I was sitting in one of my college performance classes, waiting to speak to the professor. As I waited, another student was speaking to him, asking him questions. This student, my peer, was one of the fastest and most precise musicians in the tiny class and he knew it. Yet he was asking our professor for advice-career advice and course of study. Should he study business or performance?
“Well,” said my professor. “Do you know how to play your instrument? Are your auditions and gigs going well?”
The answer was yes.
“Well, you already know how to play.”
Basically, his advice was…why pay thousands of dollars for the college to tell you that you know how to play, when you already do? He advised the student to study music business instead.
I don’t want to disclose who the professor was, but let’s just say that he is no newcomer to the music industry. He was an amazing teacher, but also a world renowned musician.
I knew many students who studied production or marketing related to their performance skills, but continued to get gigs, record, be on TV or film, etc. I also knew students who were studying performance but had already had their own agent, been on TV (for acting especially), or were performing with Grammy award winning acts.
So the question became…exactly what my professor asked. If you’re already signed or booked or the face on the TV…do you need a school to confirm it?
Yet there are performers who became stronger while in school and, upon graduating, really took off.
Many have also found it necessary to have a degree in performance for classical music, even when working on the business side. The knowledge of classical music can outweigh the other experience?
I want to hear from you. Mainly focusing on music, but if you want to have your say as an actor or dancer, etc, that’s fine, too!
I’d love to get your opinion on this poll. Leave a comment here or follow on Twitter and let me know! I hope you don’t mind, I may follow up to quote you for my final article.
Are you a professional performer? Why or why not? Did you feel it was necessary to earn a certificate or degree in your performance, or did you just go for it?
Especially in this economy, when the price tag of college is in question…and when arts education programs are being tossed left and right…
…what do you think?