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 husband’s fears are not entirely misplaced. The term “starving musician” didn’t come out of nowhere. Neither did “don’t give up your day job.” 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 Francisco’s Masonic Center on Nob Hill. It’s fantastically helpful. Reps come from every conservatory and most of the major colleges and universities. (There’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 “The Performing Arts Major’s College Guide” by Carole J. Everett. She’s the former admissions director of Juilliard, so it’s very East Coast-centric — you’ll want to supplement it with your own research on West Coast schools. But it’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…