Is Music School Right for You?
The music industry can be a cutthroat place. People looking to make a name for themselves, get a leg up, and find their way into a very lucrative career path. Some people are able to accomplish this by putting their music projects online and attracting an audience. Some people have an X factor where they’re able to meet industry pros, establish connections, and make a name for themselves while being self-taught.
Others really benefit from the structure of going into a formal educational environment. They thrive on the academic approach to learning a skill. So, the question is: Which one are you? Are you someone who is an autodidact? Are you able to teach yourself a skill or acquire knowledge by just reading books or learning about a subject on your own?
If the answer is yes, you might not need to attend a school for music. If the answer is a little less firm, it’s definitely something to consider. Which brings us to the next series of questions: Does attending a music school increase your chances for success? Does having a music degree make you look better to the industry? Will music school make you more qualified to work in this business?
Do You Need a Degree for a Career in Music?
It goes without saying that a working knowledge of music itself will benefit you if you’re working in the music industry, in any capacity. In fact, the more you know about music, the better. The easier it will be for you to move up in the industry. The easier it will be for you to establish working relationships, and build deeper collaborations with your fellow industry professionals.
However, when it comes right down to the technical definitions of what is required, that gets a bit more nuanced. What exactly is the definition of being “qualified”, to work in the music industry? There are virtually NO degree requirements to work in the music business. It’s a skill-based industry. If you’re brilliant at producing or recording, that’s all anyone is really going to care about.
Will attending a music school improve your chances for getting hired at a recording studio? Some record label and publishing jobs might appreciate that you have a music business education, but there are other ways to get that education that don’t necessarily involve an expensive college or university degree.
It’s important to be smart about where you put your time and money. The music industry values skill. If the best way for you to gain an undeniably amazing set of skills is for you to attend music school, then, by all means, go for it. If it’s cheaper, simpler, and easier for you to sit in a room for a year and make beats… it might be wise to contemplate where that will get you. Having debt is a real thing. It can hold you back in multiple aspects of life.
A working knowledge of music will always be helpful for pursuing a career in the industry, whether you’re on the business side or the creative side. The question of whether you should go to college for that education, get private lessons, or just teach yourself—that really depends on the type of person you are. So, is music school right for you? Here’s a quick guide to help steer you right.
MUSIC SCHOOL MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA IF:
- You are pursuing a music career from an academic standpoint.
- You are planning to become a professional classical or jazz musician, conductor or composer.
- You simply want to expand your knowledge of music or your ability to perform it, and only if you can afford the tuition.
- You like structure, and thrive in an environment with direction.
- You’re someone who has a general interest in music, but does not have a lot of internal momentum.
- You’re looking for a more traditional school experience, on top of your music classes.
MUSIC SCHOOL MIGHT NOT BE A GOOD IDEA IF:
- You plan on being an audio engineer or music producer. (Most music schools offer limited training in these fields, and when they do, it’s usually very overpriced and fairly ineffective. You’re better off learning in a real recording studio as an extern, as the Recording Connection offers.)
- You can’t afford the tuition. (There’s no point in going deep into debt for a music school degree when there are cheaper ways to learn music.)
- You’re an autodidact.
- You’re someone who likes to deep dive into obscure subjects and wants to learn at your own pace.
- You’re someone who’s never had a problem teaching yourself a skill.
- You like real world, hands-on learning, in an actual recording studio… not just the theoretics of a school environment.
What Music School is Right for You?
Ultimately, this decision is up to you. You’re the only one that’s going to really know which environment would help you succeed the best. The thing to consider is that you’re going to be living with this decision for a long time. Are you going to be carrying around all this debt, or living with the theoretical instability of not having a degree. Each of them is a big decision. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons thoroughly before you really delve into one or the other.
All told. You can never go wrong in expanding your knowledge of music, or your ability to play it. Just know that music school isn’t the only way to get that education or training, nor is it a requirement for most jobs in the industry. If your goal is to work professionally in a recording studio, you’ll be much better off from a career standpoint by learning as an extern in a real recording studio—which is the exact type of training the Recording Connection offers. If you choose to supplement that training with music school, that’s up to you. Only you can really decide whether music school is right for you.