Many students pick up an instrument or try singing for the high school music band as a hobby.
However, very few are passionate and driven enough to make a career out of their favorite instrument when they move out of school.
If you are one of those few and want to go to college to get a music degree then here are a couple of things you should consider before taking this crucial decision.
College applications are notoriously long anyways and if you add a music major on top of that then you might have to jump through some extra hoops to get admitted.
Almost all colleges will require an application essay, an audition of some sort and other items like test scores or interviews.
If you are planning to get a degree in music and want to be part of the choir/band make sure to follow all guidelines for auditions.
You should also mention your interests in music in the application essay and follow the common essay writing guidelines.
University rankings usually depend on the reputation of the institution and the type of graduates it produces. Many students consider a college’s ranking when narrowing down their study destination.
When majoring in the arts, your university’s reputation matters even more, probably a lot more than you think.
Since only a few make it big in the music industry, the network becomes quite tight-knit. The perception of your abilities can instantly change once you mention your school before music production companies or at the time of auditions.
So, pay close attention to rankings for your school and how well the alumni are doing because there can be a lot going on behind the scenes.
The last thing you would want is to not even be able to get your foot in the door because of the perceived quality of your formal education.
While most people assume that music majors or music-degree holders perform in choirs and orchestras, the lesser-known fact remains that a music degree can be very versatile when applied correctly.
You need to consider what area of music and what field you want to go for in the real world.
You can do more than just a performing career and even pursue careers like sound engineering or songwriting depending on your creativity and interests.
Some people even pursue specialized careers related to their musical interests such as copyright lawyers who create contracts for musicians.
Careers in performing arts are hard to come by and extremely competitive.
While you can make more money going the non-performing route such as teaching music, going into communications or becoming a sound engineer, you should not do that just for the money.
If you are truly passionate about performing then you should pursue it even though there is less job security.
The fulfillment from your chosen career path ranks a lot higher than job security and you will be happy if you decided to follow your dreams.
But to be honest, instruments and student loans for college are both expensive and can quickly make you worry about finances.
However, many institutions and organizations recognize this, which is why they offer more funds and scholarships as incentives to continue your music education.
Your college life will be full of auditions, performances, rehearsals, recitals and lessons. You will face many rejections and spend countless hours practicing your craft while juggling other school work.
Additionally, if you are planning on being a part of the musical theater troupe at your college, then you will be in rehearsals late at night only to find more homework assignments waiting for you when you get home.
You will also get the chance to train your ear and perfect the instrument you have spent so much time practicing.
If all of this sounds equally amazing and stressful then you are indeed choosing the right degree for yourself.
Type of Degree
There are many degrees you can get even just within the music major depending on the type of school you are attending.
For example, you can get a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Music depending on the career you are looking for.
To prepare for a career in the music industry other than being a singer or performer, like a music copyright lawyer, you should go for a Bachelor of Science in Music.
You can even get dual degrees if you want a degree to fall back on in case your art career does not pan out as expected. For example, many colleges offer joint programs between an art school and a business school or a teaching program.
Many of these dual degree programs are designed so that you can still graduate within four years instead of extending your time.
Choosing your music degree wisely will allow you to transition from roles easily if you ever feel the need or are forced to. Additionally, you can also choose to add music as a concentration or minor instead of making it your major.
Finally, deciding what to do after high school is hard and it can even take all your college life to realize what you want from life.
Take your time and allow yourself to discover and explore new avenues that you have always wanted to pursue.
Moreover, if you find that what you had always wanted to do is ultimately not the right path for you, then find something related to your dream career.
There are many ways to enter an industry and what worked for someone else might not work for you.
Enjoy college, make connections and practice your talent as much as you can because your student life will be over before you know it.