Studying Contemporary Music. College recommendations? Is college even really worth it?

<p>Hello there!</p>

<p>I'm in the process of applying to schools to study contemporary/popular music focusing on vocal performance/singer-songwriting.</p>

<p>This is my second time around applying to schools. Last year while I was a senior in high school I had one goal in mind after researching all the popular contemporary music schools and that was to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston. After applying and auditioning I was accepted and on my way towards fulfilling that goal.</p>

<p>Then reality set in around July, which was 2 months before semester started. My parents had to break my heart because of financial reasons. Berklee wasn't helping us at all finically and our loan options would've kept me in debt until I died. </p>

<p>So basically I've been taking a gap year and I'm starting up again with applications. </p>

<p>I know for a fact that I'm applying to University of Colorado Denver and up until tonight I was planning on applying to The New School for Jazz and Contemporary music until I started reading some of the forums on here and started to realized that although contemporary is in the name, the school is definitely focused for more conservatory type jazz studies--but please correct me if i'm wrong.</p>

<p>I'd love to hear anyone else's opinions as far as schools go and also peoples opinion as far as not attending college.</p>

<p>I know for a fact that music is what I am supposed to do with my life but lately its hard to justify that with the idea of college--mostly because of money. Music is a risky thing to spend $30,000 a year on in college. Its certainly not a finically secure degree. So I'm wondering if anyone else who has struggled with this can shed some light on whether or not college is really worth it. </p>

<p>Sorry this has been a mouth full I'm just really hoping to get some new opinions on places to apply and also if anyone has experience from opting out of college that they'd like to share. </p>

<p>Thanks in advance!
McKenna </p>

<p>There is, in fact, great value in studying music. Sure, some artists make it without any formal education, but the vast majority of working musicians have been trained somewhere and songwriters in particular need to understand more about theory than meets the eye.</p>

<p>My wife happens to be a vocal music professor and so I asked her opinion and here are her thought…

  1. Where you study isn’t as important as having a voice teacher you like, respect and will work for When you visit, make sure you get to meet the people most likely to be your private teachers.
  2. While there are some well known schools like Berklee, the truth is that a great education can be found in all kinds of schools…even Community Colleges with good music programs can be great starting points.
  3. The University of North Texas rivals Berklee and offers in-state tuition to students who are on music scholarships there.<br>
  4. While it is often tempting to think ‘bigger is better’…that isn’t always the case when it comes to vocal music. Imagine going to a school that puts on a program that features voice students doing famous opera roles…If you are at a huge school, you will likely be lucky to get a role in the chorus for your first two years, but if you are at a smaller school, you may start with great roles right away.
  5. You just turned me off because I mentioned opera, didn’t you? There is a reason people study opera in college - and it isn’t because they think you will sing opera when you graduate. Opera roles require great vocal dexterity and control…That is applicable to all types of singing. It is how you can watch two singers and almost immediately tell one who is trained versus one who is not even if they are singing a pop song. Opera teaches people to control things like ‘pop scoop’ and runs so that when they are used they are more powerful and have impact.</p>

<p>Good luck in your decision. </p>

<p>Oberlin, Wesleyan, Princeton are all very strong for contemporary music. Mills College in Oakland CA is also good, as is CalArts down LA way.</p>

<p>I’m sorry, I misread–generally “contemporary music” means “modern composition” (a la Elliott Carter, Cage, Feldman, Lucier…folks like that). I don’t know anywhere to study popular singer/songwriter music. It’s not usually the kind of thing people need to study. It’s everywhere, after all, in elevators, grocery stores, car commercials, and shopping malls…everywhere you turn.</p>

<p>I agree - if you want to make it as a musician studying it formally is a great asset. Most working professional musicians today have a degree in music. No degree is really 100% financially secure - some have lower unemployment rates than others. But even a music major can get out there, hustle and get some internships and experience that can lead to better job security. Not only that, but on average college graduates have much lower unemployment rates, higher incomes, and better health than high school graduates. Even if you decide not to major in music in college, you should still pursue a degree if you have the opportunity - even if you just decide to get a technical degree to pay the bills while you are ramping up your career.</p>

<p>However, there’s no reason that you can’t go to a public university or college to study music. Are you a CO student? If not, then you should apply to some in-state options in your own state. </p>