In music, there are a lot of career paths you could pursue. You could pursue music education, music performance, music therapy, music industry, etc. Beyond those, there are even more careers that you can break into smaller categories. When I started college, I wanted to be a high school band director. Now, I definitely don't want to be that. (I honestly don't want to continue in music at all, but that's beside the point.) I changed my major to music performance a few years back because I finally realized that I didn't want to teach high school students day in and day out.
I realize now that I was really confused when I got to college. I had the opportunity to be part of a really great marching band program in high school and it sparked my passion for music. I wanted to continue that great high school marching band program for the rest of my life. But at 17, there was no way for me to realize that a degree in music education and a job as a high school band director wouldn't give me the experience that I was searching for.
A job as a high school band director isn't all marching band competitions and trophies. Depending on your placement, marching season can consist of spoon-feeding music lessons to high school students who didn't get the opportunity to have the thorough training that I did. Speaking of marching season, it's just that: A season. In my area, marching season lasts from roughly August to October. After that, it's over. You're doing other things. You're doing the rest of your job.
From October to May, a band director usually focuses on their concert band. I liked concert season, but it didn't give me the same warm, fuzzy feeling that marching season used to. I loved playing my instrument, but there was something about the competition season that got my brain buzzing.
Knowing what I know now, I realized that I wouldn't be nearly as happy for the rest of the academic year if I were to continue down the path I was going. I realized that I shouldn't pursue something that only gave me my passion 30 percent of the time. What would I do with that other 70 percent? I would probably be happy, but it wasn't what I had imagined.
With all that said and a new major, that doesn't mean that I don't like to teach now. I got the opportunity to help out with my former high school's band camp this summer and I was ELATED. I helped the drum majors navigate the ins and outs of leadership in high school and taught them some helpful conducting maneuvers. I was tired from sweating and being outside all day, but on the drive from the high school back home, I was already thinking of new activities for my drum majors to do.
I'm lucky that my career path and major has so many branches and specializations. I'm lucky that they're all so closely related. But even if your career path isn't as closely aligned as mine, you can still do what you love.