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TEM Blog

The Entrepreneurial Musician Blog by Andrew Hitz featuring articles on being an entrepreneur in the music business. Show notes for The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast.

Beware Schools That Only Make You Better at Following a Path

Andrew Hitz

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

99% of all college music degrees in the world today have curriculums which are designed to help you follow a path better than the next woman or man. And there's a reason for this.

They were all designed many, many decades ago when it was close to impossible for anyone to blaze a trail for themselves.

There were gatekeepers everywhere you looked deciding who was allowed to make an album, who got to write a book and who got to do just about any other artistic endeavor you can think of.

But those people are all gone.

To make matters worse, there are thousands upon thousands of students graduating every single year with music degrees in the United States and all over the world who are being taught these same "just follow the path better than the next person" skills. And they're all competing for the exact same jobs. (A number that is getting smaller with every year that goes by.)

What you have there is a math issue.

What are the odds that you are going to one of the incredibly lucky few who will find a path that's already been cleared and will make a great living, both financially and artistically, as a result? They are not good.

Of course it happens. But you have a shockingly better chance of finding success in the music business (whatever success means to you) by taking Emerson's advice above and leaving your own trail.

Look around at all of the people who are making their own go of it. They are everywhere.

And you certainly have the best chance of success by getting an education that provides you skills for both the "path" and the "trail" approaches to a career.

Once you get out into The Real World™, literally no one gives a crap that you went to Northwestern or that you studied with (insert famous teacher here.) No one.

So if you're looking for a school to attend to be a music major, consider what skills they are offering you as a major factor rather than just going to the famous place or to study with the famous person.

You'll be happy you did.

© 2017 Andrew Hitz Sunrise in The Berkshires which has nothing to do with anything in this post but it's pretty so I threw it in!

© 2017 Andrew Hitz

Sunrise in The Berkshires which has nothing to do with anything in this post but it's pretty so I threw it in!