What They Don't Teach You at Music School

Music school may be a great place to learn a ton of theory based ideas and to help with learning the mechanics of how scales and arpeggios sit on the instrument, but there are things that we need to learn after that stuff which help build a career...

Music school can be a great environment for learning more about playing music with others, along with hearing the various ways that music can be arranged.

For those areas of study, Music School pushed my own musical ability up far beyond where I was when I started my classes. And, the different subjects at music school helped me attain a much higher level of understanding for music way beyond that of when I started my classes at music school.

What happened later on, was I realized that there were a few more areas that I needed to get good at when it came to being a musician. And, those areas weren’t ones that I had covered from studying in class during my days at music school…


#1). Determine What Your Specialty Is
The serious study of the language of music is pretty intense and it takes a lot of years to develop the skills that you’d need to be able to play music up at a high level.

This means that since you only have a certain number of years available in your career life span as a musician, you’ll need to figure out (as quickly as possible), what your specialty is.

Very few players end up like Carl Verheyen who is one of those very unique guitarists who can (with near perfection) perform almost any guitar style (or music style) with almost flawless precision and skill, (making him one of the most sought after session musicians in Los Angeles). 

And so, since we can’t all be Carl Verheyen, we need to determine early on what our specialty will be and we need to work hard on that. Maybe it’s Rock, Country, Folk, or Blues, maybe it’s Jazz or Classical, but whatever your specialty is, there isn’t a music school out there that will push you to figure this out. You’ll have to make the effort to develop this – on your own – as fast as possible.

#2). Learn to Compose Music – Quickly
Music schools might teach you how to go about performing music for tests and recitals, and other areas like; how keys and musical tonalities fit together – stuff like that. But, the idea of learning to compose and do it quickly and effectively is one of those paramount skills of a musician. And, it just wasn't stressed enough.

It should probably be highlighted that composing is vital to solid musical development. In fact, I'd suggest that a player compose or transcribe something every single day. In fact, I think that musicians / guitar players should be both composing something and they should be notating it in some way. Notation is amazing, and isn't done enough by most musicians.

Whether notation is done within a program like; Guitar Pro, or Finale, or even if it is through writing ideas on paper, notating what you musically invent is critical. This type of work is amazing for your sense of rhythm and offers many more incredible benefits over time.

Learn to come up with riffs and fit a melody to them, do some recording with what you invent, and do some musical organizing with your parts so that you can layer harmony and come up with additional ideas. If you come up with a riff turn it into a verse and then add a chorus maybe even adding a bridge too.

Think about how song sections can blend together as well. Invent intro parts and learn how a piece can finish, (the outro). Because composing isn’t exactly stressed at music schools, you'll need to focus on it a lot after you're done school. The benefits are amazing and the pay-off is well worth the effort.

#3). Think About the Money You Earn
 One of the things that I really wish they spent a lot more time on in, (not just music school but also in grade school), is the money you earn over the years of your career, how to best save it, and learning about options for investing it over the years.

This is such an important area because you are generally an active musician for a time frame of maybe 35-40 or so years of your life. But, there will inevitably come a point in your life where you won’t be able to play gigs, or teach, or continue earning an income as a musician due to health concerns or due to just old age.

You need savings for those future years and you need your savings plan working for you. Plus, the longer you can have this in the works, the better. So, as you grow older, you need to save money, and you’ll need to continuously invest that money in a way that produces a return.

Whether you invest in; antiques, collectables, real estate, diamonds, dividend producing stocks, whatever it may be. You need something that will be valuable enough to see you into your retirement after you become too old to earn your living as a musician any longer.
And, this isn’t something that is taught at music school.

Now, these concepts that I’ve discussed here are a few of the areas that I’ve felt were some of the main topics that have bothered me when it comes to Music School education. The ability to become a solid income earner as a musician in the first place is incredibly difficult. The career path of a musician isn’t for everyone and most people who enter into this field tend to only last about 10 to maybe 15 years.

It’s very demanding being a musician, and it can be incredibly stressful as well. But, the points that I’ve made here in this discussion are really valuable to having serious long term success.

Once you discover your specialty, and when you nail down the skills that you have to have for composing and creating music quickly and effectively in your own specific style, (the style that you’re most talented in), plus once you can earn decent money, save it and successfully invest it, you’ll be in a position where your long term career as a musician will be very solid and your success will help guide you to all kinds of new opportunities for long term success.

As long as you stay serious, and you can focus on the right things (as time goes along and your career unfolds) you should be able to remain pretty solid.

Thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at CreativeGuitarStudio.com.

My step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses will cover what you need to know, along with how to be able to move forward and become the best player that you can be.

I've worked on these courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program you'll ever find. The courses will help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to the next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that makes sense.

So, I look forward to helping you further at CreativeGuitarStudio.com ...Until next time - take care and we'll catch up again on the next video. Bye for now!



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