Most musicians who have engaged in or were part of music academia go out with mixed, yet interesting feelings across a wide range of areas.
Among some, there’s a peculiar saying that goes: : „We’re working on not finishing“ – meaning the onset of success and musical emancipation prior to completing one’s studies.
Studying music in an institution can be a great thing, and i’ve made more than a few exceptional experiences and encounters, studying music and deepening my knowledge.
But, there are also some factors that are important to adress when talking about this subject – factors that run danger of limiting your musical development, experience and overall fun.
And while all of these pointers are very subjective, they helped me get the most out of my musical schooling – inside and outside of musical academia. So let’s start:
Laying off the dogmatics
Dogmatics are the reason things start sounding square, calculated and school-like.
Dogmatics disregard areas and ideas that lie outside of their focus of interest.
So, an important part of making your way through music school is ignoring all tendencies that lean towards dogmatics. This can be the way certain musicians or styles are categorised, they way music is labeled as good or less good.
Dogmatics often get in the way of raw musicality.
Discovering own, pragmatical usage
Going to music school with a clear vision of what you want is immensely important.
The danger of floating around – due to the sheer amount of stuff to learn – is evident. You’ll be able to avoid that by going in with a a vision:
What do you want to learn; where lie your initial interests; how are you going to implement that within the music you are already doing
Just some questions to think about.
Identifying like-minded peers
Grabbing some solid theory is definitely part of the deal – but not the only one.
Identifying like-minded peers let’s you set up your own „scene“ early in the experience. You’ll have to work with these guys and girls in ensembles and class. Try to pro-actively talk to students and find out with whom you might resonate, where the common denominators lie.
Building a peripheral knowledge base
Music institutions are catching up, offering classes across a variety of fields like marketing and artist self-management.
Still, you should build your own peripheral knowledge base. Acquire knowledge on how to get your music out there, once you’re done with your learning experience.
This is incredibly vital: Many students focus on craft and are shocked to realize the importance of these „soft skills“ later on.
Also – learning how to pitch your music without being a nag, generally diving into an information pool surrounding music is incredibly important.
So, build your peripheral knowledge base and expand all facets.
Preserving strong naturalistic tendencies
The thing most people will criticize about their experience in academia: If you don’t watch out, there is a definite chance of neglecting your own, musical identity, chasing after a new skill-set and diverse musical craftsmanship.
Try preserving strong naturalistic tendencies – meaning the unfiltered, un-analyzed production of playful content.
Know when to unleash the child, and when the college kid!