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So if your 14 yr old decides he wants to study music after A levels

(46 Posts)
Ormirian Sun 10-Jul-11 21:31:32

what can he do with it?

Until recently DS was set for engineering - probably an apprenticeship. But now he's thinking of music. He is doing better in music than almost any other subject currently - even than science which is also good.

Is it a bad idea? Is he going to be unemployable:?

potterschmotter Sun 10-Jul-11 21:32:25

not if he's good at music as well as liking it

EvilTwins Sun 10-Jul-11 21:37:20

Course not. He could be a music teacher grin

Try looking at this for ideas.

Personally, I think it's wrong to encourage a 14 year old to think about future options in terms of employment opportunities - he's 14, and is therefore very likely to change his mind a few times between now and choosing A Level subjects, let alone deciding what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

I'm Head of 6th Form at the school I teach in, and always encourage students to look at what they enjoy doing, rather than getting bogged down in "what do I want to do..." Bottom line - would you let a 14 year old tell you what to do as a career and then make you stick to it? If not, then why are you telling your DS to do that.

I would advise you to relax about it, and to encourage his obvious interest. There are a lot more options within the music industry than being a concert pianist, after all.

threefeethighandrising Sun 10-Jul-11 21:39:24

The music industry is massive! Of course he won't be unemployable.

roisin Sun 10-Jul-11 21:41:17

If he's serious about studying music, he needs grade 8 with distinction in at least one instrument, preferably two.

But it's not actually essential that he does music A level. He would need to have decent music theory knowledge as well as the practical, but he could do A levels in other subjects, thus keeping his options rather more open...?

follyfoot Sun 10-Jul-11 21:42:05

I would say to myself 'ah he's 14'. And forget it. My DSS decided to study music, music tech and IT at A' Level when he was 16, but he changed his mind during the summer and did three entirely different subjects...

snorkie Sun 10-Jul-11 22:33:22

A degree in music is probably as much use as quite a few other arts type non vocational degrees e.g. history, and is probably fine to enter quite a number of graduate programs with, so if he decides he wants a non music career afterwards all is not lost although it's fair to say it wouldn't be a good route into a science/engineering job. There are some music careers he could do too, though not all are very well paid.

I think quite a few music degree courses do require music A level these days roisin, but it's not so important if you study at a conservatoire.

effingwotnots Sun 10-Jul-11 22:38:34

I have a music degree and have a very busy music teaching business teaching from home and freelance in an orchestra.

And I would suggest he do music A-level as the theoretical aspect is a great foundation otherwise he might be a bit lost....

My uni friends have varied jobs.... many with the BBC, radio, teaching etc....

We're not that unemployable you know!

Colleger Sun 10-Jul-11 22:47:48

It isn't difficult to do better in GCSE or A'level music than other subjects. What grades is he on his instruments and what does he want to do in the field of music? Most 16 year olds who pursue music already are passed grade 8 and have their DipABRSM.

As for pay - a professional musician will always struggle but they will live a happy and fulfilling life.

The RCM run a joint degree in Music and Physics with Imperial College which could be a good compromise.

Ormirian Mon 11-Jul-11 08:44:38

He hasn't got a grade in anything yet! It's still new to him but his teacher is very encouraging and reckons he is one of the most promising music students in the year. He has played guitar for about 2 years now, and drums for a little longer. He has also picked up DD's uke that she asked for for christmas a few years back, and has rarely touched, and was playing it really well straight away. This is what confuses me - until a few years back music was just something he listened to confused

Ormirian Mon 11-Jul-11 08:55:45

And your responses have convinced me that children seem to have to know what they want to do from birth! grin At the age when he should have started taking music grades he was not interested - doing karate and cricket instead. All of which he has given up on. And now it's too late.... ah well.

MotherPanda Mon 11-Jul-11 09:05:31

To be honest, even if he doesn't want to be a musician after his degree - once you have a degree, you are a foot up in the game.

I went to arts college - so know lots of people with theatre/music/art degrees - some who work in the creative field, and some who do not.

My tutor used to always remind us "My bank manager has a degree in theatre." Quite a few of my friends did decide to be teachers in the end though. Or Librarians.

And quite a few are artists/theatre makers/musicians too!

Ormirian Mon 11-Jul-11 09:08:55

That's interesting motherpanda - I know it was that way for my generation (I'm 46). i have a degree in English and archaeology and now work in IT! But I had thought that things had changed over the last few decades and that now employers wanted oven-ready graduates. In fact DH and I had both encouraged DS to think in terms of an apprenticeship rather than a degree.

But as has been said there is plenty of time to change his mind. Many time probably....

ggirl Mon 11-Jul-11 09:09:31

My dd very nearly applied to do music degree.
Most unis asked for a A in music alevel.
What changed her mind was that she just wasn't passionate enough about music.She loves it but doesn't live and breathe it .
This was after visiting uni open days and talking to the music dept.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Jul-11 09:12:53

I think that you have to let them go with the dream-channelling them into something 'sensible' , if their heart isn't in it, rarely ends well. (probably a mid life crisis where they throw it all up and do what they wanted to do in the first place).

exoticfruits Mon 11-Jul-11 09:13:46

At 14 he could well change his mind.

MotherPanda Mon 11-Jul-11 09:18:15

I'm not too keen on apprenticeships - as they are designed for people who aren't capable of achieving in academic study, they don't have a good name in practice. He may get a job as an engineer etc, but then if he changes his mind its worthless. (options are also closed in at a very early stage). Many degrees incorporate an aspect of work experience now in any case.

Of course, some fields do want oven ready graduates - if he wants to be a scientist or a graphic designer then he's a bit screwed. But otherwise, you can always do voluntary work placements after finishing the degree to gain experience in the field he wants to work in.

As you know, even having a degree isn't enough anymore. One friend of mine has a degree in Graphic Design, and has been doing work placements since he graduated last year (with minimum pay - travel expenses etc) and still hasn't been offered a job - but he will. He now has a years experience of working in the field - and an academic understanding.

Things to think about in any case. - you've got a few years to think about it - do your research though!

exoticfruits Mon 11-Jul-11 09:24:28

I think that you are way out of date with apprenticeships and there is a lot of competition from DCs who are capable of academic study and want to learn on the job without debt.
The difficulty is getting one-it is highly competitive. Much the best route IMO. DS did one and is getting on well-he may go to university in the future-at the moment he is doing additional courses.

circular Mon 11-Jul-11 09:25:08

Roisin - I think you advice is a little misleading.
What you say may apply to the Conservatoires, and many of the pure Music degree courses.
My DD (rising 14) is also a late starter on formal lessons. She is quite serious about wanted to teach Music (Instruments), has been for two years now. She attends a Saturday music school, and has been advised by the professional musician teachers there that she ideally needs to be at least working towards Grade 8 when putting in her Uni applications for a music degree.
Generally, the more academic the degree, the less the musical requirement.

For example. to do Music as part of a Joint Honours at newcastle, Grade 5 is the minimum requirement. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/combined/honours/subjects/music.htm

We are taking her seriously, while at the same time insisting she keeps her options open. ie. dissuading her to drop triple science in favour of Drama or Catering for GCSE.

For A levels, she hopes to take a broad range - Music, Geography, French & Maths, which are her best subjects.

Good luck for your DS.

MotherPanda Mon 11-Jul-11 09:29:50

exoticfruits - I'm only 21 myself (hope i'm not out of date yet!), so know people from school who have done apprenticeships. Certainly from my school, only people who were not achieving the grades went on to do apprenticeships.

Am happy to hear that's not the case everywhere.

circular Mon 11-Jul-11 09:32:08

Apologies - I read that wrong.

Grade 5 theory, Grade 8 on instrumnet - if performing modules being taken.

So depends what he wants to do.

But just because he has not yet taken any grades, does not mean he not at any grade standard. I know for my DD, the first grade she will take on her second instrument will be 3 or 4. And she plays it in an ensemble for grade 5 standard, but has taken no grades on that instrument.

Ormirian Mon 11-Jul-11 10:04:54

Thanks everyone.

motherpanda - I guess it depends on the apprencticeship! DS was looking at one with an aerospace company as aeronautical engineering was his interest. Many of the companies will sponsor their apprentices to do a degree if they think it appropriate and if he decides the whole sector isn't for him then he can do a degree later off his own bat - DH qualified as a teacher when he was 34.

MotherPanda Mon 11-Jul-11 12:12:13

Ormirian - that does sound like a good apprenticeship. I guess my town is just full of plastic/coffee factories, so the opportunities aren't very exciting.

Ormirian Mon 11-Jul-11 12:46:55

Sadly it won't be in our hometown - He'll have to commute quite a way.

Bramshott Mon 11-Jul-11 12:49:54

Could you persuade him to do Music + a couple of science subjects for A level to keep his options open? Not that music is a 'bad' career per se, but he will almost certainly have more job security and a bigger salary with engineering! Or what about sound engineering or similar? There are a number of good degree courses along those lines.

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