Posted by Jay Bertolet on August 26, 1999 at 08:06:28:
In Reply to: Performance vs. Education posted by John Visel on August 25, 1999 at 21:58:47:
I've posted my views before on this question so I'll try to be brief:
I've always felt like you go to college to train for whatever job you want to do the rest of your life. I know you can also go to college to amass knowledge and expose yourself to new ideas but you can do that at any time in your life so it seems prudent to me that your first college experiences should be targeted at establishing your livelyhood, giving yourself a viable platform to branch out from. Certainly, successfully pursuing a performance career is a very difficult thing but it can and does happen. I really believe that it is a mistake to take a degree as a "fallback position". The last thing the world needs are teachers (or anything else) who would rather be doing something else. I feel that whatever career you choose for yourself you should dedicate yourself to being the very best at it and immerse yourself in the training to accomplish that goal. That means eliminating all distractions, including any courses that are not targeted toward making you a better performer. I really believe that it is this kind of focus that will lead to success. Have others been successful without that level of focus? Absolutely! So, choosing your own path to success may be as simple as accurately determining what you can and can't do under certain circumstances. I would caution anyone who pursues a performance career, while leaving themselves a "fallback position", about man's natural tendency to take the path of least resistance. In that light, I think it makes the accomplishments of performers who have pursued degrees other than performance all that much more impressive. I believe that the comments you've heard from my esteemed colleagues about the relative worth of a performance degree need to be put in context to be understood. Many college degrees (but a continually shrinking number!) offer the prospect of instant employment if you successfully complete them. But more and more degrees are not as important as the training you received in completing the degree. Music performance is one such case where your number of degrees means absolutely nothing when you're being considered for a performance job. Obviously, the test is how well you perform. So, in that respect, a performance degree really is worthless and even more so if you didn't train properly to be able to compete for employment after the completion of the degree.
Before you decide what degree to pursue, you must decide what career will make you happy. That will provide a direction which you can follow and with which you can make intelligent decisions. Good luck!