Music Education

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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A music education can be one of the most rewarding pursuits for those impassioned by playing, listening, and singing. It can also be fulfilling for those who have little innate talent but a knack for producing, which of course is a talent in its own right. For this reason, the admissions numbers continue to climb steadily at music colleges around the country, which also means heightened competition and tighter selection at these schools.

The good news is that, as demand for music education has soared, the supply has increased to meet it. In addition to music degrees at four-year liberal arts colleges, there are also one- and two-year certificate programs, broad-based curricula that include both production and theory, and vocational schools for highly specialized work in mixing and engineering. So which type of music education and degree is right for you? That depends on what you've already learned, your educational needs, and your future direction.

Sizing Up Your Music Education

If you've spent the better portion of your childhood competing on shows such as Star Search and American Idol, chances are you'll want to find a performance-intensive program. Such a move will not preclude your learning about other instruments or production but will give you a focus as well as a forum to develop your presence, movement, and range. By studying alongside musicians from all walks, you'll have access to players who can help embolden your sound, push you in new directions, and give you confidence on stage.

You may, on the other hand, have no designs on the spotlight whatsoever and find yourself at home behind the glass. If this sounds like a more accurate description, consider a music education in sound mixing, coordinating, or production engineering. These majors combine studio work with sound principles of acoustics and ear training, units on emerging technologies, and lectures by pros already working in the field.

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