The Student Room Group

Pursuing Music vs School?

Hello! I’m from scotland. i’m an s5 pupil, about to go into s6 in june.

this year i didn’t have the best time at school. i was originally sitting 4 highers but this was reduced to 3. i struggled with some people, had to do a massive heap of self-study because my classes weren’t stable & then found “school” draining as a result of this, but the one subject that stuck out most to me and that i loved - was Higher Music.

Next year I planned to take Music at Advanced Higher, along with a few other higher subjects (some of which I’m crashing).

However, I’ve kind of come to the realisation that in life I’d like to be a musician. One who performs everywhere, gets to travel, record music etc., and then when i’m older, and want to settle, i’d do something much more conventional like becoming a music teacher.

I already have a bit of experience because I run the school’s music club for s1&2 and i’ve volunteered in a few lessons. obviously i know you’d need much more experience than this & a degree!!

but like i say - this is something i see happening much later in my life, and so i’m not sure if it’s the best thing for me right now to possibly struggle for another year to get enough highers for Uni, then eventually go to Uni, when actually what i want to do right now - performing - doesn’t require any traditional qualifications, and only the skill set. Obviously if i wasn’t going to school, I would be working on my skills (working through Music books from an exam board like Trinity), and could potentially look into going to Music college. Looking for any opinions, help, or advice. Thanks!
I think finishing secondary school/high school is really important. I understand your desire to go into the music industry (I also would love to do that) but having a good education as a back up is really important. Being a musician nowadays is harder because it's so easy for people to go viral. You have to be able to write, record, produce and promote your own music by yourself (or obviously with the help of teammates and fellow musicians) to have the highest chance of being signed by a label. It's also a really unstable career choice. So I definitely recommend having a back up. The music teacher back up is a really good idea!! So study hard while working on your musician skills on the side. If you later want to become a music teacher doing a music degree is pretty much necessary and a music degree (especially ones that also include a music tech and production element to them) would also be greatly beneficial to your career as a musician. I say go for it and try to achieve your dreams, but also be realistic and make sure you have a) a back-up career plan and b) an idea of where you're going to get some more stable income from. Being a musician is really hard work so good luck!! Always believe in yourself and never give up.
Reply 2
Original post by kaorimiyazono
I think finishing secondary school/high school is really important. I understand your desire to go into the music industry (I also would love to do that) but having a good education as a back up is really important. Being a musician nowadays is harder because it's so easy for people to go viral. You have to be able to write, record, produce and promote your own music by yourself (or obviously with the help of teammates and fellow musicians) to have the highest chance of being signed by a label. It's also a really unstable career choice. So I definitely recommend having a back up. The music teacher back up is a really good idea!! So study hard while working on your musician skills on the side. If you later want to become a music teacher doing a music degree is pretty much necessary and a music degree (especially ones that also include a music tech and production element to them) would also be greatly beneficial to your career as a musician. I say go for it and try to achieve your dreams, but also be realistic and make sure you have a) a back-up career plan and b) an idea of where you're going to get some more stable income from. Being a musician is really hard work so good luck!! Always believe in yourself and never give up.


Hi - thank you so much for the lovely reply!! I have all the 'normal' qualifications you'd need for the most basic of jobs, but I'm only one subject away from uni entry requirements, so I'm currently debating whether or not to do one subject at college, part-time, rather than 4 of them at school, to make sure it's not the same experience as school was last year for me.
Original post by khx012
Hi - thank you so much for the lovely reply!! I have all the 'normal' qualifications you'd need for the most basic of jobs, but I'm only one subject away from uni entry requirements, so I'm currently debating whether or not to do one subject at college, part-time, rather than 4 of them at school, to make sure it's not the same experience as school was last year for me.

Yeah that's fair enough! I wish I could give you more specific advice but I'm not really sure how the Scottish education system works as I live in England haha. If you can do one subject next year and still get into uni to do music then I think it would be a pretty good option, especially if you use the extra time to take music theory exams and performance/skill exams like the Trinity or ABRSM ones. Those would also help you get into uni/further education if you're planning on doing a music degree. Good luck!! :smile:
Hello! :smile:
As a more controversial response, Id love to share my experience to offer some inspiration.

I graduated in performing arts and then I was a costume maker for years. Throughout this time, I struggled so much. it was a fantastic lifestyle but mentally, I couldn't cope. I ended up quitting during lockdown and it turned out the be the best thing for. I now study Psychology (Masters Degree).

The point being - i always questioned what I should be doing and what was best for me. However, when I look back on my life, every single decision I ever made was an important and nessessary step to get me to where i am today. Without the performance industry, I wouldn't have the experience of dealing with all kinds of personalities, which has helped me in psychology. I also wouldn't have the creative skills which have allowed me to gain work experience as a creative researcher. I also love who I am, which is the most important thing.

The top thing to take from this is to ALWAYS listen to your intuition. Every step you take from here, will lead you to your ultimate destiny and what your purpose is in life. We need the dark and the light. We need the ups and downs, the positives, the negatives etc. Because this is what shows us who we really are and what we really want.

Take each step and each day as it comes. Have this amazing dream for yourself, but do not limit yourself to anything and remain open to all kinds of opportunities. Eventually you will back and realise the whole journey was worth it and how each little thing brought you the place you were fully loved and accepted yourself and your life. :smile:.

You have been given the gift of a musican for a reason. Its a creative outlet for your intuition, your truth and your emotions. No matter where your journey takes you, remain authentic with that and always listen to your gut!! Dont let social expectation put you in a box.

Whatever feels right today - DO IT. :smile:

Hope this helps!!
All the best
Laura
Reply 5
Original post by khx012
Hello! I’m from scotland. i’m an s5 pupil, about to go into s6 in june.

this year i didn’t have the best time at school. i was originally sitting 4 highers but this was reduced to 3. i struggled with some people, had to do a massive heap of self-study because my classes weren’t stable & then found “school” draining as a result of this, but the one subject that stuck out most to me and that i loved - was Higher Music.

Next year I planned to take Music at Advanced Higher, along with a few other higher subjects (some of which I’m crashing).

However, I’ve kind of come to the realisation that in life I’d like to be a musician. One who performs everywhere, gets to travel, record music etc., and then when i’m older, and want to settle, i’d do something much more conventional like becoming a music teacher.

I already have a bit of experience because I run the school’s music club for s1&2 and i’ve volunteered in a few lessons. obviously i know you’d need much more experience than this & a degree!!

but like i say - this is something i see happening much later in my life, and so i’m not sure if it’s the best thing for me right now to possibly struggle for another year to get enough highers for Uni, then eventually go to Uni, when actually what i want to do right now - performing - doesn’t require any traditional qualifications, and only the skill set. Obviously if i wasn’t going to school, I would be working on my skills (working through Music books from an exam board like Trinity), and could potentially look into going to Music college. Looking for any opinions, help, or advice. Thanks!

Hello! It's great to hear about your passion for music and your aspirations to become a musician. Pursuing a career in music can be incredibly fulfilling, but it's essential to consider your options and make informed decisions.

Firstly, it's important to recognize that there are various paths to becoming a successful musician, and not all of them require traditional qualifications like university degrees. Many successful musicians have achieved their goals through dedication, hard work, networking, and building their skills through practical experiences.

If you feel that continuing with traditional education may not align with your immediate goals, and you are confident in your musical abilities, exploring other avenues might be worth considering. Music college can be an excellent option to hone your skills, receive focused training, and make connections within the industry. Many successful musicians have started their careers by attending reputable music colleges.

However, keep in mind that pursuing a career in music, like any artistic field, can be competitive and challenging. It requires perseverance, adaptability, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Building a career as a musician often involves a lot of self-promotion, networking, and handling the business aspects of being an artist.

Here are a few steps you can consider:

Explore Music College: Look into reputable music colleges or conservatories that offer programs aligned with your interests and musical goals. Research the courses they offer, their faculty, and their success stories. If possible, talk to current or former students to get their insights.

Continue Developing Your Skills: Regardless of your educational path, keep working on improving your musical skills and knowledge. Dedicate time to practicing, learning new techniques, and experimenting with different musical styles.

Gain Practical Experience: Keep performing whenever possible. Seek opportunities to play at local events, open mic nights, or even consider forming a band. Practical experience is invaluable for growth as a musician.

Network and Collaborate: Connect with other musicians, producers, and industry professionals. Collaborating with others can open up new opportunities and expand your musical horizons.

Have a Backup Plan: While pursuing your passion, it's essential to have a backup plan in case things don't go as planned. Consider keeping your options open by having an alternative career path in mind, like your interest in becoming a music teacher.

Remember, you can always reassess your choices along the way. Sometimes, a combination of traditional education and practical experience can be the best approach. It's all about finding what works best for you and aligns with your goals and values.

Lastly, don't forget to talk to people who support you, like friends, family, teachers, or mentors, about your plans. They can offer valuable insights and encouragement.

Wishing you the best of luck in your musical journey!
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 6
Follow your dreams

cliched but true

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