Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

I recently had a conversation with my professor that got me thinking about my career. The conversation was about college students and the increasing belief that it is the university’s responsibility to make them employable and more competitive in an open job market.
This belief has become so embedded that it has prompted lawsuits. toward universities from disgruntled alumni.

If you search college vlogs on Youtube,
you will find tons of videos of angered college graduates discussing how their college never prepared them for the work force or even encouraging people not to go.

The over looming fear of not being able of compete fairly for jobs heightened when pursuing a career in music. With fewer and fewer advertised job opportunities and more and more very qualified composers and musicians entering the work force, one can find him/her self overwhelmed and frustrated looking for work in their field if they are not equipped enough to compete. This can be even more disconcerting for those who are attending a university or college when most of the “hard to get“and well paid jobs desired by composers do not require a degree.

So here are some questions for you:
Do you feel that it is the university or college’s responsibility to make you more employable, or at least give you the skill sets to compete more for jobs, or do you feel that it is the student’s responsibility to seek out the jobs and skills that university may not provide?

And on that note, when it comes to publishers, do you feel that it is their responsibility to ensure that your music is sold, either through promotion, advertising, or other means?

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Those are pretty good questions.
If I understood correctly:
The "art" of self promotion and getting gigs is quite important for a composer's career. It really is a shame that in today's world, where it is constantly harded to get "out there" and get a fairly well paid jobs, there is no courses/lessons/classes/advices on how to manage yourself in this harsh world, at least from my experience with my uni. It would be really cool if such stuff were present at unis.
Who is responsible? I think both - a student and his uni, but it often turns out the student has to make his way in the artistic world alone... :)

Hope my writing makes any sense. :D

Cheers,
Michal
I went to Berklee College of Music and did a dual major in Performance (saxophone) and Jazz Composition. I won the Quincy Jones Award while there as well as numberous other awards and scholarships. This was 1990-94. I never had a class that tought me how to make a living, how to market myself, nothing. I have always been resentful about that of Berklee, but the rest of the education was really fantastic and I had so many amazing performance experiences as a direct relation to my being in Boston at that time, so I have never actively pursued being upset about it. Besides, the industry has changed so so so much. When I was at Berklee, digital audio was JUST starting to be a viable thing, but mostly we sequenced and synch'ed via SMPTE to tape machines, as was the way of the 80s. ProTools was around for STEREO editing (not multi track lol) and it wasnt until the PowerPC in 93 or 94 that multi track audio became viable. SO major changes in technology and the business is even that much more different. But still, all in all, I would have liked for Berklee to teach me some business basics and give me some creative ideas on how to make a living with my talents. While I have not created any lawsuits against them, I can certainly understand why people would feel they should be able to. It has been a very rocky road of ups and downs in the last 20 years, and it has been a journey of continual compromise of my art into paths which are more commercially viable in order to pay the rent. That steams me also, but who do i sue? society? :-)
Hah Fredrick, by Jingo! I hope that I am not dull or jingoistic, but I sure hope the electronics make up for my non-commercial roots :P

Fredrick zinos said:
Academia is realistic when it claims that its responsibility is discharged when its clients or rather its “students” have measured up to the academic standards required for a diploma of some sort. Academia is unrealistic when it assumes that a diploma from their institution or any other such institution is of such great merit that all you need do is wave the old sheepskin and doors will open.

In this sense it may be that music school and law school have something in common. Both courses of study enable the diligent to pass an exit exam, but neither prepares the student to employ his/her skills in a real-world setting.

I don’t personally know of any music schools or law schools, or engineering schools that claim they would do more than provide students with the ability to acquire a diploma. On the other hand truck driver schools and welding schools promise they will help you find work.

The notion that the diploma confers ability and the assumed ability makes the student attractive to employers is a rumor deliberately and cynically fostered by academia and hungrily consumed by gullible students.

I suspect the leap from academic competence to employability is accomplished only rarely “Shameless self promotion” gets a student further than knowledge of 16th century counterpoint and a clever website is more beneficial than knowing the range of the Eb clarinet.

Your music doesn’t have to be good; it just has to be played.. And whatever you do to cause that to happen furthers your career.

Happily the state of electronics has progressed to the point where even the dullest, most jingoistic and incompetent of writers is able to belch out so much sound that with some luck and the untimely death of a predecessor, some work may come their way.

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