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I'm a science/maths geek - daughter wants to do music and art at uni...

(26 Posts)
NoLongerJustAShopGirl Thu 27-Nov-14 13:53:42


I'm not even sure what it is I want to ask... DD had her pre-options review at school - Y9 and came home saying there were lots of degrees where she could take art and music together and was looking at music teaching or journalism as well as sculpting and piano/keyboard playing as her future... me and her dad are both educated in maths and work in computing.

I just don't know how to support her, what we should be doing/looking at... are her aspirations realistic even. It is sooooooo outside my comfort zone that I do not easily see which career choices could come from her interests/abilities I guess.

Does anybody else have a child whose educational direction is so different to theirs? How is it working out?

TeenAndTween Thu 27-Nov-14 14:11:49

Well, DH and I are science based.

DD1 (y11) likes English, History, Drama and Languages. We are learning loads from her interests and going places we wouldn't have thought of going to before.

What I would say is don't let her narrow down her choices too much by her options choices. So let her do Art and Music GCSEs, but make sure that if she is able, her other options are solid academic ones. Especially journalism needs a strong writing style.

I take it she is v. good at music? What grade is she at?

NoLongerJustAShopGirl Thu 27-Nov-14 14:36:35

Exam wise she has taken her grade 4 (piano), grade 5 theory- but is playing a much higher standard, probably grade 6 distinction level according to her music teacher (and piano teacher) just not got round to exams yet, she has really ramped up this summer- also plays other instruments - guitar, viola, cello, flute, recorder, sings in choir too- but more for recreation.

Art is her big love of the moment - sculpting in particular - both art and music teachers put her as top student in her year - which makes me very proud - but also anxious as to what direction we can give...

she has to do maths, 2 English, 2 science, 0.5 RE - other "options" 4 from - music/art/history/geography/geology/drama/computer studies/media studies/German/French/Spanish/DT/PE etc etc...

German/Music/Art + one other so far in the list..

TeenAndTween Thu 27-Nov-14 14:55:37

Well of the others all things being equal I would say go for history or geography. Nice solid subjects, essay based (at least history is, presume geography also?). Then she qualifies for 'ebacc' and isn't cutting out anything much for A level (apart from the languages she doesn't do).

NoLongerJustAShopGirl Thu 27-Nov-14 15:08:32

That makes a great deal of sense... something essay based would be good - and as you say it keeps options open for the future too..

many thanks!

clary Fri 28-Nov-14 00:51:05

Yes I agree, those options plus history/geography sound great.

Art GCSE is a lot of work but if she loves it then it will just be fun! Her music sounds amazing, Music GCSE is deffo seen as an academic and demanding subject, and with these other choices plus her core subjects she will be getting a good range which any uni would be happy with, even if she changes her mind about music and art.

Don't worry about the difference from you and DH - it will be an education smile

hellsbells99 Fri 28-Nov-14 01:31:27

We had this with DD1. I talked her into taking triple science as well as her choices of music and art. After 2 years of mind numbing, repetitive Gcse art and lots of music composition, she ended up choosing maths and sciences for AS level. Try and keep as many options open as possible as things change a lot in 2 years.

unitarian Fri 28-Nov-14 01:52:33

Agree on keeping options open and wide as long as possible.

I had the opposite problem. DH and I have arts backgrounds but DD was dead set on medicine. It was a very steep learning curve as we had no previous knowledge of the profession to draw on. The Student Room was a good starting point for investigation of university courses and requirements.

DD is studying at a place where she has been able to pursue her musical 'other' life very happily.

Rummikub Fri 28-Nov-14 02:10:38

History is the better option from the list for journalism. And keeps her options open.

PeaStalks Sat 29-Nov-14 13:56:01

I understand how you feel. DH is science / geeky and both DC are. My home life is immersed in Maths and Science.
My instinct would be to suggest keeping music and Art as hobbies. I know lots of unemployed music graduates.

NoLongerJustAShopGirl Sat 29-Nov-14 15:44:11

trouble is that is my instinct too - but if I'd been stopped from following the maths/science route I think I would have rebelled, left home and hated my parents forever....

Being from the field, I also know quite a few unemployed/underemployed Maths graduates...

PastSellByDate Thu 04-Dec-14 15:00:41

My kids are still very young (DD1 Y7/ DD2 Y5) but our nieces are in their 20s.

B-I-L is a medical professor and highly successful. Niece 1 went to OXFORD (to please B-I-L I suspect) gained a 1st in ARTS subject and passed her masters with distinction in same subject. She went on to work in related area for 3-4 years and then suddenly decided 'I hate this'. In fact what Niece 1 was good at was art. We have several of her wood cuts hanging at home - their gorgeous.

She's returned to art after nearly a decade and suddenly found she's very happy. Oddly enough this was exactly what happened to S-I-L - only she went from running a hospital lab to marrying and having 3 children almost instantly. Then discovered she loved being at home and doing crafts. She's now happily engaged in that - although the children have all grown and flown the nest.

It isn't just about money. It is also about happiness, pleasure, satisfaction and interest in one's work.


Pico2 Thu 04-Dec-14 17:19:51

I found that Art GCSE was the same amount if work as my other GCSEs put together, so I'd let her go for that and see the commitment required.

Out of fine art and music at degree level, I'd encourage music. It can be very academic and theoretical and I've come across music graduates on standard graduate trainee courses, so it can be used like any non-vocational degree (like history).

Pursuing a career in music seems hard to me. Friends who are doing it either teach or live a very anti-social existence with lots of concerts in the evenings and far flung locations.

The Art graduates I know who make a living from Art are all teachers.

MidniteScribbler Sat 06-Dec-14 08:56:35

Support her in pursuing her passions. She seems like she has a sensible head on her shoulders, and it doesn't seem like she has illusions of being the next Miley Cyrus. Wanting to pursue music, but having a backup plan seems sensible to me.

I wasn't a Maths/Science person at all at school. I only did Maths (and only what we called 'Maths in Society) at senior secondary level (Australia, so no GCSEs), and no science subjects. I'm a primary school teacher with a Masters in Education and almost finished my PhD. Not doing maths/science certainly hasn't held me back at all and is not the be all and end all.

Theas18 Tue 09-Dec-14 12:31:06

Support her and make sure she's set up with the skills to take her far. School seem to be doing a good job already. Just stay away from the offhand comments and try to steer grandparents etc away from them too. It's easy to diss arts subjects ( my favourite is " Music.... why take music , you could have continued a real subject like maths to go with your sciences" from and un named " friend" of mine to DS.)

DH and I are science based. Eldest is doing MA in ancient history.

The hardest thing is knowing your child is almost certainly never going to have a financially easy ride in the arts. We have said that too her . DS is doing a science based degree which could lead to lots of things but easily to a research job in medicine/pharmaceutical industry in an exploding field. He's always going to have a range of options and likely get reasonably well paid.

Surreyblah Tue 09-Dec-14 13:19:29

She might want to investigate careers in the creative industries. Some want maths or physics alongside arts or design.

Poisonwoodlife Tue 09-Dec-14 13:54:16

I am a History geek and my DD is a Science / Maths geek. Obviously the Maths / Science knowledge left me behind at 16 but I still haven't found it hard to support her. Enthusiasm for your subject, the satisfaction of learning and accomplishment, and Philosophy about our very being are common to all subjects are they not? These days in her Natural Sciences course at a top uni she has to learn about the History, Philosophy, and especially Ethics, and, to her horror, she has had to write essays again. In the process I have learnt loads including how Scientific method can be demonstrated to be open to the same problems of human subjectivity. Think about it, is Science short of female Scientists because of direct gender discrimination or because scientific thinking and paradigms are inherently gender biased? I have learnt a lot, had a lot of my stereotypical views about Science undermined. Honestly embrace it, I am sure you will find it will open your mind......

MillyMollyMama Tue 09-Dec-14 16:26:47

The main thing, at GCSE, is to keep options open and allow for changes of mind regarding degrees later. The school are slightly wrong for talking about degrees at this stage because no-one should specialise in GCSEs and not achieve a balanced group of subjects. In addition to her compulsory list she should include an MFL, a humanity and an art plus another subject she likes and is good at. In her case, Art or Music. In similar circumstances my DD chose another language as this was her strong subject area. I don't know anything about a combined arts degree that you seem to be suggesting in your original post, (did she really mean art and music? This sounds jack of all trades to me) but you have several years to get a better handle on what she really wants to do and the best way to do it.

Most of our top journalists, did not do Journalism at university by the way. They did academic subjects and then went into journalism.

Poisonwoodlife Tue 09-Dec-14 16:47:50

not longer my DDs have friends who kept up their art, music and sometimes drama as well, right through A2, and that was at a very selective academic selective London indie where most do actually go down the Science route. They are now graduating, some from degrees at good unis, some from Drama or Art School into jobs in the media, arts, even the stage, however they had both talent and commitment. It's a tough one really since these Schools do recruit pupils with exceptional talent (and you do need talent, for Music especially, it isn't an easy option at all) but you wonder how they will fare when there are so many others but I think the key is that they get sound advice and then make their own decisions, and if that is risky and competitive, so be it, they know what they are getting into.

Ferguson Tue 09-Dec-14 18:28:51

It is her future, so surely she should be able to choose?

But surely it will be ESSENTIAL to have good English, and ideally Maths and a science for most University subjects.

And what ever she does in the way of exams and qualifications, she can always keep up with music and art, outside of the formal subjects, and concentrate on arts as and when time permits.

Even what degree you do doesn't 'fix' the career path for some people. My brother did marine biology, but ended up in blood bank research, which led on to forensic science.

Our DS got a good computer science degree, and worked in good IT jobs. But now returned to studying, getting a Master's in meteorology, and has recently started a three year PhD in it.

He also had Grade 8 Distinction, and plays alto sax, bass guitar, and keyboards.

brokenhearted55a Wed 31-Dec-14 11:20:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BarbarianMum Fri 02-Jan-15 00:03:04

Better someone with a passion for what they do (however competitive the field) than someone whose unenthusiastically persuing a career chosen for them by their mum.

nooka Fri 02-Jan-15 00:23:39

My dd wants to be a writer and is very arty (creative and an actor). We've talked about making sure she has plenty of options, and at 14 that's not really an issue. I'm not that comfortable with her taking a pure arts degree when her time comes (probably creative writing), but she has also done some thinking about other things she can do with her skill set so I am not too worried. Plus she's only 14 so a lot might change.

We have several people in the family that took academic paths to make their parents happy, and it didn't work out very well. I won't be telling her that her passion in life should be just a hobby, as that seems very dismissive, but obviously we want her to be realistic and not to lead to huge disappointment.

For now that's about making sure that she's not shutting options down. The OP dd's choices look just fine for that.

GutsyMcMuffin Fri 02-Jan-15 00:57:18

I really don't understand why people are saying they'd be reluctant for their child to do an art degree. You have just as many opportunities with an art degree as you do with science etc. A lot of my friends did art degrees all are working and many earning six figure salaries. There are lots of creative avenues, it's not all starving in a garratt you know.

We are an arts type family, dd1 is likely to do art and design at Uni although that's a couple of years away, so things might change, dd2 is showing signs of going the same way. However Ds is not arty at all, loves maths, science, IT - not my world but I'll just have to do lots of research when he gets older to help him.

Cleebourg Sat 03-Jan-15 11:33:17

OP: "I just don't know how to support her, what we should be doing/looking at... are her aspirations realistic even."
"Does anybody else have a child whose educational direction is so different to theirs? How is it working out?"

To add to the positive replies to your questions: yes and very well: Parents (us) science educated and working in that area, DCs pursued arts degrees. Both working, although one switched from arts to sciences, and the other to an entirely different arts sector, while both their partners have arts degrees and are extremely gainfully employed; a non-statistical sample indicating that just about anything is possible and an arts degree opens doors.

With regard to the 'keep music and art as a hobby' line, yes you can but you will not reach the same level and that may continue to hurt. A music degree is not a road to unemployment - all sorts of careers are open even, yes, postgrad medicine. And one DC works in a field where a lot of people have a practical art background of some kind. Studying art or music takes dedication and organization (see comments re amount of work required for art GCSE for example) and employers know that.

And as for not LETTING a DC do an arts degree - what?! Where would my DC be if I'd followed that path? Not talking to me for a start. OP, your heart is in the right place, well done. As usual, I love some of the comments on here:
Nooka: "We have several people in the family that took academic paths to make their parents happy, and it didn't work out very well." Spot on, engraved on my heart. Also: MidnightScribbler: Support her in pursuing her passions."

In answer to your worry about not knowing how to support her, I agree with posters saying don't worry. Arguably you'd be no better off if she were following the same path you did, as you won't fall into the trap of thinking you know best. Encourage her to get work and volunteering experience. That will help her get her ideas in order and also seems to matter much more to employers than the degree subject.

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