Guide: how to choose the right music school or teacher
Choosing the right music school or teacher is the most important choice you’ll ever make for your career, and this post will help you make the right one.
If you choose the wrong place to learn, you’ll have a large 90% of probabilities to prematurely sink your career.
And this is the main reason because music industry is so scarcely populated and in bad shape: there are very little people who choose wisely their teachers and schools.
And if you don’t know how to choose the right ones, you’ll unfortunately find it out for yourself only when it’s too late: when you’ll be in your thirties, and desperately unemployed because of your lack of skills.
But, don’t worry: this guide won’t make this happen.
About schools and teachers
A school is a place where teachers teach professional skills.
What are “professional skills”?
Professional skills are skills required by a professional environment.
A professional environment is a market.
A very specific business term for being ready for a market, is “market fit”.
If you’re ready for the market, for being a professional, you’re market fit.
You’re someone in search of a way to transform his passion in a work. In a way of living.
This is extremely important, and you need to be extremely resoluted when dealing with this matters.
You’ll unfortunately meet a lot of uncorrect people who will try to take your money with deception, by leveraging on your inexperience and desire: you have to learn to stand for your rights.
Don’t be afraid to ask. Never. It’s about your career, and it’s dead serious business. Don’t fool around and always ask for crystal clear and well defined answers.
And don’t be afraid of negative reactions: if they don’t want to help you, they’re not a loss. In fact, you should be happy of having spotted them right away: stop wasting your time with them.
To understand if it’s the right school or teacher, you simply have to ask:
“Can you teach me how to start working in this industry?”
Why is this the ultimate question to understand if you’re choosing the right school or teacher
Knowing the right skills to being market fit requires an extremely deep knowledge of the market. So, you’ll perfectly know how to start a new career in this market.
“Yes” is not enough to guarantee your future. And your future is pretty serious business: it means if you will get back living with your parents at 40 years old or having your own life, house and job.
You have to proceed with background checks:
Ask to meet their past successful students
If they say that they can teach you how to start working, they will obviously have a past history of alumnis who started working in the music business thanks to their help: politely ask to have a private chat with them. With private I mean getting their phone number and/or Skype account and have a talk with them about how professor X or school Y helped them to get into the business.
>If the answer is “yes”, proceed with the talk: if alumnis indipendently confirm that, this is probably a good school or teacher.
>If the answer is “no”: that’s the wrong place and you have to leave immediately. There is no exception. It’s like being denied to try a car before buying it: the car is broken and they don’t want you to find it out before paying them.
If they can do something, they must be able to prove it. If they can’t, they’re lying.
There are no excuses. It’s the most basic requirement for being a professional: being able to tangibly prove his skills.
Ask to meet your future likely employers
If they say that they can teach you how to start working, they will obviously personally know who might hire you. Also because they should be veterans in their fields:
-a veteran is able to teach new alumnis how things are done
-a veteran have a professional network: the one in which he worked before, gaining the skills with which now he can teach
Being said so, your interest is run some background checks on the suggested future employers, with one simple directive:
-are they a successful business, capable of hiring new artists?
>If the teacher/school positively react to this question, proceed with the background check.
If the proposed future employers are businesses that look in good shape, you might have found people with a good idea about what do you need to get into the business.
If the proposed future employers are businesses that look in bad shape, you have to ask how you’re supposed to work with businesses that can’t generate enough revenues to justify a new employee (you).
>If the answer is “no”: they have no clue about what they’re doing and you should leave immediately and start looking for new places where to properly learn your craft.
You’ll never get just a “no”: they will always come up with an excuse, because they know of being terribly unfair and unprofessional.
Here you are a list of the most common excuses with which they will try to hide themselves with. Together with a good question to respond with, if you really are that sadistic: they will NEVER admit their faults. It would mean to confess that they’re not professionals, and they just want to take your money with total disregard of how much this will harm you. And there are very few other ways to make people as angry as when you let them face their responsibilites.
- “I just give you the tools: it’s up to you to understand how to use them”
Your answer: “If they’re the right ones, how come you don’t know how to use them for a living?” / “If you really are a master in this craft, how is it possible that you don’t know how to make that for a living?”
If you give me the tools and you don’t know how to properly employ them in a market, you don’t have a clue about
A- how to use these tools
B- if they’re the good ones: if no one wants them for work, they are not the right tools.
In other words: if they’re not sure if the market will require your skills, they don’t know the market. If they don’t know the market, how they’re supposed to know that their knowledge is updated and right?
- “I’m just a teacher: I can’t tell you how the market works”
Your answer: “If you don’t know what other professionals are doing, how can you be a master in your craft?” / “If you really are a master in this craft, how is it possible that you don’t know how to make that for a living?”
A teacher is supposed to be a professional with extremely high experience. Otherwise, how could he arrogate himself the right of teaching?
In other words: if he’s not sure if the market will require your skills, he don’t know the market. If he don’t know the market, how can he know that his knowledge is updated and right?
- “It’s a really bad market: they don’t understand the real value of what we’re doing”
Your answer: “If you really are a master in this craft, how can’t you be able to explain the value of what you’re doing to others?” / “If you really are a master in this craft, how is it possible that you don’t know how to make that for a living?”
If you’re not able to explain the value of what you’re doing, you’re not a professional. If you’re not a professional, you shouldn’t even think about teaching: a teacher is a master in its craft, and the only way to be so is by practicing it for a living.
They’re also basically saying that they don’t care if you destroy your own career: they just want you to pay them, and ask no questions about it. Cool, isn’t it?
- “This is a school, not a job centre”
Your answer: “A school should be composed by extremely talented professionals. How is it possible that they can’t tell me how they started working?”
They’re just trying to fool you by playing with words: a school is supposed to teach you the best ways to do something, and how to use them for finding a job is a natural consequence. If they’re not sure if the market will require your skills, they don’t know the market. If they don’t know the market, how they’re supposed to know that their knowledge is updated and right?
…or maybe not?
We’re preparing a full guide about art and music career counseling, and we also have open job positions for our beautiful audio production company: if you really want to become a music professional, this is not the last time we’ll meet.
If you have found this post to be useful, share with us your experiences on your social networks!
Maybe you could also add a link of what you’ve created, and by using the hashtag #lmkmprod we’ll be able to find all of you.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you!