The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

School Isn't The Answer

More School Does NOT equal More Success

More school does not necessarily mean you're guaranteed more opportunities.

School is a huge investment. And school, programs, degrees offer many things that will give you what is called a "Well Rounded Education." That means that it teaches you numerous things within an area of study. It cuts a large swath in hopes of giving you lot's of tools for you to succeed. Which basically means it has NO specificity.

This is a double edged sword.

On one hand if you're unsure of where you land in the world of your field, this gives you lots of areas to search through and see where you thrive, what you love and what you dislike.

For instance, my degree is in A Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. The degree is "engineered" for someone interested in pursuing a career in using their voice in a "classically trained manner."

The degree has classes in:

Theory
Music history
Piano
Diction
Voice lessons
Voice ensemble
Repertoire Coaching
Dancing
Acting
General Education (Math, Composition, Language, Scientific Studies, etc.)

This is a very wide array of classes. A great well rounded education. You learn a lot, do a LOT, and more than likely FAIL a lot.


But if we were to be 100% honest of the things you ABSOLUTELY need in order to perform at the base level as a professional singer, these are the classes you'd need:

Theory 
Music history
Piano
Diction
Voice lessons
Voice ensemble
Repertoire Coaching
Dancing
Acting
General Education (Math, Composition, Language, Scientific Studies, etc.)

Now, people will see this and think I'm a jackass. The picture I'm painting isn't a professional singer at a HIGH level, but just the basic level of entry.  But I will say that if the leading voice of the past century, Luciano Pavarotti could perform without being able to read a lick of music, you must believe me when I tell you that not having an extensive background in Music Theory will not be the thing that makes or breaks your career.

People, mentors, and well meaning individuals will tell you that "You need more school." And in their generation and the generation of people before this one, this very well could be the answer. There are many people who were able to go back to school and learn the necessary skills for them to achieve the next level of performance. But, times have changed. The demand for school is high. Cost of tuition has increased dramatically and the amount of scholarships has decreased. School has gone from something people strive to do, to a cultural obligation, to finally something that is quickly becoming either completely out of financial reach, or a financial tether that will keep you from ever having financial freedom.

Some of the worlds leading minds, and most successful people either dropped out of college or never attended in the first place. And now they employee college grads by the thousands.

  • Bill Gates
  • Steve Jobs
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Michael Dell
  • John Mackey

All individuals who dropped out of college....Success does not depend on school.

 
"I have never let school interfere with my education."
- Mark Twain

School/college is NOT the answer. But, Education is...


More Education


There is ALWAYS something to be gained from learning. But, education is not confined in the realm of a school classroom. There are numerous ways to learn and there are infinite things to learn.

Books. Videos. Podcasts. Interviews. Life experience! Mistakes and failures! All of these are a profound forms of Education. Many of these cost very little, or at the very least scalable to your level of commitment. And let us not forget the laundry list of places that offer classes and lessons, lectures and seminars filled with people who have worked to the bone to be able to teach you something they deem worth learning.

Not every investment you make in this manner will have a large return. Some may actually cause a deficit. But, at the very least in this manner you have control over the way you choose to learn, who you learn it from, and how long you'd like to learn that material. In school you take a class and may find that you don't like the teacher, the way it's taught, or even the material itself...but by that time you're already immensely invested and now they hold the grade over your head.

Priority Principle


In Bodybuilding there is something called The Priority Principle. Basically, you hit your weak points First in the training session. That way you have all your energy going to the body part/movement you want to improve.

More than likely you're going to have some strong points in your performing, things that make you stand out above the rest. Awesome sauce. No need to hammer out on the things that you're already great at, find a means to maintain your strengths while you start pinpointing the aspects of your performance that HINDER your strengths from shining through.

For my performing career I've had to apply this.

Couldn't Sing:
Spent several years mastering the basics. Singing for hours and hours, for multiple ears, for MY ears. Recorded myself on the regular, found holes and found ways to fill them.

Couldn't Act:
Got better at performing in front of a crowd, got roles, learned by watching and by doing.

Was Too Fat/Unhealthy:
I didn't know how to train my body. So, I spent a year getting ripped out of my mind, learned to how lose weight and keep weight off. Learned how to get stronger and more muscular. Learned the basics of human metabolism and biology.

Was Too Poor:
Couldn't afford the lifestyle required of a professional actor/singer (housing, travel.) Had to spend a YEAR of my life saving money, figuring out how to make a sustainable living doing lots of different things. Took some performing opportunities that were LESS glamorous to keep my acting chops in check, to keep things building on the resume. I made lateral moves.

Each and every one of these things was a MAJOR educational experience. And the majority of my mental break-thrus did NOT occur while I was sitting comatose in a classroom while a jaded professor yapped at me. It was in the trenches of doing and failing. That's how I choose to learn, and I hope that you see it's merits.
 

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

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