Music and Software Have More in Common Than You Think

Hint: neither one requires superpowers.

To this day, the only cellist who can cope with that one excerpt from Mahler 5.

A couple of days ago, I had my first rehearsal in about eight months. Since my previous rehearsal, I had enrolled in a software engineering bootcamp at General Assembly, built multiple full-stack web apps, learned all sorts of things about JavaScript and Python, and started looking for my first job as a tech person. Needless to say, this came up in conversation when I was catching up with some of my colleagues from my “other life” as a freelance cellist. I knew that this would likely be the case, and had some apprehension as to how this was going to go down; we musos have been known, from time to time, to regard career changing as a form of heresy, or “such a shame” in the very least.

To my surprise, the reactions I received were more akin to amazement. Disbelief that it could be humanly possible to do such a thing. Admiration at the innate, intangible abilities involved.

Now, where have I experienced that sort of reaction before…

…that’s right. Talking to non-musicians (or “normal, healthy, functional human beings”, as we musos tend to call them) about cello playing. It appears that if you want to be perceived as some sort of superhuman, you just need to pick the right crowd.

The irony, however, is that these two worlds are not vastly different. Had they been, I imagine that I might have found a completely different way to diversify. Or, given up on the idea and just practiced loads… But anyway, here’s a list of similarities I’ve found so far — I imagine I’ll end up adding a bunch more, probably at some ungodly hour when my brain decides that random thoughts are better than sleep:

Something weird-looking in C#
Something weird-looking in C# minor

In a nutshell, a move into software from music might seem like a daunting prospect, but I’d be willing to bet that the majority of people in the rehearsal studio that day could do it.

As for the conductor, there’s always product management.



Am I a musician? Am I a software developer? You decide. (But be nice)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

Am I a musician? Am I a software developer? You decide. (But be nice)