I’ve only been involved in a total of three classes so my answer is bound to change, but do I think music college is worth it? The answer to this question varies for different people, but I’ll do my best to answer it for myself.
One big objection people have is that the same information is available online. A self-disciplined person can go far by just watching videos and getting their hands dirty. In fact, there are a lot of successful producers and musicians that are completely self taught: Zedd, Skrillex, and Madeon, for instance. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and David Bowie were as well, and that was before the internet age. So, what am I really gaining for all my trouble?
A few months ago while touring Hennepin Technical College, I asked the assistant professor that same thing: “Why would I go to college when the information is available online?” I wasn’t expecting a good answer, but he had one. “Some people can learn that way,” he said, “But others, like me, thrive in a structured environment.” I instantly resonated with that. I had been out of college for years, and despite having access to all this knowledge, I wasn’t thriving. I had gotten a lot better, but at a slow pace, and there was a lot more I wanted to improve on. For years I said I wanted to learn piano, but after sporadic and halfhearted attempts to learn online, I gave up. Only when I started lessons did I consistently improved.
But still, wouldn’t learning to be self-disciplined be easier than paying thousands of dollars? Yes, and it’s possible for anyone to become self disciplined. The thing is, I’m not only going to school to be a better musician and producer, although that’s a big part of it. I’m also looking to gain the benefits of a degree. My current career path is kind of uncertain, and one of the reasons I like this program is that I’ll have options I wouldn’t have otherwise. After getting my bachelor’s, it wouldn’t take much longer to get my teaching certificate or my music therapy license. Also, a lot of the music business stuff is interesting to me, and in my classes I’m required to do things that I could later put on a resumé. In short, it’s forcing me to get better and expand my career options.
All that being said, I’m kind of playing it by ear. So far my classes have been useful and I really enjoy what we’re doing, but I’m taking it one semester at a time. Maybe I’ll go full time in the Spring and then get my degree. Maybe I’ll drop out after a couple of semesters and move to the cities. I don’t know the whole game, just my next move.