Dear Miss School Manners:
My son is a junior, and he absolutely loves his choir classes. The rest of school, not so great. But his father insists that no one can make a living at music. He wants him to go to a regular university and major in something that pays. Is there a middle ground?
Signed, Worried in Walnut Creek
Dear Worried: Actually, there are many great music-making careers out there, but your husbandâ€™s fears are not entirely misplaced. The term â€śstarving musicianâ€ť didnâ€™t come out of nowhere. Neither did â€śdonâ€™t give up your day job.â€ť That said, yes, talented, passionate, very hard working musicians can make a living with their music, or put together a lifestyle that includes both performing and a day job that helps pay the rent. And yes, when it comes to college paths, there is a middle ground too …
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A university with a strong music department can give your son a well-rounded education as well as the music training he craves. And it will give him a chance to sample some of the other interesting subjects out there, a particularly important consideration if he’s not absolutely sure he wants to be a performing arts major.
So, two suggestions: First, check out the Visual and Performing Arts College Fair on Oct. 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. at San Franciscoâ€™s Masonic Center on Nob Hill. Itâ€™s fantastically helpful. Reps come from every conservatory and most of the major colleges and universities. (Thereâ€™s parking in the basement. Bring cash – they don’t take credit cards we discovered, much to our dismay.)
Second, pick up a copy of â€śThe Performing Arts Majorâ€™s College Guideâ€ť by Carole J. Everett. Sheâ€™s the former admissions director of Juilliard, so itâ€™s very East Coast-centric â€” youâ€™ll want to supplement it with your own research on West Coast schools. But itâ€™s the best guide out there for prospective music, dance and theater majors, and a gold mine of information for anyone facing auditions. Good luck!
Miss School Manners tackles the topic of bullies this Friday…