see myself doing anything with my music major and that I think the next two years of Music would be unenjoyable and too much pressure (the Music major is HARD, it's not really at all a piece of cake).

Thanks though, it's always reassuring to think about my past work experience and how that's going to help. It seriously will.

And even with what I'm doing, I'm not really throwing anything away. All I've done, music-wise so far, can count towards a minor.