My Music Future: Music Major and Music Career Assessment

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My Music Future: Music Major and Music Career Assessment

In our American school system, the majority of curriculum and time is spent developing the student’s knowledge and skill. This is fundamental to the student’s academic development, giving them the skills necessary to interact and contribute to society. Although knowledge and skill are tested from preschool to just a few days before high school graduation, it is in the eighth grade that the assessment of skill and knowledge is measured in relationship to potential career choices.

Research reveals that passion and mission are the driving forces behind happiness and self-fulfillment in one’s career, with knowledge and skill serving as supporting players. However, these qualities are rarely tested or assessed. This may be the reason, according to the 2015 report from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, that the average person holds nine different jobs between the ages of 18 and 50.

According to another report, from the University of California at Davis entitled “Balanced Job and Life,” the average person will change jobs 16 to 19 times between the ages 18 to 70, and of that number, five to seven percent will result in a total occupational change. These reports further state “of the five to seven percent that change occupations, two percent stated that once they returned to their original passion, they found contentment that overflowed into all the areas of their lives.” These reports give evidence that a passion for one’s work is an essential aspect of living a joyous and fulfilled life.

So, before thousands of dollars are spent on a college education, passion and aptitude should be tested. The college experience is very often only one of the first steps along a long path of training and retraining that leads one back to their original passion. Starting with passion and aptitude will prove to be the best financial decision and will move the student more quickly to their best long-term, career-affirming decision.

For many years, the research team at Accoladi has dealt with music students, parents of music students, scholastic music educators, collegiate music educators, amateur co-vocational musicians, professional musicians, and businesspeople who derive their income from musicians. From these experiences, we have compiled a simple assessment tool that can help students, parents, and educators begin a discussion about the opportunities both vocationally and co-vocationally that can aid high school students and those who guide them in this major decision. We suggest this assessment be given four times, although conclusions can be successfully drawn from only one assessment:

  • during April of the sophomore year
  • the end of October of the junior year
  • the end of March of the junior year
  • in August before beginning the senior year*

The assessment results should be observed for patterns from each test and should indicate obvious conclusions. These conclusions may help influence the student’s collegiate and career choices in music for a passionate life filled with joy and fulfillment.

Click on the MyMusicFuture logo to explore this assessment tool.

*This assessment tool is designed for the public and private school student who is part of a comprehensive music education program where ensemble participation is the primary format for musical instruction. Homeschoolers and vocal, rock, and keyboard students may find helpful application from this assessment as well, but the system of scoring may not yield the same result.

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