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Do I Need to Go to School to Become a Musician?

Some musicians find their careers more fulfilling after having gone through school. But is it right for you?

By Kari OakleyPublished 5 years ago 4 min read

I was fascinated by being a musician from the early days of my youth. The truth is, I am already a musician; every day I pick up an instrument, practice every day, or write something new every day. But I want to be a working musician whose work is heard. After graduating from college, I found flexible jobs so I could pursue my passion for music. Now I wonder if I should have gone so deeply in debt just to get a job that is fairly easy to acquire. But I think that getting a formal musical education is beneficial for aspiring musicians.

Music School

I began to imagine myself becoming a professional musician. This means going to music school. Music schools also require good grades, so I have to start learning again. But now I feel that there is a good reason to do this job.

On the other hand, some of the best musicians I have ever seen did not go to music school. Some of them found teachers (they also teach at expensive music schools), but the rest are almost completely self-taught. I went to college to read music and worked for a while, but except for one-on-one courses with teachers, I was able to work outside of school. Good for me.

Being a musician usually does not require formal education, but a formal education helps you improve your music and performance skills. Do some research to find out about some of the degrees you can earn as musicians. Schools offering ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices. You don't usually need a degree to become a musician; lasting, lifelong training is often the way individuals develop the skills they need. Although not essential to the music business, formal training can improve your skills and increase your chances to work as a studio musician or orchestra member.

Before College

Being a musician does not mean just learning an instrument. There are a variety of skills to transcend mechanical abilities and to be a talented and versatile musician who understands music theory. In fact, in today's world, playing an instrument is not required at all!

If you are interested in becoming a musician, it is important to begin developing musical skills before going to high school. However, when you are in high school, you will have several lessons to help you expand your knowledge. Of course, this includes finding your band, orchestra or choir depending on your interests. Additionally, any musician must understand the rhythm, and music theory, so you have to learn some mathematics. Many professional musicians are skilled in music theory and composing. If you don't have the time or ability to relocate, you may try a master's program online.

Formal education is not always required to become a musician but will help you improve the skills and techniques of music. To learn about some of the skills that can be acquired for music teacher career, consult with different programs. Regular lifelong learning is likely to help people develop needed skills. Official training is not required for a music career, but it can help you improve your skills, and increase your chances of becoming a studio musician or a member of the orchestra.


If you plan to work full time as a musician, you need some source of income from other music industries. Part of the reality of becoming a musician who works today is the need to diversify your income source. The more diversified your income, the more profitable your music production. As record sales decline, you need to open your mind and approach potential income sources. But if you have a good business sense, making money as a musician is not really that difficult. Being creative can help you get started.

Private lessons can be a good way to improve musicians' income. Become a music teacher at elementary, middle and high school level, or at a college or university level. There are many ways to teach music in public schools, colleges, and universities, and ultimately you are able to teach music and theories.

Music education is associated with a variety of career opportunities to study musical instruments, sing or compose, and related history, concepts, and methods. Particularly, experienced musicians are able to teach music at private and private music schools. In most cases, these teachers have some experience as professional musicians.


People need to look at the rising stars of today's musicians to see how many people are building a successful music career. I am fortunate to be following the emergence of Bob Dylan and the impact it has had on music. Dylan combines poetry and music, creating a new genre that defines music as lyrics in the process. As his new ideas emerged, critics praised him as exciting and fresh.

Speaking of the music industry, which musicians can stand the test of time? Musicians that have had the greatest impact on the world. These are the musicians who not only make music but also influence culture forever. That is something you can't just learn—but some training certainly helps.

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About the Creator

Kari Oakley

Kari Oakley is a fitness trainer from Kenosha Wisconsin. She now lives in downtown Chicago, and loves to get out. She is a big fan of anything adventure, and loves getting a workout in the outdoors.

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