I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Why Mark Twain has more to do with success in the music industry than you think.
I have a confession to make. I’ve always been good at school. Ever since I can remember, school was easy for me. Naturally, I was a nerd and in retrospect I like to think of myself as a cool nerd. When I joined bands in high school, I got surprised looks from classmates who had never seen a side of me outside of the classroom. Up on stage, I was a rock god. Back in the classroom, still a nerd.
College was not a decision. I know many successful people in the music industry who have either not attended college, dropped out, or attended college for a completely unrelated subject… say English, Psychology, or Communication. All I can speak on is my own experience and what I have learned in my career. (YMMV: Your Mileage may vary)
I read Mark Twain’s quote above as advice: Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.
Always be learning – even out of the classroom, heck- especially out of the classroom. This is where the best learning happens. In high school, I was bored because I wasn’t learning what I wanted to. I took every opportunity in school to do projects involving music, played in my HS’ jazz band, took music appreciation classes, sang in chorus.. I even made up my own class senior year where I researched the history of recorded music. Outside of class, all bets are off.
Remember, the internet is not simply a world of entertainment. It is a universe of knowledge – take advantage of it. This is where your generation will have power unknown to previous ones. I cannot underestimate this. Whatever it is that you are interested in – google it! It’s that easy. Want to learn how to play an instrument or see what a record label looks like? Want to know what a record producer or a manager or a booking agent really do? The world is literally at your finger tips.
This generation of digital natives will know and use technology to extents I can’t even fathom. (please use it for good, not evil). In my experience, college was a phenomenal experience. But most of my learning took place outside of the classroom. Granted, those experiences would never have occured if I wasn’t in college, but never the less you must take initiative to find opportunities to learn and explore. Even if you don’t attend school for a music specific major, find bands, find like minded people who enjoy the same music you do, find venues to work at, find studios to intern at, turn your dorm room into a studio.(i did it – link to photo).
Don’t say no to any opportunity. Soak it in like a sponge. Get involved in clubs. If you record music, put it online. If you start a label, put it online. If you saw an awesome band put it online. Start a website where you talk about your music, label, and that awesome band. Share it with friends. Start something. Build something. This is where the real education happens. Outside of the assigned reading, 3 hour lectures, and 10 page papers – you will find plenty of time to do interesting stuff.