Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Getting Signed - part 2 - the perils of education and the "backup plan"

What if I took Music in School?

DON'T go to college / university so you can "keep your options open" and "have something to fall back on." You need every competitive edge you can get, and spending 2-3-4 years doing something else removes a significant element that you have precious little of... "time." Get to New York or LA and do music FULL TIME. It is NOT a hobby, if that is what you want to do. Remember, the clock is ticking, and at roughly the age of 25 or so, the buzzer goes to end the third period.  Don't have a backup plan. Worry about that after you turn 25 or 30 and the train has officially left the station. Invest every ounce of time and energy and money that you can into developing what you need to compete in this high-stakes gamble.  

A degree in music will do squat-all for getting you to *this* particular goal. Turn on the radio. Turn on MTV. Seriously.... how many of those people have music degrees or even college diplomas in music? How many of them, really, do you figure could carry on an intelligent conversation about the rules of voice-leading in harmony or counterpoint? Hell, I'll lay my money down that 90% can't even name the notes on the staff.

What if I study business in university?  You don't have time! That's three or four years, and along with your business courses, you'll be studying English, maybe Psychology, Math, etc., etc., etc. Learn the music business by talking to people who are in it. There are lots of them in NY, LA, and London. Not so much in Pittsburgh. Learn from talking to other musicians and managers, etc. who are knowledgeable. (this is tricky, though, some sound confident, which leads you to assume they are knowledgeable, but they don't know sh!t...)

Education as a risk:

There was a girl named Jane who went to university to get her MBA. (masters in business administration). First year was crazy, crazy busy and very, very demanding. She battled that stress by going out with friends and enjoying all that university life had to offer. She made some great friends - ones that just may last a lifetime. She continued to work hard and keep her grades up. Her friends helped her through that - academically, socially, and by just being a shoulder to cry on. She lasted through and got her degree and recognized that she could make some really good money. She applied for some jobs and got one! Oh yeah, one of those special friends along the way was a charming young man.... you know how this ends, I'm sure.

Now you can swap out the name, the gender and degree program for virtually anything. Jane's story is a very typical - arch-typical, if you will - story of "what happened to me in university."

You come out the end with a very realistic goal of a good job, with a life mate, and with the pressure and the means to "settle down" into domesticity. Your rock-star plane just crashed. But that's okay, because now that you're done university, you're 23, and you've spent the last four years NOT working on becoming a rock star anyways.... so the train will be leaving the station in two years and you're not going to be ready anyways.

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