After my last post, I got a few emails that made me think perhaps I need to clarify a few things. A few high school students wrote and asked if I thought they should just do a self study program in music rather than going to college.
I would not recommend that path if you can afford college. Here is why:
1) A college degree may become less important in the future, but it is still important now for credibility. Yes, you can probably overcome not having a college degree with some opportunities but not all of them. Especially if you want to teach, a degree will greatly help you.
Yes, you can learn just as much outside of college, but the unfortunate truth is that credibility is very important. You can’t fight it. Your degree will probably pay for itself many times over in the course of your career even if you don’t learn a thing.
2) As I mentioned yesterday, there are benefits to the structure, the chances to perform and the chances to collaborate with other musicians. These are extremely important. Many young people cannot get these opportunities outside of college.
3) College life is good in other ways besides learning.
I was actually gearing my thoughts the other day toward another group of people–those past college age who don’t think they have opportunities to learn any more. Don’t give up on learning.
When you think about it, college is just a small piece of life and the learning experience. Over your lifetime, you can absorb many times the amount of information you absorbed in college. You can learn faster and can decide for yourself what you want to learn (rather than being at the mercy of a dean of arts who makes those decisions for you).
My point was that the information is available more readily than any point in history. You just have to decide you want to pursue it. College is not the end of learning; it should be the beginning.