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  1. #1

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    In reference to the Rick Beato interview with Adam Neely:



    I noticed Jens commented on this.

    Some people on the Forum have made the argument that you should save your money and not go. I think Adam debunks this one pretty well in the video.

    In general, I would suggest to anyone interested in getting into music, try for college BUT - go for a good college. The networking is terribly important, as is the playing experience. If you don't get in, improve your playing and try again.

    People think college is where you learn knowledge - it is not. There is no specialised knowledge that my music college educated colleagues possess which I don't also know, or can find out if required.

    If I suck at playing in 7/8, say, it's not because I haven't been to college. It's cos I haven't practiced 7/8 enough.

    So the flipside is that if you are at college, you need to work. I was quite surprised on moving more into the music world to discover there was such a a thing as a musician who didn't practice 8 hours a day and live and breathe it as a fiery passion, for whom it is simply a job.

    These people might have jazz degrees, but they could hardly be described as jazz musicians.

    I have a couple of friends who teach at college and often find students to be lacking in motivation. I would suggest you might not want to be one of those

    So don't expect to be spoonfed, be a good player already, and go in there with an absence of ego and a desire to make music, and well... I'd do it!

    Anyway - my own story. I didn't go to music college. I don't come from a family of musicians either.

    Just about all of my colleagues did. But I am pretty unusual (I think) as a muso in that I am fairly extrovert - I can make contacts fairly easily in part because I'm just quite friendly. I'm not thinking of making contacts per se.

    It's still hard especially as I'm no longer as willing to spend hours hanging out at jam sessions and gigs as I was 10 years ago. But that's how I made the contacts I made, and that's pretty much how I got all my gigs. Go out, find musicians, play with them.

    One band I play with all have a massive social network from college. I can be in a car, and if it's a trio with a buddy from college and I feel like a third wheel! These ties run really deep. If all their college mates come down to a gig and it's a big hang, I usually make my excuses and leave. No one really wants to make new friends in that environment, they want to talk about the time when .....

    I'd be the same with my uni mates.

    Increasingly the colleges and the jazz performance sector have a tight relationship, so this can affect your career prospects in certain ways.

    Another aspect is I think college (at least in the UK) sounds like it is quite good at modelling the process by which people put together projects. Being a project oriented musician is a very good way to go about a career in jazz performance (it took me a long while to twig this) so this is a very good skill to learn. It's somewhat like art school.

    I say this in full knowledge that some of my colleagues have some serious war stories and the standard of teaching can be variable even at some high profile places (not Berklee though by the sounds of it!) I still think it's important to go.

    As a non college student, what skills do I think I have? Well a few:

    - I feel pretty grounded in the real world. Musicians can come across as spoiled brats without realising it.
    - I have spent portions of my adult life with people who don't like or who are lukewarm towards jazz.
    - I know how non musicians respond to music.
    - I have held down a steady job. And in the end, a big part of this job (jazz guitarist) is sending emails and making phone calls. It's a sales job.
    - I feel a lot more confident about certain things that seem to intimidate many musicians - dealing with the public for example.
    - I feel I have a different perspective, and in my usual bloody minded way I'm determined to make that an integral part of who I am as a player haha.

    I do know a few other players in London who never went to college and I think they all have a unique quality to their playing. But they are older - young non college players are becoming fewer and far between.

    Anyway, my thoughts and experiences....
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-24-2017 at 08:39 PM.

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  3. #2

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    I think you coming from the UK is a very different proposition as far as college goes. People in the US are taking out 30, 50, 100 thousand or more dollars in loans to get degrees in subjects that don't lead to commensurate employment. I'd say at least go to an accredited university where you are leaving with an actual liberal arts degree. I don't understand why people go to Berklee to get a piece of paper that says you played music for 4 years and not much else.

    I went to music school and it was a wonderful experience and your point about making long lasting connections is true. I just have a hard time connecting the value to the price tag for most people.

  4. #3

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    There is that as well. Music is increasingly a game for the wealthy. Fees are increasing in the U.K. not up to US levels though. EU citizens still go and study in Germany and places like that for free though!

    One of the guys I work with went to Berklee on scholarship but I'm not sure how likely that is for US citizens though. Lot of competition I guess.

    I'm aware that a lot of the really good players go for a year or two and then drop out because they are gigging so much. Colleges need these guys on prospectus to look good, so it's all kept quiet at their end.

    But the painful truth is, you need money. Lots of money. That's just the way it is, even here. Most of the jazz players I know, myself included have situations that allow us to work on our stuff and put things out there without a need for immediate financial return.

    This is really not an option for a lot of people.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-25-2017 at 09:49 AM.

  5. #4

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    Yes, I was very happy that Adam said this.

    What is often left out in this discussion is the time you have in College to develop.

    If you study for 4-6 years you are in an environment with a lot of people that are all trying to get better. That means that you have time to develop your own playing and play with a lot of people who are also trying their best to get better. For me that was much more useful than main subject lessons and a diploma. (I have used my diploma once in 12 years...) In many ways that was one of the most fun parts of my life, even if it is really stressful.

    It's hard to discuss the financial aspect since it is different all over the world. However I don't really see anybody who doesn't have a degree doing any gigs around here. I only work with people who have an education except for being hired as a sideman for function gigs by amateurs every now and then (but their level doesn't really compare in anyway to a degree...)

    Having a creative education also means being creative with how you make money, I think that was pretty much always the case.

    I should also point out that since I work at a college I am obviously biased...

    Jens

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by drbhrb
    I think you coming from the UK is a very different proposition as far as college goes. People in the US are taking out 30, 50, 100 thousand or more dollars in loans to get degrees in subjects that don't lead to commensurate employment. I'd say at least go to an accredited university where you are leaving with an actual liberal arts degree. I don't understand why people go to Berklee to get a piece of paper that says you played music for 4 years and not much else.

    I went to music school and it was a wonderful experience and your point about making long lasting connections is true. I just have a hard time connecting the value to the price tag for most people.
    Yes, you have to consider cost in the US. You can start off at community college. College itself is a network. With no higher education it will be an uphill climb in jazz.

  7. #6

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    I don't know what they do in Japan. I would think the jazz scene isn't nearly as tied to schools as it is in the US. Live entertainment is everywhere. Plenty of jazz. I guess musicians have banded together and it's much more closed to foreigners now.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    In reference to the Rick Beato interview with Adam Neely:



    I noticed Jens commented on this.

    Some people on the Forum have made the argument that you should save your money and not go. I think Adam debunks this one pretty well in the video.

    In general, I would suggest to anyone interested in getting into music, try for college BUT - go for a good college. The networking is terribly important, as is the playing experience. If you don't get in, improve your playing and try again.

    People think college is where you learn knowledge - it is not. There is no specialised knowledge that my music college educated colleagues possess which I don't also know, or can find out if required.

    If I suck at playing in 7/8, say, it's not because I haven't been to college. It's cos I haven't practiced 7/8 enough.

    So the flipside is that if you are at college, you need to work. I was quite surprised on moving more into the music world to discover there was such a a thing as a musician who didn't practice 8 hours a day and live and breathe it as a fiery passion, for whom it is simply a job.

    These people might have jazz degrees, but they could hardly be described as jazz musicians.

    I have a couple of friends who teach at college and often find students to be lacking in motivation. I would suggest you might not want to be one of those

    So don't expect to be spoonfed, be a good player already, and go in there with an absence of ego and a desire to make music, and well... I'd do it!

    Anyway - my own story. I didn't go to music college. I don't come from a family of musicians either.

    Just about all of my colleagues did. But I am pretty unusual (I think) as a muso in that I am fairly extrovert - I can make contacts fairly easily in part because I'm just quite friendly. I'm not thinking of making contacts per se.

    It's still hard especially as I'm no longer as willing to spend hours hanging out at jam sessions and gigs as I was 10 years ago. But that's how I made the contacts I made, and that's pretty much how I got all my gigs. Go out, find musicians, play with them.

    One band I play with all have a massive social network from college. I can be in a car, and if it's a trio with a buddy from college and I feel like a third wheel! These ties run really deep. If all their college mates come down to a gig and it's a big hang, I usually make my excuses and leave. No one really wants to make new friends in that environment, they want to talk about the time when .....

    I'd be the same with my uni mates.

    Increasingly the colleges and the jazz performance sector have a tight relationship, so this can affect your career prospects in certain ways.

    Another aspect is I think college (at least in the UK) sounds like it is quite good at modelling the process by which people put together projects. Being a project oriented musician is a very good way to go about a career in jazz performance (it took me a long while to twig this) so this is a very good skill to learn. It's somewhat like art school.

    I say this in full knowledge that some of my colleagues have some serious war stories and the standard of teaching can be variable even at some high profile places (not Berklee though by the sounds of it!) I still think it's important to go.

    As a non college student, what skills do I think I have? Well a few:

    - I feel pretty grounded in the real world. Musicians can come across as spoiled brats without realising it.
    - I have spent portions of my adult life with people who don't like or who are lukewarm towards jazz.
    - I know how non musicians respond to music.
    - I have held down a steady job. And in the end, a big part of this job (jazz guitarist) is sending emails and making phone calls. It's a sales job.
    - I feel a lot more confident about certain things that seem to intimidate many musicians - dealing with the public for example.
    - I feel I have a different perspective, and in my usual bloody minded way I'm determined to make that an integral part of who I am as a player haha.

    I do know a few other players in London who never went to college and I think they all have a unique quality to their playing. But they are older - young non college players are becoming fewer and far between.

    Anyway, my thoughts and experiences....
    I was hoping people outside the US would go another way. Jazz isn't going to be de-institutionalized any time soon where I am.
    People here generally think jazz is college music and they don't want to hear it. That's just jazz.
    Top 40 in the southwest is stronger than in many other places. The 'cover' bands aren't very imaginative but some are good. They're full of Berkley grads.
    It's literally impossible to run live music venues in urban areas here. The reasons are complicated. More and more live music is something college people do.
    It's pretty wack.
    Go to college to do Justin Bieber covers.

  9. #8

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    Yup, so everyone who goes to music school gets connections and then has a viable music career....that is so much bullshit it's really not funny.

    It's not true for all the ones who don't find work. Get real and look at the enrollment numbers in school, those who graduated, those that dropped out due to debt and look at the number of career opportunities and the numbers don't jive. There will never be enough work to provide employment for all available qualified musicians.

    Most of us couldn't find a weekly $50 jazz gig to buy food if our kids were starving. I know Berklee grads who had to drive garbage trucks, work at Walmart to make ends meet. Most admit they didn't have a clue how they were going to support themselves with a performance degree, they just figured things would just fall into place. How smart is that??

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Yup, so everyone who goes to music school gets connections and then has a viable music career....that is so much bullshit it's really not funny.

    It's not true for all the ones who don't find work. Get real and look at the enrollment numbers in school, those who graduated, those that dropped out due to debt and look at the number of career opportunities and the numbers don't jive. There will never be enough work to provide employment for all available qualified musicians.

    Most of us couldn't find a weekly $50 jazz gig to buy food if our kids were starving. I know Berklee grads who had to drive garbage trucks, work at Walmart to make ends meet. Most admit they didn't have a clue how they were going to support themselves with a performance degree, they just figured things would just fall into place. How smart is that??
    That's not what I am saying...

    I am saying that I don't really know anybody without a degree that has work. If you want to support yourself you chances are thousands of times better if you have a degree than if you don't.

    That doesn't mean that an education is making sure you do work. That is no guarantee in any profession to the best of my knowledge. It certainly isn't in jazz music around here. I know a lot of people that graduated that don't work with music at all.

    Playing music for a living is a horrible career choice always has and probably always will, it's just that not having done an education makes it even worse.

    Jens

  11. #10

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    If you go to a good college you have less likely-hood of being in a year that just wants to piss around.

    As I understand it the people in your year will affect your own work ethic, and you want a hungry year - at least that's what I gather from conversations with a conservatoire professor I had last year. Seems to make sense.

    Anyway, in my everyday musical life people just assume I went to college, if they don't know better. 95-99% of the working musicians I know have.

    There is one young guitarist I can think of who is an art school graduate. He is a good hustler (:-)), outgoing guy and an excellent player and appears to be doing better than a lot of college graduates who sit at home practicing.

    I think you could do better than an introverted college graduate if like him, you have slick interpersonal skills and have the sales thing down pat like he does. If you are also a strong player and a nice guy, you will get calls from others too. But, I think you will need those skills anyway.

    Going back to 2000, there were quite a few young musicians who were influential on the scene who had degrees in things like History and Politics and so on. If I understand Adam correctly he is saying that the trend was skewed sharply towards a grads only scene, and I would say there is evidence to support this.

    I think in London as well, it's historically been a little more relaxed. In places like France AFAIK it's always been more geared towards qualifications. What you qualify in is what you do!

    Anyway, it's not bad finding gigs here in London. The difficulty lies in finding official teaching work - I think lack of a degree is one reason to narrow down the selection process. *forges Guildhall degree certificate* But if you have a personal recommendation, that doesn't really matter necessarily.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-26-2017 at 07:23 AM.

  12. #11

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    As said some places are easier to do this than others. Here in Denmark you don't pay for school and even get paid 800€ in pocket change monthly, while you study

  13. #12

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    some pro-college points to consider for me would be:

    1. The chance to study in a very focused and intense environment with like-minded people. Great teachers, lots of material and inspiration. In a big school, you re easily looking at 25 hours per week of classes. You ll spend 4 years doing a thorough study of the instrument, harmony, arrangement, composition, ear training, etc.. its VERY hard to do all that by yourself. If serious, you ll get to a point where you can hold your own in the styles that interest you, or if you decide to follow something other than performing, but still music related, you 'll have some abilities and knowledge for it.

    2. Networking. Can't be a musician without it, that's the way this profession works. You meet people, play, etc.

    2. Bachelor 's degree. Something to fall back to. It's easy to do a scholarship masters degree after basic college if your grades are good, and follow up on that if that's your thing.

    I could go on. For someone considering seriously to pursue music, i don't see what they lose if they attend a music college. They only gain stuff. If the question is, does it ensure making it as a professional musician, or is it required, of course not, but it sure does help. If you look even at the very top level of recording and performing artists, between colleges, seminars and workshops, jazz today is almost as much an educational endeavor as it is a playing one.
    Last edited by Alter; 04-26-2017 at 08:27 AM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    As said some places are easier to do this than others. Here in Denmark you don't pay for school and even get paid 800€ in pocket change monthly, while you study
    Wow!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I could go on. For someone considering seriously to pursue music, i don't see what they lose if they attend a music college.
    Large sums of money in the UK. Larger sums of money in the US.

    They only gain stuff. If the question is, does it ensure making it as a professional musician, or is it required, of course not, but it sure does help. If you look even at the very top level of recording and performing artists, between colleges, seminars and workshops, jazz today is almost as much an educational endeavor as it is a playing one.
    Well it's mostly budding jazz musicians who listen to contemporary jazz.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    As said some places are easier to do this than others. Here in Denmark you don't pay for school and even get paid 800€ in pocket change monthly, while you study
    With programs like this it's little wonder that so many of the best musicians, and certainly technicians, are coming out of Europe. If in fact a college background is almost a necessity today for a successful working musician, either jazz or pop/cover, that puts the American at a disadvantage. So what's an American musician to do? Go into heavy or even moderate student debt to play Justin Bieber tunes or cruise ship jazz or just concentrate on artistic development and find their own way which is what Americans have always been best at anyway.
    Last edited by mrcee; 04-26-2017 at 12:12 PM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    With programs like this it's little wonder that so many of the best musicians, and certainly technicians, are coming out of Europe. If in fact a college background is almost a necessity today for a working musician, either jazz or pop/cover, that puts the American at a disadvantage. So what's an American musician to do? Go into heavy or even moderate student debt to play Justin Bieber tunes or cruise ship jazz or just concentrate on artistic development and find their own way which is what Americans have always been best at anyway.
    I suspect that Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia is not really the norm for Europe .. and we do tend to pay a lot in tax

    Still just wanted point out the difference in backgrounds we have ... Here the true cost of going to music school is an opportunity cost. You lose the opportunity for that same arrangement studying medicin, law or economics instead of music. So when a Scandinavian writes that there is absolutely no reason not to go to music school, It is a very different statement from when an American writes it.
    Last edited by Lobomov; 04-26-2017 at 12:26 PM.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    I suspect that Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia is not really the norm for Europe .. and we do tend to pay a lot in tax

    Still just wanted point out the difference in backgrounds we have ... Here the true cost of going to music school is an opportunity cost. You lose the opportunity for that same arrangement studying medicin, law or economics instead of music. So when a Scandinavian writes that there is absolutely no reason not to go to music school, It is a very different statement from when an American writes it.
    Very true, but it's good to have the opportunity. As an American, who's around a lot of Europeans, I notice that the average European is much better educated than the American. We have our own strengths that's for sure but being well educated, for the average person, isn't one of them.

  19. #18

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    perhaps there's some truth in that, but when jazz is concerned, growing up in the US really gives you an opportunity to be in contact with the roots of the music, and all the idioms that preceded it and influenced it. Also to be exposed to modern, top level jazz frequently.

    It sure costs a lot to study in the US, but there are also many scholarships and financial aid opportunities. You can work part time too. Me having a European background, i see the field of education in the US as something that should be more accessible and funded by the state (same with health insurance and pension plans ), but of course that's a bigger issue..

  20. #19

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    Yeah, after coming back from New York, I feel we are very far from the source here, especially rhythmically.

    Really like having socialised healthcare tho haha...

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by drbhrb
    I think you coming from the UK is a very different proposition as far as college goes. People in the US are taking out 30, 50, 100 thousand or more dollars in loans to get degrees in subjects that don't lead to commensurate employment. I'd say at least go to an accredited university where you are leaving with an actual liberal arts degree. I don't understand why people go to Berklee to get a piece of paper that says you played music for 4 years and not much else.
    What is a liberal arts degree worth? If one of my kids wanted to go into music performance, I'd say get a bankable degree like engineering, then do what you want.

  22. #21

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    I'd say get a bankable degree like engineering, then do what you want
    hehe, that's me right there , wouldn't advise it though, cause it takes a toll on your life, i think it's better to focus early

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter

    It sure costs a lot to study in the US, but there are also many scholarships and financial aid opportunities. You can work part time too. Me having a European background, i see the field of education in the US as something that should be more accessible and funded by the state (same with health insurance and pension plans ), but of course that's a bigger issue..
    Loan opportunities, yes. Scholarship opportunties, not so much. If you look at it on a cost vs earnings-potential benefit basis, it's very hard to justify an arts education in the US. Fortunately for the arts, almost no one looks at it in these terms, but perhaps not so fortunately for the artists, who frequently graduate with more debt than they're likely to earn in the first few years of working. It's brutal, and very difficult for young people to navigate.

    John

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    As said some places are easier to do this than others. Here in Denmark you don't pay for school and even get paid 800€ in pocket change monthly, while you study
    WHAT!!!! Music college or not?Music college or not?Music college or not?

    Can a middle aged man from the US do that?!!! I'm going to Denmark!

    My wife has student loan payments scheduled not to be paid off until she is in her sixties. She graduated at 26. That is not an exaggeration or hyperbole.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #24

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    Can I get a job teaching trap mumble rap?

    Panda,
    Panda


  26. #25

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    Just go to college.