In this episode, Jared shares his experience going through music school twice, and why despite the amount of information they teach music students, they still don't prepare them for success.
What's up gigging pros. It's Jared. And yesterday, I was thinking a lot about the typical life cycle of what happens to musicians who go to music school, and what happens after them. Because this is my cycle, this is my story. And I'm sure many of you share this. And I've also seen this happen over and over to musicians. And it's just so interesting that I thought I would just do a little brainstorming on this podcast about what happens to the typical music school grad. So for for me, you know, I went to music school, because I loved the thrill of performing. You know, I'd been in music groups, I actually started violin in fourth grade, probably like many of you, some of you probably started in third grade or a little earlier with your instrument. I started by taking private lessons, and also by doing orchestra in school, and it's a great experience, you know, it's something that not everybody gets to do. You get to learn an instrument and play music as a group, which that was super cool. I remember like my first orchestra experience was on the school's cafeteria stage, I think they call it the cafetorium. And, you know, keep going with it. And I went, kept taking lessons from the same teacher who was my public school orchestra teacher, and in middle school, took lessons learned the Bach double Violin Concerto, think I learned the second violin part, first violin parts harder. And then you know, you have a chance to perform it in like a recital setting, playing with piano. And that was super fun. And then you stick with it through high school, because you know, you're still really invested in it at this point. And if you have a great teacher, you'll keep sticking with it. They'll give you performance opportunities. Remember, some of my favorites were like going to Six Flags, with the orchestra for music in the parks. And actually, I in eighth grade, I was still in middle school. This was during the George Bush, Jr. Administration, that we got it, the high school orchestra got invited to play at the White House for their Christmas celebration. And my orchestra director, being the amazing person that he is, invited me as an eighth grader, a middle schooler to come along and fill out the second violin section. And that was, to me just the coolest experience of my life. I remember the Secret Service did they inspected all of our instrument cases before to make sure we weren't hiding anything suspicious inside our cases. And the Secret Service agent actually yelled at me because my tie was a little crooked, which as an eighth grader, you know, I don't really know how to tie a tie at that point, I think it was even a clip on. And so you continue with your lessons, and your school music program. And then, for me, the interesting thing was we had a staff change in high school. And we had two new orchestra directors who didn't quite have control of the classroom. So that, unfortunately, caused me to stop playing an orchestra. But then, I did switch to band because at that point, I'd gotten really into Blue Man Group, and drumming, and I was like, I want to be one of them. And so I took private snare drum lessons, because that was already sold on the idea of taking instrumental lessons. So I took snare drum lessons from a guy at Princeton, he was the Princeton percussion professor, which was awesome. And learned how to do that. And by senior year of high school, I played in the marching band for my school, and also switched to Symphonic Band during the day, so I was getting that Concert Band experience, in addition to the marching experience, which we also got to go on some really cool trips. That one, this was my senior year, we got to go on a band trip to Canada. And it was interesting because, you know, all the wind players could bring their instruments but the percussion players that didn't, you know, want to import bass drum from us into Canada. So we wound up renting and that was my first experience, playing on a different instrument and learning how that goes. And I'm kind of going a little deep on this. Just because it was such a vivid experience and all of these experiences and playing with with people and playing in cool venues like churches in Canada, contributed towards me, feeling this passion towards performance. And by senior year of high school, I didn't really know what I wanted to go to college. I was one of those who was undecided. But I knew that I loved music. I loved the community aspect of it, I loved that you could get really good at it. Like I'm very driven by mastery of something, even though I hate practicing, which is kind of ironic. So I went to college undecided, but eventually, I was taking all these music classes, and being in band being in percussion ensemble, and somebody convinced me You should get a music degree. And I agreed with them. So I took the audition got into the percussion studio at Penn State for a music education degree. And, you know, I don't know why I chose music education, I think I chose it because I had switched my primary instrument from violin to percussion pretty late in the game. And I wasn't confident enough to get a performance degree, even though truth be told, that's probably what I wanted. I wanted to perform that was why I was going to get a music degree. But also, I don't think I was thinking that far ahead. I think I just wanted to play. In the very moment of college I wanted to be in the high level bands, I wanted to take lessons and be surrounded by music all the time. And so I did the thing. I did very well, you know, I got very high grades and like theory, classes, music history, I loved all that stuff. Music education classes came wasn't as into those. I really enjoyed secondary instrument classes. I'm sure many of you also gravitated towards them. Like, to me learning saxophone was so much fun. Learning trumpet was fun, because later on when I taught elementary school music, and the kids, they would just have so much fun making random noises on the instrument. When I was in college, that was me, I was a kid all over again, learning a new instrument. And the thrill of it was so exciting. And there's actually a picture of me on facebook when I mean clarinet methods classes, using the different parts of a clarinet as binoculars, which is so silly. But music is so fun. And then, you know, you take more of these music ed classes, you start to learn things that maybe you didn't think you signed up for. And then you realize, like you're getting deep involved in this music Ed process, you have to get certified, you have to get fingerprinted, the FBI, background checks and everything. And now all of a sudden, you're student teaching, you're thrown into this teaching environment, where kids are now relying on you to be their role model, their musical leader, the one who essentially gives them the same start that you got when you started in third or fourth grade, or whenever that music teacher touched your life. And then teaching becomes your main thing. You perform less, you know, as soon as I left main campus to go and student teach. All of a sudden, I wasn't involved in ensembles anymore. And I was so grateful that the high school that I student taught for they needed a violinist for their, their musical pit. And they asked me to play. So I got to play with some of the students I was teaching that was so much fun. A lot of memories coming back now. So teaching becomes the main thing, then you graduate and you apply for teaching jobs. And you know, I was applying back in New Jersey, because that's where I grew up. And the application game is a big deal because you're it's kind of like auditions, you're traveling across the country or the state and meeting with school principals and administrators who they're obviously impressed by musicianship. But that's not what they care about. They care more about your ability to, you know, teach students and understand a curriculum and accomplish their student learning objectives. And then you get a job as a teacher, and that becomes your life. And so this identity of the performer starts to diminish and go away and you lose it. It's almost it's still there, like, but it's hidden behind all of this other things like responsibilities and paying off your student loans. And you lose sight of why did I go to music school in the first place, which was to perform and be surrounded by a community of top level achievers. And for many people, that's when they start to give up that dream. Even if you're not a music educator, music teacher, you know, this still happens. This happens often, more often with performance majors, where so many performance majors are not winning auditions to play in symphonies or musical theater pits. There's, I have a friend recently who he just got a job as a bank teller. And he's still taking auditions here and there. But I could see like, the frustration and the annoyance, like we've invested so much money in these very expensive pieces of paper that say, we can play an instrument really well. But we don't get to use them. And so you start to lose faith in the system. And you realize that you're not going to get to accomplish those dreams. But for me, that's when I, you know, this is where my story of starting dream city music comes in. Because I realized this was gonna happen to me, I was going to be just another statistic. And I needed to change that, not by taking more auditions, but in fact, by taking fewer of them, and instead, learning to create my own opportunities. And I had always been wanting to do that. But I realized that they don't teach that in music school. So that's why I dove deep into this thing. And I don't know, the my challenge to you, is, if any part of that story felt like your story. And you are losing sight of why you got into this thing in the first place, or, you know, your original passion or the thing that you really want seems out of reach, I want you to get back on that path. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your younger self, to keep pursuing that thing. And realize that it might not always happen the way that you thought it would you know, your teachers showed you a certain path that worked for them, but it might not work for you. In fact, for most musicians, it doesn't work for you. So you have to try something else. Don't just give up completely. Get back on that horse. And keep trying things, try new things and dive deep into them. Don't just, you know, pick up, read an article and send off an email and it doesn't work and then give up. Now that's not trying it that's pretending that you tried go deep on something, whether you pick me and gigging secrets as that opportunity, or if you try something else, doesn't matter. Keep trying, you owe it to yourself. You owe it to anyone who's ever believed in you, because they still do believe in you. But they don't see you trying they don't see you taking action on it. They see that you are, you know in a job that doesn't fulfill your artistic desires and isn't why you got into music in the first place. So I challenge you to get back on that horse. Try something new. And if there's any way that I can help, I would be happy to be a part of that journey. So at this point I always mentioned we're offering a free copy of gigging secrets, the book the underground playbook to making a living as a performer. You can get your free copy today at gigging secrets calm. I've been shipping out tons of these about five a day so far and it's increasing. And I'm super, super excited to give these out because that is my new opportunity, the new way that you don't have to rely on the ways that your teachers taught you that don't work. So get your free copy at gigging secrets calm and remember you are just one gig away.