|By Momof2 (Momof2) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 11:04 pm: Edit|
This is an engineering question, but I'm not sure where best to post, so settled here. My son is going to attempt a double major in computer engineering and music (BFA, not performance) He knows it will be quite difficult, but his first 2 semesters' schedules dovetailed well, thanks to AP and some college courses behind him. We also told him he could take up to 5 years if necessary; his scholarship will go for 5. We also have a friend finishing his 1st yr. as a Chem Eng/Music degree at Northwestern who seems to be surviving so far.
Question: does this sound at all feasible to you? Do you know anyone who was successful at such a combination? You seem better qualified to speculate than most people I know. Any comments you make will be greatly appreciated. FYI, like most students here, he is NM, a math and computer whiz with a strong work ethic.
|By Hautbois (Hautbois) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 11:35 pm: Edit|
Part of it will depend upon the university/college and each major's requirements. But yes, it's possible, since you say he isn't going into performance and you are allowing 5 years. (Some BM only students end up taking more than 4 years just because of all the performances and performing groups that are required.) One thing he can do at first is pursue both while declaring only one. That may, though, cause problems getting certain classes. Which major did he apply for? I'm guessing computer engineering? If he's a good musician (instrument?) he may be *desired* in the music school.
(The problem with performance, as most of you probably know, is that the students are required to take both lessons and a performance group. These two things take a great deal of time for a very small number of units. And of course there are all those required music courses ....)
|By Momof2 (Momof2) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:04 am: Edit|
To tell the truth, I'm actually more worried about the engineering/math lab hours than the practice time. I'm pretty sure music will continue to be his "rec" time, as it usually relaxes and unwinds him. (Not before a competition, of course.) And yes, this goes back to the state school choice - they are being pretty accomodating so far. His new trombone professor had been "courting" him for several years at All-State, etc. He and the prof. hit it off very well in a couple of lessons before making the school choice. I truly expect him to be playing in the top ensembles before too long - the orchestra will not fit schedule-wise until 4th semester, however. As a BFA and he fact that he could not accept a music scholarship on top of engineering, he is not locked into the "major ensemble every semester" thing. On the most demanding years, he can opt for trombone choir, which, although nationally known, won't require nearly the practice hours. It will also be a great stress reliever.
He also has a great advantage in that his high school repertoire was more advanced than most of the schools in the surrounding area - a good many class 5/6 college level pieces and a lot of 20th (and 21st!) century music. The Wind Ensemble played at Chicago Midwest last year. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement. We're just going to take it one semester at a time.
|By Hautbois (Hautbois) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:13 am: Edit|
One other thing; if the trombone instructor was pursuing him your son might have to be adamant about not being in a performing group sometimes. When I went to college I was simply told "You have no choice but to play in both band and orchestra" and I was too shy to say no. Turned out I didn't have to do both groups. Teachers can really intimidate, as can conductors, and can even withhold instruction in certain instances. It sounds as if you are fine and won't have that problem, but I just thought I'd warn you. (At certain schools a student is required to perform in a group when having lessons and/or vice versa.)
|By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 10:50 am: Edit|
When I first went to the Computer Science Department at CMU, I was shocked to learn how many of the faculty and staff were accomplished musicians. I've since learned that computer science and music live well together (except in my life, where music and I have never been a good match).
|By Momof2 (Momof2) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 10:55 am: Edit|
True, he will get to exercise his negotiating skills on that issue. We coached him a bit during the interview, audition and freshman registration processes - since he had no college or music faculty experience. Both schools brought up the need for great time management skills for a double major. After August, he knows he will be on his own. He was pretty good in HS about not allowing himself to be pulled too many ways to focus; hopefully he will continue to hone those skills. (coming from a person who couldn't say NO to volunteer positions until age 28 with an infant!)
|By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 02:59 am: Edit|
You may already know, but I did chemical engineering and classics undergrad. Comp-e and chem-e are similar in their stringent requirements (more so than the other engineerings) and large amount of upper-level courses. Classics and music... can't compare, not a musician myself.
The good news: unlike your son, I had no idea that I would be double-majoring until around the end of sophomore year. By that time, I had already taken a few electives in math and poetry, neither of which could count towards the second major. Classics professors were also quite excited and happy to have an engineer taking their courses for fun, so they helped me out a lot with course scheduling, working out how to get a second major, etc. College professors realize that the only reason you would really do all that extra work is if you love the subject - which will work in your son's favour.
The (bad?) news: in order to complete the classics major, I took two summer classes after junior year - though I could have done them senior year without petitioning to take six credits, the courseload would have been tough. As it was, I graduated with 45 credits or so (one class being one credit), which involved, for various reasons, some semseters with six classes. Not fun - especially come finals time. However, it is not impossible - if your son realizes that professors are happy to help out a student in his situation, whether it be giving tests at different times so they don't overlap (always an interesting manoeuvre) or getting an occasional extension, then he can manage to get decent grades in the process.
It's great that you're allowing your son to do it in five years if necessary; also look into 4.5 with some summer work. The summer classes tend to be shorter, and he can get some requirements out of the way and free up his schedule for electives. The best way to do this is to have him talk to his advisor and understand how the class system works - many required classes must be taken in sequence and are only offered once per semester. Basically, make sure that he won't have to take a tenth semester because he's one class short. Also, taking a required course over the summer could prevent him from not being able to take a great elective due to scheduling conflicts.
Now, to answer your question a little more directly: yes, it is quite feasible!! Between having AP credit, knowing exactly what he is going to do initially, and taking extra time if necessary, he will be fine. A recent Harvard graduate majored in physics and music; as Harvard requires a thesis to incorporate both majors when you double, he wrote a musical entitled "Les Phys" which detailed the freshman Harvard physics student experience. While your son's academic experience will be unusual (in a good way!), it won't be unheard of nor impossible. Good luck to him! Feel free to email me if you have any more questions.
|By Tabbycat (Tabbycat) on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 01:36 pm: Edit|
momof2, do you mind sharing which college your son will be entering? I have a son (who will be a junior in high school) expressing the wish for a similar double major! (or major/minor, or whatever)He is interested in EE/CE and plays euphonium in symphony, trumpet in jazz, and electric guitar "for fun". He will begin visiting colleges this year. Any info always helps. Thanx.
|By Massdad (Massdad) on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 05:17 pm: Edit|
Momof2, why the worry? Colleges have a great deal of flexibility to start. They need it, since so many kids change course through their college careers. I can assure you that a large first rate university has seen every combination possible. If he can handle it, he will. If not, remember that college is about making one's own choices and decisions.
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