Does Music Education Matter In The Real World?

Figuring out if getting a degree for music or music business is a tough choice. Let's make the best choice for our lives!

Ultimate Guitar

I'm going to play the devil's advocate on the topic Should I really get a degree for music or music business?

You can get all of the text books from a highly accredited school at the local library or Seriously, you can! I searched online and found all of the text books this specific music school uses and I found out that I could save about $39,600 if I studied on my own. Here's what I've come up with if I studied on my own:

Pros: You decide when you study specific subjects, you create your own ideas, no need to compete with others, you develop your style faster as its derived with your own study, more time to dedicate to study or practicing vs. hanging out and wasting time, you do your networking online. If I have questions, I can arrange a private lesson and prep up specific questions with someone that has graduated.

Cons: No teachers to get different points of view on topics, no students to help push yourself to become better at your craft, not a lot of people to bounce off ideas, a block of time is scheduled weather if fits your lifestyle or not, not a lot of face to face networking. If I have questions, there's no teacher available.

What other things can you list for pro's and cons?

I've figured out that at the end of the day, getting a degree only matters for one thing, and one thing only.. to get a job at a specific company. After that, it's all about experience because no one is going to remember the type of degree or from what university you got it from. Weather you like it or not, getting a degree is a requirement for social status. Just like getting a model of the year car.

If you want to work for a company (there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) I suggest you getting a degree as it will give you a slight boost for that company.

If you want to build your own business, I suggest what Warren Buffet has suggested many times before Read, read, and read. Educate yourself in the field you want to succeed in and know everything and anything about that topic. Then, take action on what you know to build your empire!

Whatever you decide to do in life, you can't go wrong by working to achieve your ultimate goal. It's a proven fact that successful people are successful because they love, enjoy and have a passion for what they do.

I wish you much success in your life. Really, I do.


Oscar Ortega

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I gotta disagree. There's a reason universities have been around so long despite being able to buy books. And if you think a degree doesn't help later on you're wrong. What about when somebody else wants the job you want and you have equal experience credentials? That degree will win, and if you both got a degree, they'll look at your transcripts.
    Oscar Ortega
    Thanks for reading biohazardsrb! I'll triple check my spelling next time! @Kapalen: IMO a degree is helpful for a teaching position with in the music world. For example in a university, college or highschool. It also gives you the social status someone might enjoy... boosting Ego. But, that can also be taken in consideration the track record of that person... In the music world it's not always what paper (degree) you purchased, it's how well you work with others, how dynamic and how professional you are... Before writing this article, I interviewd A LOT of business professionals from music schools... and a big majority said that the $$ in debt+degree has not helped them/was not worth it.
    I think we may just be looking at different angles. When you say music business I think venue promoters, band managers, A&R, etc, people who have no place at a music school. And you seem to mean more artistic oriented professions in music. As for the types of people I mentioned, they tend to have and benefit from degrees, or they want to go back to school and get one even if they're in the profession they want. Not to say those people don't know about music, I went to school to be an audio engineer, but it still required classes on theory. And again, I guess I see it different since I went to a school that actually has music business degrees.
    Oscar Ortega
    Ah yeah... I was referencing more on people that play an instrument. However, I dont mean to discredit education... I think education is always fantastic but sometimes going to school should not be the first option. I've been some audio engineers that are phenomenal at what they do and they never went to school and I've also met/worked with some that went to school and are horrible engineers. I guess it all matters on that specific persons objective/passion for what they do. Personally, I'd like to listen more about you and your story and how school helped/didn't help you. The way I see it, the more info I can get from people the more I learn. Even if I dont agree, I still respect it.
    Going to school for the recording industry or music is different than say, to be a doctor. Because it is something that you could get started at now and try to work up, but then you have to worry about getting it right. If you get a gig doing live sound and don't know how to run live sound, how to use a 64 channel board or properly run a monitor mix, you just got a bad rep and gotta start all over. Whereas my live sound teacher was the engineer for the boston philharmonic and had been running live sound since he was 15. So its almost like I paid him to make mistakes for me so he could show me how not to make them. And the teacher for sound for picture did sound for picture at Sony in NY for 15 years doing dads for paul mccartney springstein and people like that. These guys can show you how to do things like add compression or eq correctly, which is something that is mostly trial by fire. Its the kinda stuff that's just not in the book. I have a lot of my textbooks still, some of them I still read up on but its mostly the ones about legal stuff. When it comes to the actual sound, you can't beat experience, and learning from someone else's can be better than failing on your own. And don't underestimate the power of networking. I don't know exactly what you would do online, but nothing beats being right there, don't just make connections, make friends, that's who will help you out. Ill point out, that those professors saw fit to get a degree and encourage others to as well, so there must be something to having one.
    Which i should probably clarify as Middle Tennessee State University. One of their professors and an alumni also both just won a grammy this year.
    Whatever you decide to do in life, you cant go wrong by working to accomplish your ultimate goal.
    oh and by the way you can say the same thing about the books for any course of study since all the books are available for any course
    Money makes the world go round, but music make the ride tolerable. The main thing putting many people off of studying music properly is the course fees. I certainly can't afford it, which means I'm reduced to learning what i can in a haphazard way, practicing scales and parradiddles during Dr. Who!! Music needs to be encouraged in schools, taken seriously as a career choice, we need more diversity in the media and higher education should be free: scrap tuition fees!! Steve, Slam Cartel/Green Party.