Is college a requirement?

  • Keymaster
    HBrock25 on #146800

    Hello harpists! I am currently a junior in high school, and my future is right around the corner. I would really like to be prepared to face it, rather than have it sneak up on me. But I’ve got some big decisions to make, and I need some advice.

    I want to play in an orchestra. I’ve heard that college is not a requirement for doing this. In today’s temperamental economy, starting life out with several thousand dollars of debt hanging over my head is an even worse idea than it was in the past. If I could avoid student debt, it would definitely be preferable.
    Is this a viable route for my career path? Any advice, guidance, or experience you could give me to help me make this decision would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
    –Melia

    Participant
    unknown-user on #146801

    I can’t really weigh in here on the real question you’re asking, but you do know that most schools offer some sort of financial aid, right? It astonishes me the number of high school students who don’t. Any school that is expensive enough to send you into hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt will have an endowment (small or large) for financial aid, so make sure to look into that. Of course, depending on the school it’s not always guaranteed, but do keep it in mind.

    ~Sam

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #146802

    What you need to ask yourself is, what will you do if you don’t get an orchestra position? The majority of harpists who go through music school and earn degrees did it because they wanted orchestra positions, and fewer than 1% actually achieve that goal. So if you are going to pursue a musical education, you need to have several goals or plans in mind BEFORE you commit years of your life and untold thousands of dollars to this project.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #146803

    Or….you could make plans, pursue them, allowing for practicalities, and let life happen along the way. Life will get in the way (for good reasons) and surprise you with the unexpected, no matter what you think that ‘achievement’ on the horizon will be. Honour your passion, sweetie. What to ‘be’ or ‘do’ in a career sense, will take care of itself. I wish you the very best and encourage you to do what your heart tells you to do….and your mettle allows you to do.

    Participant
    louise-vickerman on #146804

    Yes, in my orchestra there is not one member who does not have a college degree, most have advanced degrees (Master’s, a few DMA’s) in addition to their undergraduate degree. My first degree was a BA (not a BMus) which would have given me some degree of flexibility if were to not pursue music/orchestral playing as a career.

    Participant
    David Ice on #146805

    Hi Melia,

    I agree with Carl.

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