Studying at a high level in an area you’re passionate about seems like a perfect fit but is it really?
A music degree sounds like a great idea, surrounded by like-minded people, lots of networking events and high-quality tuition to take your playing to the next level, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.
Hopefully, this will help you decide if it’s for you.
Networking is a huge part of the music industry and going to a music uni is a great way to build contacts.
You’re surrounded by like-minded people all wanting to learn and become better musicians, so there are lots of playing opportunities. No matter what you’re into, you’re more than likely to cross paths with someone who has the same musical goals as you, and you never know where someone might end up.
But networking doesn’t just stop with fellow students.
The tutors have done and currently work in the areas you want to go into. They have a great understanding of the industry and are more than happy to give advice and help you achieve your goals. They’re also session players, producers and Musical Directors who all know people in the industry, so it’s a good idea to let them know what you’re about.
A big part of music uni, of course, involves practising/playing your instrument.
A good way to think about music uni is that you’ve got 2-3 years where you can practice for long periods of time in a practice space. There’s no need to worry about annoying anyone when practising, and you’ve got the time to work on a large variety of concepts. You also get the chance to learn another instrument and work on your music theory, both of which will help you become a more rounded musician.
As well as this, you have specific classes on performance where you learn how to become a better performer by playing live with new musicians almost weekly. These classes cover different genres and will force you to play styles you’ve never played before. This combined with the possible hours of practice means you could improve massively over a short period of time, as long as you put the work in.
There are many pros to music uni but there are also as many cons.
Free practice rooms
Time to work on your playing
1:1 with industry professionals
Student Discounts (Pub)
Moving away from home
Lots of high-quality musicians to play with
The biggest pro, in my opinion, would be as mentioned before, you have access to practise rooms pretty much whenever you like and can have focused practice sessions not needing to worry about annoying your family/neighbours. You also get given lots of material to practice so will always have something to work on.
Another positive that might not necessarily be seen by many as a pro is that with some unis you have to move away from home to study. Of course, this is a negative, but it also forces you to be more independent and take things into your own hands which is important to do as you get older.
Have to find accommodation, can get expensive
Fees- £9,000-£11,000 depending on the uni
Lots of distractions (Pub)
Essay writing can affect creativity
Moving away from home
As with all things, money comes into studying for any degree and you could find yourself paying thousands of pounds for arguably something you could learn on youtube or with a private tutor.
Another thing some people forget is that although it’s a music degree there is still a large amount of writing to do. You have modules where you do no playing whatsoever and have to produce 1000 word essays. These modules can get very tedious and kill your passion, so this is something to think about before applying.
All things considered, music uni can be very helpful in your progress as a musician but it’s not for everyone. Many of the worlds best musicians didn’t study for years in a classroom they were out gigging and learnt their trade in that way.
So the best advice would be to go check out the different music unis and see if any of them work for you and your goals.
Hope this helps,