#1
I've been studying music for a while now (not so long, 3 years now I believe), and I realize that you reach a point where there's nothing new to learn, but many, MANY things to master; And to master these things, all you need is practice, ear training and memorization. You don't need a teacher, a coach, or anything else.

So, have any of you guys attended Berklee or any other similar private music school? What so special about enrolling in those expensive places? I know you can meet a lot of interesting people that can get you opportunities, but I'm talking about knowledge. Do you really think you need to pay thousands of dollars to get ahold of all the musical knowledge out there?

The best musicians I know didn't need any more than private lessons and discipline; I'm talking about jazz musicians in the 50s and classical composers.

What do you think?

:EDIT: No offense to any students attending a private musical school! I'm just asking.
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Last edited by Svennz at Feb 8, 2012,
#2
It depends on the complexity of what you want to do. If it's just jazz/rock/pop performance, it's true that you can get away little to no personal training provided that you are exceptionally adept at music.

But most people need mentors and guidance. I doubt that you've reached a point where there is nothing to learn. I also doubt that you have the self discipline and resources to master everything yourself. That's not meant to offend, that's just statistics.

The issue here is that your assumptions are problematic:

1. Yes, there are great jazz musicians who've gotten through without formal training. I can guarantee you for every one of those guys, there are hundreds who, in the same conditions, didn't even stand a chance.
2. Many jazz performers today, even household names, have gotten formal training: Keith Jarrett, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, the Marsalis brothers, etc.
3. There are many people who are able to make an honest living after conservatory experience.
3. Almost ALL major classical composers have had life-long formal and private training. Pre-1900's composers had it better than almost any modern person in terms of education.

You cast aside the advantages of networking and career opportunities, but that's precisely what makes these places important. No matter how much music theory you know, this alone will not get you a job. There are also many visiting artists who provide valuable insights into the industry that you would otherwise not know about. Being in a reputable school also helps you directly when you get out. Berklee has a huge network in LA. Some companies even specify a preference for Berklee graduates. Not to mention that you are in a constantly professional (or near professional) environment so that you know how high the bar is really set.

Frankly, it is extremely difficult to "make it" today just going by one skill, especially if that skill is performance. What's really expected is being able to do everything. For my targeted industry, the media, that requires: orchestration, handling/leading scoring sessions, conducting, business conduct, networking, copyright/publishing operations, advanced computer tech, sound design, operation logistics, music editing, orchestral sequencing, and of course, actually writing the appropriate music and making the deadline.

I don't know about you, but there is no way in hell I could achieve any of this by myself.

The bottom line is that these schools don't pretend that you'll catapult into stardom if you go. They prepare you to be industry professionals that stand a chance of earning a sustainable income for yourself. I think it would be unwise to bet on joining the ranks of those jazz and classical musicians.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#4
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You cast aside the advantages of networking and career opportunities, but that's precisely what makes these places important.


It's interesting you say this, because I was going to say exactly the opposite.

Berklee and other higher-end music schools have a unique job board which grants them access to a lot of opportunities that aren't advertised in the public domain. Additionally you really are mingling with a whole heap of serious musicians, who you can expect to have a level of competency on their instruments.

As for networking outside the university, you can still do that. I did while studying, and working. Still networking now actually
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#5
I am sure they teach you everything you would ever want to or need to know about your musical goals. But I could NEEEVVVVERRRR spend that much money on it. NEVER!

I am sure there are much cheaper alternatives to achieve your musical goals.

Also, they want people to attend and they do market the place to sucker in a lot of people by saying "so and so went here and now is famous."

It is really your call.
Last edited by Appetite_4_GNR at Feb 8, 2012,
#6
Quote by AlanHB
It's interesting you say this, because I was going to say exactly the opposite.

Berklee and other higher-end music schools have a unique job board which grants them access to a lot of opportunities that aren't advertised in the public domain. Additionally you really are mingling with a whole heap of serious musicians, who you can expect to have a level of competency on their instruments.
Wait how is this opposite of what I said

As for networking outside the university, you can still do that. I did while studying, and working. Still networking now actually
Of course. It's just a major catalyst when you're in school.

Quote by Appetite_4_GNR

Also, they want people to attend and they do market the place to sucker in a lot of people by saying "so and so went here and now is famous."

It is really your call.

Every private school does that. I don't really pay attention to any of that. What I do pay attention to is recent alumni who come for a visit after having gotten a good start, which is a weekly occurrence.

You're right though, it can be unreasonably expensive for some people depending on your financial situation and if you get any financial aid/scholarships.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Feb 8, 2012,
#7
it's like comparing community college to harvard. take that as you will.

for a bit of an anecdote, brendon small (home movies, metallocalypse) started out going to berklee for guitar performance and went to the local community college and took a comedy writing course. he ended up writing TV for years until someone realized he was a ridiculously good guitar player and he made metallocalypse, and now he has mild success touring around with a fictional death metal band. the main thing being that he didn't get in the door by just knowing music - he had a particular set of skills that he used as a catalyst for exposure as a serious musician.

you can't just make records in this day and age - you need to get people to buy your album and, more importantly, you need labels that give you advances to tour on early on to think that people will buy your album.
modes are a social construct
#8
Obviously there's no comparison between learning things on your own and learning them at a university - if you've studied music in a university for even the shortest amount of time, you know that there are a million things to learn that you just don't bother to deal with on your own time. As far as Juliard and Berklee being superior to other colleges, I'd assume it's simply a matter of resources. For example, the university I study at devotes an entire building to its music school, but the actual amount of money going to the music department is obviously only a small fraction of the school's total budget. There's no recording studio, only 3 or 4 decent rehearsal spaces, a large number of old, crappy upright pianos, and several nice pianos that students all fight to practice on. There are quite a few performances and guest speakers throughout the year, but I've yet to see any big names come to town in either the pop or jazz field. Simply put, the school just doesn't consider music to be a big budget priority.

I imagine Berklee and Juliard have bigger budgets, since they're private schools and devote basically all of their money to the arts. They attract bigger guest speakers, can afford to pay more accomplished instructors, and (i can only assume) have nicer facilities.


Oh, and not to mention the prestige that comes with a degree from one of these schools.