going to school for music

Not many people know besides some friends, but I dropped out of high school at 16. I struggled with keeping up in classes, and it led to the decision that I might fare better in a more mature environment (community college? lol). I got my GED, and then I spent 1.5 yrs at a local community college. I ended up transferring my cc credits to Berklee College of Music. I dropped out of Berklee about 6 credits from completing my degree.

still walked a commencement though! c2016

The reason why I dropped out of college: I flunked a pretty detrimental class and in result that staggered my remaining credits. What was supposed to be an extra summer in Boston, became TWO extra part-time years in Boston. That’s about an extra $20,000+ in intuition and living costs, and I could only take 2 credits per semester due to the sequential course material.

There was no way I could afford it. After talking with several of my teachers and also my department chair, there was nothing they could do to consolidate my credits and help me get out of Boston sooner.

So I made the quick decision to just screw it all and drop out. I had opportunity in LA, I had a career waiting for me. At that point I felt pretty slighted, and pretty unhelped.

If you were to ask me today whether a program like Berklee was worth it, i would say no. It’s a similar answer to whether being an assistant is worth it. If you’re not comfortable having your music judged based on arbitrary grading criteria, music school is not for you.

My Berklee experience fluctuated between really loving my classes (usually video game music classes), and really hating my whole purpose there. I didn’t know what i was doing, i didn’t like what i was doing, I felt like most of my classes were trivial and i rarely connected with any of my teachers.

honestly, I was a pretty horrible student. bad grades. half-assed assignments. What got me in trouble most of the time was that I didn’t think of rules as set in stone, i thought of rules as guidelines.  I was knee-deep in loans, going to a school I hated. When I think back, the whole thing was bad idea.

How has this affected me? Not having a degree hasn’t deprived me of getting jobs, especially in the kind of industry that’s in Los Angeles (people with three degrees are….yes, also working for $40k/yr). But if I want to work at larger companies somewhere, or maybe switch careers, being degree-less makes the process a lot harder.

After much discussion with my parents, and mostly due to my mom’s insistence, I decided to re-enroll in Berklee this year. I had to switch my major to something else that would allow me to take my remaining classes remotely. I’m no longer a Bachelor of Music in Film Scoring candidate, but I’m a Bachelor of Music in Professional Music candidate.

Half of the course work I’ve already done in my real life (writing a business plan, making a resume, applying for job listings, making business cards, looking for contacts etc). This stuff is so easy!

It’s almost like I got to the real world, and realized there were much better things to hate than teachers and homework (like being overworked, the gender income gap, lack of diversity, not having enough money to eat, etc).

Did all I need was a bit of real-life experience to enjoy and do well in college?

I learned so much in real life, through hard work and tears, and it sucked…School did not prepare me for that. Actually, I didn’t learn much in school. I learned most of my stuff on my own….

ok yeah don’t go to school for music. Instead register for lynda.com

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