Music Week: A Music Career is Not For Everyone

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I'm in the front, rehearsing for the musical "Annie"

I’ve been music lover since I was a child. I think it all started when I was cast as Molly in my local community theater’s production of Annie. I got the part because I was cute and could act as well as a 7 year old can, but I couldn’t sing at all. All my singing solos were given to other orphans because I was that bad.

Despite a lack of natural musical talent, I continued to be involved with music. When I was in the 6th grade, I joined the school band and learned how to play the clarinet. I continued with the band throughout high school.

I really wanted to learn how to sing, so my parents got me private lessons once a week at a local college. In my senior year of high school, I also joined the school choir. It was during this time of my life that I was preparing for college, and I came up with the idea that I would major in music.

I pursued the major and had to audition before I could even start signing up for music classes. Now, I don’t have any fear of speaking publicly, but I do have a fear of singing by myself in front of other people. Despite this fear, I managed to get accepted into the music program. I got an adviser who also gave me private lessons, and I was really excited. But the wind soon went out of my sails when I started my piano class.

This class was mandatory and it was one that I was looking really forward to. I always had wanted to learn how to play the piano. Unfortunately, the teacher assumed that we knew a little about playing the piano, which I didn’t. I quickly  fell behind and ended up dropping the class.

During my year as a music major, I realized one important fact. I did not want to be a teacher, and since that was pretty much the only career path I had since I wasn’t very good, I changed my major.

I was still involved in music throughout my years in college. I was in the woman’s chorus every semester except a few when I had class conflicts. I also was in the band one semester as well, though I’m not sure how I got in because while I was a fair singer, I really was bad on my clarinet.

I don’t regret my year as a music major, though I’m glad I didn’t try and pursue it longer. I ended up with a degree in Broadcasting which I think I was better suited for (though I don’t use that degree much either). I applaud anyone who is a musician for a career, because it is hard and was too hard for me.

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2 thoughts on “Music Week: A Music Career is Not For Everyone

  1. Luckily, you don’t have to be super talented to enjoy music. I have had a similar experience of taking lessons and joining various bands. Ultimately, I came to the realization that I LOVE music, but HATE performing. My love of music is something that no one can take away from me (unlike the joy of performing which can be altered by a bad performance, mean critics, etc.)

  2. Mandy, you make some great points about majoring in music vs. loving music and keeping it in your life but not making it your focus in school and in your career. The application/audition process necessary to even get in to so many schools is now so intense that people who are not prepared for it are turned down before they ever get to the place that you did. The good news for those who do end up majoring in music, but who decide not to pursue a career in it, is that the skills a music major gains are significant and are highly transferable to other fields as well as graduate school. You can see more about this and how to decide whether to major in music in the first place, at

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