As the owner of Columbia Arts Academy and the Lexington School of Music, parents often ask Marty Fort whether their soon-to-be college student should major in music.
With both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in guitar performance, Fort is well versed in the academic side of music education. But that doesn’t mean he automatically recommends that talented students pursue a music degree. He cautions students to think about their future plans and long-term career goals to determine whether a music degree will be beneficial.
Fort suggests parents and students review 4 key questions:
Is your teen looking for an “easy” major?
Maybe he isn’t sure what he wants to do yet, but does love playing music. Your student may be thinking that majoring in music would be a fun way to get through college versus taking a lot of math or science classes.
This is an unrealistic expectation. Music studies at the college level are intense. They are also rather traditional with a focus on classical music (or, at best, a jazz program). So, if your child loves to rock Metallica riffs on the guitar, she won’t be doing that in any college courses.
Any student planning to major in music must be able to pass classical or jazz audition requirements. If your student is committed, now is time to start working on such a goal.
Does your student want a career as a music teacher?
If so, then by all means a music degree is an excellent fit. Anyone who wants to teach at the college level must have a degree in music performance or music education. If you want to teach in a high school, middle or elementary school, you must have a degree in music education and pass a state-mandated exam to become certified to teach music.
If this is the route you want to take, you must be proficient in either classical or jazz as there is no “rock or pop” program at the University of South Carolina – or any college in South Carolina, for that matter.
Is your student interested in being a librarian?
There is a job market for students with music undergraduate degrees who go on to get a master’s degree in library science. So this is a way for a student who is passionate about music to earn a music degree but work in a different career field.
Does your student want improved music skills, but isn’t interested in a career in music?
A great solution for these students is to minor in music. They are able to take a lot of music classes and, it paves the way should they want to pursue a music major down the road.
Music minors still need to work with their music teacher to tackle those classical or jazz audition requirements. Make sure your student works on sight reading and knows some basic music theory.
If your student is very passionate about music and feels that studying, performing and teaching music is the only thing that will make them happy, then a music major is likely a good choice. Others who love music but don’t intend to make a career of it can certainly pursue a music minor.
Is your student looking to hone skills for that classical or jazz audition? Consider the Columbia Arts Academy and Lexington School of Music. The award-winning music school is the largest music school in South Carolina with more than 1,275 students. Lessons are open to students ages 4 and up, including adults.
The school employs a unique teaching style created by owner Marty Fort, which uses a tiered rewards system to encourage students. The Musical Ladder System adapts to each student’s skill level and needs, and is a proven method to help kids meet their full music potential.
To learn more about Columbia Arts Academy, visit ColumbiaArtsAcademy.com or call (803) 787-0931. For students interested in the Lexington School of Music, visit LexingtonSchoolofMusic.com or call (803) 996-0623.