I'm 17, a senior in high school, and I have a huge passion for music. I've been trying to figure out what I want to do after school for the past two years and I've always come back to this because music is the only (slightly) realistic career that I could see myself enjoying. Enjoying my career is more important to me than making a lot of money.

Anyway, I'm not any super special musician, I play guitar in 2 church bands performing for about 500 every week, as well as another band with a few of my friends, but we haven't even gigged yet. I record instrumental music with my crappy m-audio and digitech multi-effect all the time just because I crave it. I don't have any real experience, so I'm a little worried about pursuing this.

My musical and technical audio knowledge is limited right now, so I was wondering if this would be worth putting money/time into right now as I get ready to leave my family and whatnot. I've heard that going to college for a degree in audio engineering isn't a good idea as it puts you in debt and isn't really needed for this career, so I'd like to get some thoughts on that. Maybe I should pursue another career while building my musical and audio knowledge over time?

My dream is to build and run my own recording studio. Seems far-fetched, but it's a dream. Haha thanks guys

Sorry, if this is in the wrong forum or something.
I think it depends on the collage. The one I'm in now really focuses on work placement in the final year so I'm quite confident that I'll be okay when it finishes, plus we share the same dream.

If you've still got some time in school, you're a bit safer but you need to start doing stuff now.
Find out about all the recording studios near you and give them a message asking if you could sit in on a session on weekends. You might get turned down by a few, but if someone says yes then you will be able to learn a lot about recording and possibly mixing while being there.

That's probably the best starting point, if they don't let you do anything, then it's still amazing experience if they teach you about the studio.
Thanks Cold Reader! I will look into that. Also, just wondering, what college are you attending right now and for what specifically?
If you start recording professionally (for money) throughout your degree you'll stand a chance. If you are depending on peaking over a pro's shoulder 3 years after starting to study to qualify you for a job, much less chance.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
I went to school for recording arts. I was like you, no real experience but I loved to write, play, and record music.
I will say my degree hasn't really done anything for me in terms of getting a job, but I gained a ton of quasi-real-world experience at school.
I also gained alot of knowledge that I wouldn't have gained otherwise, developed a social circle/support group of fellow audio geeks that I will have access to for the rest of my life (godwilling), and I developed a kind of confidence that allows me to feel like I can function in the audio field with some tiny degree of authority.
But again, as far as getting a job goes... the degree itself had little to do with it. I knew somebody and to be honest, got extremely lucky. The process of attaining the degree, though, was invaluable, and due to the circumstances that I find myself in now, I don't regret making the choice that I made in the slightest.
Just my personal experience, for what it's worth.
I have some schooling in engineering. When I graduated, I went out and figured a job would be easy, as there's tons of recording studios and live venues in my city. But the industry has changed, and recording studios are closing down - many bands just make their own albums on their computers, so why pay for a studio?
Still, there's opportunity out there if you're creative and flexible and willing to bust your ass. While I never did get that engineering job, I made a few bucks freelancing and even landed a gig at a stage of the Montreal International Jazz Festival one year. Beyond that, I never worked in music, but as one of my day jobs is as a radio reporter, the stuff I learned about audio editing has been a major help to my career. So like I said, be flexible and willing to use the skills you've learned in contexts you haven't considered, and you can make a living.
A related degree or course won't get you a job, or teach you everything that you need to know. But it will help. If you really want to make a go of it then you need to be actively improving your knowledge and skills in your time.
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