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Why getting a degree in music performance could land you your dream job

Whether you are looking to pursue a career as a music pastor or get a degree in music performance, finding the right music university that tailors to your goals, style, and values can prove to be difficult. We could give you a list of reasons why North Central would be a great fit for you, but we interviewed Jake Felstow ’16, alum and current drummer for an up-and-coming band Yam Haus, and we think his answers provide a great insight into life before, during, and after college while pursuing a music degree.

How Jake turned a music performance degree into his dream job!

What made you choose NCU?

“I was a junior in high school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to spend my time creating music and demonstrating hope to people and didn’t know what it could look like. At the time, that translated to “Contemporary Christian Music Major,” so I typed that into Google. North Central was the first thing to pop up. I got the chance to visit when I was a senior in high school and was blown away by the culture. The students really cared about their faith and made Christ the center of what they did. Not only that, but the quality of musicians blew me away.”
Jake Felstow, drummer of Yam Haus

What made you sure that you chose the right university?

“I think I almost immediately knew that I made the right choice being at NCU. From the first moment of day one when the professor opened up with prayer, I knew this place meant what they said. From my first drum lesson, I knew that I would be challenged more than I imagined in what I loved to do. Early on in chapel services, I knew that my perspective would be stretched daily and that I would leave feeling encouraged to do the things that I was made to do.”

Advise to students wanting to pursue a degree in music?

“One of my favorite quotes is by a man named Frederick Buechner. “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” This helped inform a lot of my decisions in early college. What is your deep gladness? What gets you excited? What’s something that you’re wired to do with all the skills/passions/personality that you have? This part is easy to overthink. Sometimes it helps to ask the people closest to you that probably already know. Next, determine what fires you up. Maybe it’s something that actually makes you mad. There’s a lot of brokenness in the world to be mad about. Don’t be afraid of it, but figure out your role, and how you can see it change.”

How did you know you made the right choice pursuing a bachelors in music?

“I knew that I chose the right path with my major when I began touring with One Accord (now called the traveling Worship Live team). I had the opportunity to live out what I wanted to do with my life through North Central music degree program. I was creating music with people that I loved. I got to travel to new places, lead worship, meet new people, and encouraging people and students. One Accord was taking all of the things that I was learning in the classroom and allowing me to see what it could like in a real-world scenario. This directly translated to what I get to do out of college.”

How are you using your degree in music performance now?

“I am currently the drummer of the band Yam Haus. We’re a pop band based out of Minneapolis. It was shortly after I graduated from college that I met Lars, Seth and Zach (members of Yam Haus). At the time, I was playing music for a living with different singer/songwriters in the city and I happened to play music with the guys one night. Lars asked to meet up for coffee where he asked me to essentially drop everything that I had going on in my life currently and move to Hudson, WI to start this crazy thing called Yam Haus. I initially had a lot of hesitations, but after thinking about it for a couple days, I knew that this was what I had always wanted to do. Now being 24 and moved away from my family in Michigan, I’m so grateful that playing music in Yam Haus for a living is a reality in my life.”

Advise for newly graduated music students?

“Being newly graduated from college was one of the scariest periods of time in my life so far and felt like I was flying off of a ramp and could literally land anywhere.  My advice would be to pray A LOT. More than you naturally might. The Lord really does guide us. Lean in to what you love to do because you’ll spend your life wishing you went for it. But don’t be discouraged when it doesn’t just happen or if it takes way longer than you anticipated. Don’t stop working hard. There are times that the door just opens, but it doesn’t mean you wait around until that happens. There is no magic button. Bring your best and then some. The world will be different and better when you serve Jesus.”

Learn how a bachelor of music can jump start your music career

Get a free download of Always Remain

Learn more about Jake’s story and North Central University’s music degree program below! If you’re interested in pursuing a career in music, explore one of North Central’s many music degrees to see which one is a good fit for your future. Request more information about a degree and get a free download of the worship single Always Remain.