I never had a backup plan. The moment you create a backup plan is the moment you accept that failure is an option.
Convincing your parents that everything is going to be ok is still probably the most difficult thing a musician has to do – next to finding the right hair product. For years my mother called me asking when I was going back to school to take the MCAT. Even now she still worries endlessly and would prefer I go to Med school than live on the road putting my life in danger.
So if you’re in college on course to get a bachelors degree in history then you have to ask yourself a few questions. 1) Is the fun of being in college right now worth the student loans you’re going to have to pay off the moment you graduate (unemployed and playing for tips at the local bar)? 2) Do you want to be a history teacher and if so why are you reading my blog? 3) What does ANYONE do with a degree in history?!
But seriously, I don’t want to tell you to drop out of college right now, because there are many factors that need to go into this decision. If your parents are paying for all of your education and other various expenses while in school then milk that and look at college as your day job for now. Good for you and your rich parents. They’ll be much more willing to help you down the line when you run out of money half way through the tour and need some gas/food money to get to the next gig. So for that reason alone, make them happy for the time being and do well enough in school to pass and spend all of your free time on your music so when you graduate you hit the ground running and, who knows, maybe you’ll be able to jump right into it full time.
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If your parents aren’t paying for school and you are then ask yourself these questions: 1) Am I 100% certain I want to be a musician for the rest of my life? 2) Would I rather live in a cardboard box with my guitar and eat rice and beans everyday for 3 years than not play music? 3) Is there no other career that will make me happy?
If you answered yes to every question then DROP OUT today. If you teeter on any of these then STAY IN SCHOOL. Because with our society there are very few high-paying companies/organizations that will hire you without a bachelors degree. So if 5 years into your music career, your band breaks up and you don’t have the chops to cut it alone and realize you wished you could just teach history, then I don’t want to be the one who made you ruin your life. If there is any doubt that music is how you want to spend every living, breathing moment for the rest of your life then get a degree and see how it goes.
We are in the era of college educated rock stars. This wasn’t the case back in the 60s and 70s because those rock stars could ONLY do music – they knew nothing else and didn’t care to know anything else. If they weren’t playing music they’d be in jail or a bum on the street. These days it’s more than just about the music – for better or worse.