Whether you’ve been inspired by Freddie Mercury, Eric Clapton, or Bob Dylan, pursuing a career in music can be an exciting journey of discovery and self-expression.
And, if you simply can’t imagine dedicating your life to something other than music, investing in a specialized college education will definitely be worth it.
But this choice isn’t free of risks and challenges. And, understanding what’s ahead can help you make the right decision to achieve your future goals.
Start with the pros, cons, and tips below.
Pros of Studying Music at College
If you have always wanted to be an instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, editor, or composer, opting for a Bachelor’s Degree in music can have many benefits – including increasing your expected salary to $52,250 (for composers) and $30.50 per hour (for instrumentalists).
Some of the advantages of studying music at college include:
Study resources like this music quiz are available to help you receive quality materials from students who are doing the same.
Offer internationally-recognized industry accreditations
Can help you build a strong curriculum from the start
Is crucial to establish a reliable industry network (which might boost your career)
Provides well-rounded education in multiple aspects of music
It gives your access to one-to-one and group training
It offers exposure to multiple genres and allows you to research and experiment with different studies
Cons of Studying Music at College
While pursuing a college degree in music can be a great option for most musicians-in-the-making, it is not strictly necessary to follow your passion. After all, there are plenty of famous musicians without a college education!
Some of the downsides of investing in a college degree in music include:
College education can be more expensive than self-teaching or taking classes
The competition for scholarships at prestigious colleges can be extremely fierce
While music degrees can give your career a boost, they won’t guarantee performance or jobs opportunities
While the sector is growing, musicians may struggle to find paid gigs
Salaries can be unpredictable and uneven
The success of performance-based music graduates will also rest on their talent and marketing abilities
3 Tips For a Better College Experience When Studying Music
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the music industry is experiencing an 11% year-on-year growth, with nearly 21,000 new job openings for musicians and singers available each year.
Here are some key tips to enjoy a better college experience, avoid common pitfalls, and kickstart your career.
Paying Off Your Student Loans After You Graduate
A Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts or Music can be expensive. On average, undergraduate tuition costs range from $10,000 to $35,000 a year, without accounting for housing and living expenses. However, if you are looking to attend prestigious colleges such as the Berklee College of Music or the Juilliard School, costs can be as high as $70,162 and $71,780 respectively.
Before diving into this choice, it is important to understand how your student loan debt will impact your future career. These tips can help:
Research the average salary for professionals in your field
Use this calculator to understand your repayment rates and terms
Tap into scholarships, savings, grants, and financial assistance programs to reduce your loan’s burden
Choosing Wisely Between a Minor and a Major in Music
While there is no doubt about the importance of music classes in college, you don’t necessarily need to make music your major to take advantage of the benefits of this discipline.
Indeed, as minors, music history, technology, composing, or performance can complement your major and provide a more comprehensive education that will open up more career paths.
Pick Your College or Conservatory Mindfully
Some of the greatest benefits of attending college to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in music is that your experience will provide you with the international accreditation and network needed to kickstart your career.
However, to reap the advantages of this choice, make sure to choose an institution that is highly accredited and well-known, and that has been delivering high rates of success among past students and alumni.
Bottom Line: Should You Study Music at College
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” formula that will tell you whether going to college or opting for another path is the best option for your career in the music industry.
However, if you are truly passionate about teaching, playing, or composing music, investing in yourself is always worth it – even if you don’t do so in college!