Music Degree... What Now?


I held a newly minted music degree in my hands from Brigham Young University. Generous donors and hard work made it possible for me to attend college on academic scholarships. Someday I hoped to endow a scholarship of my own. But after posing for pictures in a rented black gown and tasseled cap, all I could afford for graduation celebration was a medium Dominos pizza. Money was scarce, and the future was uncertain. 

For my senior project, I had composed, arranged, and produced a solo pop album called Take A Chance. I hoped that album would jump start a promising career after graduation. I ordered 1,000 cassette copies of the album, but had little success in selling them. I had no plan B for making different kinds of original music that might be marketable. But rent does not wait on epiphany...

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I was finally beginning to make a modest living composing original music for advertising. 

During the summer of 1996, one of my neighbors rang me up and said, “Chance, my favorite video game company just posted a music job online. You should totally apply!” 

I was offended. 

After all, I was a composer. Video games? They did not use real music. They just spewed inane electronic noise. 

Granted, my knowledge of video games was mostly informed by the Atari 1040-ST, a computer installed with Pong, Space Invaders, Oids, and Yahtzee. All of those games were fun to play, but the soundtracks were just silly. Apply for a job making music for games? No way, not me. 

After all, I was a composer. 

“Chance, you write jingles for car dealers,” he retorted. “No offense. Come over to my house and let me show you how cool this stuff is…”

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"An empowering career guidebook wrapped around a personal retrospective. A professional how-to manual woven into a memoir."