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A dream I'm willing to dedicate my time for

  1. Oct 4, 2014 #1
    Hey guys, My name is Chris, currently majoring in mechanical engineering with 1 and a half year left before graduating. I've had depression for my whole college years, failing some classes, passing with not so good resume (you can say that my gpa is somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0, along with my resume having only hospital volunteering and 1 part time job with autocad, java, matlab skills and no internship). It was hard; pressure from my parents, majoring in engineering for safety employment, and the fact that the path of my life was decided by someone greatly disturbed me.

    Let me tell you guys a story of mine

    I was one of those naive kids who felt happy just by helping others. I really didn't have anything I wanted to do; simply by doing what others say and benefiting their situation, I simply felt great and full of life. During my high schools year I started to realize that something was wrong; what did I do until now? People seemed to have something to talk about in life but for me, I couldn't remember anything. Along with the abuse from my sister and parents who couldn't understand my situation, I started to feel depressed. Believe it or not, what actually helped me out at this state was music. I always tried to relate my situation to music; looking for songs that was relevant to my problems, hearing the melodies and rhythms, this literally saved me and made me look forward to better future. Though my father opposed to my decision at first, I decided to take a guitar class in high school. Everyday has been quite fun; I always looked forward to going to class and decided that moment that I would continue music as one of my priorities. Then the time came; it was time for me to decide my major for college degrees. When I told my parents I wanted to major in music, they rejected my decision as expected, telling me that the engineering is the safest route for employment. Due to my personality at that time without my non-aggressive attitude towards my parents, I decided to listen to them and even research on internet to somehow force myself to like engineering. During my freshmen and sophomore year I realized this was not for me (I was getting C's and B's and D's which was really hard for me to continue). When I asked my dad to give me an option to change my major, he angrily responded "Why are you saying this now? You've already gone too far to make any changes." I was devastated; music didn't seem to help, I didn't feel like playing guitar anymore (though I wasn't able to play much due to school work), but I tried to stay positive to not disappoint my parents. It just didn't work out; I ended up seeing the psychological department due to my depression condition and now here I am, all better now to start working again. At this time I realized something about myself. The reason why I was happy about helping people was not just because I felt good about it, but rather, I was just being lazy and lying to myself; since making everyone smile will take care of everything without any problem, I tried to take the easy way by preventing myself from encountering the problems personally and putting effort. For my major, I was just too scared to take the path of music career due to its low employment rate and blamed my parents for many things (I guess they wouldn't believe me since they haven't really seen me working hard in music before). I really don't want to continue my life like this, I really want to make everyday count. I'm going to make some spare time during college to practice guitar and singing to be prepared. I do not have specific plan but I plan to start by uploading covers first, make originals and tried to form or join a band (if that doesn't work, at least would like to play on stages of some sort).

    Although I'm just someone who's trying to become dedicated to engineering field before I graduate in order to get any job, I hope you guys can answer my question.

    It really is hard to work in major I don't excel at or have no interest in, but I really would like to at least get a job in the engineering field to support myself first and work on music on the side while honing my skills. Is my chance of getting job low with my resume?

    Thank you and I apologize for writing too much.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2014 #2


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    You've made the right decision with not pursuing a career in music IMO.
    If it's a decision you have to make at all you aren't cut out for music - If you are cut out for it you never consider another path.

    Here's my (limited) experience of 'working' in music for what it's worth;
    I'm 27,started playing guitar at 16, up to 7 hours a day for first 3-5 years then trailed off to 1-3 hours now, that's solitary practice not counting playing with others. I'm not pro level - I have pro level friends and they practised 8+ hours a day for ten years to get there.
    I've played in 20+ bands, played hundreds of paid gigs, toured nationally, played on three albums that received international reviews & radio play. Nowhere near enough to quit my day job. When you consider thousands of hours spent practising and thousands spent on equipment, it's probably a loss overall.

    By the time I was twenty I knew I didn't have the drive to make music a career. I saw what it took and had no interest it in. I saw my friends playing mustang sally to drunks in bars every night, or jazz standards to geriatrics on cruise ships or trying to be the next big thing or teaching kids who didn't practice and I knew it wasn't for me. Sure, some made a living but the pay is often terrible, little or no security and mostly bad conditions. It's a slog.
    I kept it as a hobby, playing only the music I wanted to with people I liked. We had some incidental success and could've had more if we were interested in sleeping in vans/on floors, buying gas instead of food and playing in a different city every night. But we had played with many bands who did that and it didn't look like fun...
    Overall I'd recommend playing for your own enjoyment and take any success as it comes.

    As for dealing with controlling parents as an adult, that is a strange concept to me. I guess it's a cultural thing; I don't know anyone who had their parents choose their major. What leverage do they have over you? Do you have any way of eliminating/reducing that leverage?
  4. Oct 4, 2014 #3
    Well my parents seem to have let go of for a while as they knew they were pressuring me too much. They just told me to just finish whatever you have now, don't worry too much and just do what you gotta do and finish the degree. As you said, music job seems quite hard (along with the fact that there's a possibility of me raising a kid someday when I get older ). Though it really does not have to be a job, I mean music means so much too me. I visualize these scenes and certain aspects of my life whenever I listen to music to the verge of tearing up sometimes. Whenever I imagine myself singing or playing guitar on stage, I just feel so full of life. Should I just try to hone my skills, upload youtube videos of myself and if I get some good reviews, try to go for small concert of sort? What's your job now?

    by the way I'm not really saying I want to be really pro at guitar or of some sort. In terms of guitar, I want to be at the level of being able to compose rhythm or lead guitar sections along with being able to improvise at certain level. It's just that even though I can imagine in my head what type of sound I want for lead or rhythm, my ear is not trained enough for me to play out using guitar. I mean it's a band, not like studio session
  5. Oct 5, 2014 #4


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    To be honest I wouldn't bother with youtube at all, IME there is a massive gulf between 'online' fans and 'real life' fans. The latter are real music consumers who pay money to go to gigs and buy records. The former click the 'like' button and not much else. If you want to play on stage don't wait for approval from youtube, just do it. Go to gigs, get to know local bands. Start/join a band. Organise gigs with other bands. Play open mic nights. Busk. Join musicians clubs etc etc. Musicians are generally supportive and will help/give advice along the way. The most important skills are networking and being a team player.

    I'm in my final year of a bachelor of mechanical engineering. Before that I was an electrician. Engineering has been a big interest of mine since a very early age. It's my dream job.
    I wouldn't worry too much about not being a natural engineer. I'd guess only 10% of my classmates are, for the rest it's just a path to a well paid job. work hard and you'll get there in the end.
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