Check out the first part here if you missed it.
Before college even ended, I was pumping out job applications for teaching gigs at a fairly frequent rate. I had considered the idea of graduate school, but I really felt that there was a lot of good I could begin doing sooner rather than later by just getting out there and spreading the Word of Bird. Not being boastful, but I was definitely one of the top dogs leaving Rowan this past May as far as music education was concerned; I had tapped into a number of different aspects of music education, and there were even things I was able to teach and demonstrate that no one else in my group could even begin to do. Here’s a visual metaphor of my current success in finding a full-time teaching position.
It gets said over and over again in pretty much every field you can think of, but it really is about who you know. Maybe the other guy going for the choir job has choir experience, but you’ve worked with the marching band for the past four years after you got into college and know the principal on a first-name basis. Maybe the other guy interested in this professional world music band actually doubles on flute, marimba, and bagpipes, but you’ve been hanging out with the band leader at the local pub every Tuesday night for the past three months, and he’s professed his eternal friendship to you on more than one drunken occasion.
In fact, this prioritizing of hiring buddies and relatives over hiring skilled educators is one of the major issues going on in the world of academia right now. Unfortunately, real life isn’t always fair or just. As for me, I’ll just have to work that much harder than I already have and hope for a lucky chance encounter. I may even have to do some things for money that I never thought I’d have to…
You Decide the Value of Your Degree
At Rowan, I had the pleasure of studying with Denis DiBlasio, probably one of the best bari sax players out there right now, as well as a monster scat-singer, engaging jazz flutist, and talented composer and arranger. Our lessons, regardless of whether they were improv or arranging, always went in the direction that I was going in. To clarify, the lessons were planned to build upon who I was as an individual and what interested me musically. I would learn as much as I could handle, and I made sure to always take advantage of a living legend wanting to teach me more.
I’m thankful that I put as much time as I did into bettering myself and increasing my knowledge about and passion for music. So many people, more than you’d think, get into school for music and just blow through at a mediocre level, just enough to pass through the program and meet the requirements of the degree (whatever they so happen to be when you’re applying to graduate). You need to be more than that. You need to make yourself unique and interesting, especially in an economy saturated with great musicians and great music educators all struggling for the same small pool of work.
Most importantly, take pride in what you do. You only have one life. Do something you’re passionate about, be the best you that you can be in it, and make it matter.
Jazz Banner: http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/31300000/title-pening-by-Sinn-black-panthers-den-31389927-559-143.jpg
Means of Paying Rent: http://www.tofugu.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/sasebo-burger.jpg
Bleeding Gums Murphy: http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0176/4128/t/2/assets/blog_bleeding-gums-murphy-e1345176200526.jpg