JK Drum Solutions: Drum Set Instruction, Transcriptions and Educational Podcasts
Drum Set Education Resources

Affording the Higher Education Paradigm

   The Higher Ed Paradigm insists that you take out hefty loans in the name of being sellable to future employers.  As more and more people are finishing collegiate study in bloody hock, questions invariably arise like, "What am I really getting out of a degree?" or "Do I even need one?" While many careers and industries do require collegiate achievment, music education is not worth going you should go in to hock particularly if there are far more affordable alternatives. So for aspiring musicians the big question is do you need a degree to be a working/performing musician and the the answer is no you don't. But if you do get one you can certainly make the most of it and it does not need to come only from a venue with a prestigious name. As I teach near Boston, I am often asked by graduating high school drum students about applying to Berklee School of Music. If you are going to study for performance, private education, music business or even audio engineering, I'm not sure such a school is the best place to be for the money you'd spend. Way too much fluff. There are reasons why one may need a school like Berklee - if you are going in to film/t.v. scoring or perhaps some aspects of production where having access to state-of-the-art facilities provide exposure you can't find from any school, internship or job.

   So if you want to be a music teacher in school systems, a music therapist or otherwise empower yourself with music theory, history or even music business...why not check your state or college programs or even local community colleges that are sure to be FAR more affordable and likely just as effective. Example: Schenectady County Community College

   So let's do the number crunching: see Cost of Attendance for 2017–2018 from the Berklee School of Music site where you are looking at an astounding $59-64 a year! What can they possibly teach you for music that would justify over $225K for a 4 year degree?!

   EDUCATION: Figure you study with a teacher who is commensurate with the level of instruction at Berklee.  Say they charge $75 per hour lesson and you'll take 50 lessons in a given year - that's $3,750. Add the cost of books, dvds, sticks and the like...let's match Berklee's $500. TOTAL: $4,250. This total is also around a general level you would pay most community college music programs!

   ROOM & BOARD: As a post-high school graduate it is more likely you will have a housemate should you rent an apartment.  Let's be conservative and assume a slightly expensive cost here at $600 per month which is $7200 per year. If you spend $100 a week on food that is $5200 per year. Total room and board: $12,400.

   TRANSPORTATION: $80 a month for gas x 12 months is $960.

   TOTAL COSTS round out to $18,000.  Yet if you work a minimum wage job at $10/hr. for a mere 35 hours a week that's your $18K a year!  That means just short of full-time hours you can fully fund your music education. Now imagine if all or a portion of those work hours were achieved though GIGS or TEACHING your own private lessons?

   If youTake Berklee's lowest tuition of $59,000 and subtract $18,000 and you have $41,000 dollars you have saved not having to pay back.  I'm sorry to say to those who have broke their bank and their back on such a school but people don't get hired because they went to Berklee - it more than likely will come down to your skills and your networking capacity. So make it affordable!

   Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms? I'm open to read your thoughts!