Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Music School - Cost/debt

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by pedro, Apr 5, 2005.


  1. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Maybe this topic has been discussed before. I'm getting senile so if it has, please forgive me. But its a topic of conversation in our household on a daily basis as its something we're going to have to deal with very soon.

    I know that there are others here getting ready to tackle the same issues so I thought it might be productive to brainstorm a bit together. I also realize that there are plenty of other pros here, many of whom have gone through school already and might have some great insights about it all.

    My son chose four schools to apply for.

    Manhattan School of Music
    University of North Texas
    Berklee College of Music
    New England Conservatory

    With the exception of UNT, all of them range between $30-40,000 depending on what figures you use. That's a bunch of money for most people. Scholarships help but in our case they won't cover it all. My wife and I can help to a point but the rest will have to come from loans and from him. Perhaps because I'm a CPA maybe I'm too conservative but I just have trouble seeing him walk out with a B/A in Music and $50-80,000 of debt.

    Obviously, I have some very specific questions both for those who are or will be attending, as well as those who have already finished the music school education. However, they are all very personal questions and it would be best if the answers were volunteered. So tell what you feel comfortable in saying.
     
  2. jazzbass72

    jazzbass72

    Jun 26, 2003
    New York, NY
    Hi!
    I got my bachelor's degree from Berklee in 2002, and my master's degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2004. I will be glad to answer any specific questions you may have, but I would rather do it off the forum. Feel free to email me privately through talkbass or my own website's contact page.

    Best,
    Marco
     
  3. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Thanks Marco. I will shoot you an e mail.
     
  4. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I'm gonna be at the New School in a few months. Tuition alone is about $25000. Then you have health stuff, a place to live, food, etc.

    My Father will pay a big chunk of it, he's done well financially lately and is very supportive of me. Then, I will take out a student loan. I've applied for financial Aid, the TAP (NY state aid). I will also work while at school, whether through the school, or on my own, part-time.

    unfortunately, I have the philosophy that goes - "Do what you want the most in life, then worry about the money". In other words, I'll bring back squeege men and be their foreman if I have to, to pay for school!


    Now where's my TOP RAMEN?
     
  5. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Hi Alexi David,

    Glad you stopped by. Yes we will also help our son as much as we can. And we are all for following your dreams. But even though the shortest distance between two spots is a straight line, sometimes in life, one must bob and weave a bit. Will you be living at home or near the school? That makes a huge difference.
     
  6. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I know. My dreams have been deferred all along (I'm 28 - and an ex-junkie) And yes, where you stay makes a big diff. I don't have a place to stay. I couldn't stay with my father, that wouldn't work out, and we both need our privacy and space.
     
  7. JTGale

    JTGale

    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    This is a dicey subject that is wide open for a multitude of opinions. But, I felt compelled (?) to respond on a few points.

    As someone who tried college, left, joined the military and then went back as a somewhat "older" age, I certainly didn't follow the traditional route. The worst part was that by that time, I was working a full-time job as well as going to school full time (and was married and had a child, too!). Needless to say, that was a lot of balls in the air. I took as many classes as I could and went year around. I got my BA in 2 1/2 years this way, but I could hardly function mentally or physically by graduation. It was nuts! My point? School is so much more about growing as a person than almost everything else. I regret that I had to work outside of my schooling. I missed out on too much of the social experience that college offers. I would say that if you can avoid working while learning, then that is great. If you must work, then find a job within your chosen field where you are gaining valuable street knowledge that cannot be gained in a classroom. If you son is a double bass major, then find a gig -- or two, or three -- where he can glean life lessons while having fun.

    The other issue is money. I walked away from school with a considerable bill, despite only being there for 2 1/2 years. I am still paying almost 10 years later. But, all said and done, I do not regret it in the slightest. You learn to live with the bills. They are just a part of life you adjust to and when they are finally paid off, it will be more of a surprise to me than a relief. Every dollar was well spent. Take as much assistance as you can get. Finance the rest. But all in all, make sure that you are having a blast while learning.

    Sorry if this is a little rambling. I am operating on about 2 hours of sleep ... :rollno: Do you think anybody will notice if I take a nap with my head on my computer? :D
     
  8. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    JT it wasn't clear to me whether or not you went to music school? Also, if you don't mind, what school did you go to?
     
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In '92, after attending a community college for 2 years, Berklee for 1 year, and UofL for 6 years, I walked away from my educational experience with an AA, a BM, and an MM...and about $23,000 in debt from student loans. For the next 10 years, I worked in a cheesy wedding band in addition to teaching and playing jazz gigs. The wedding band covered my student loan payments (almost $400 a month) and part of my rent, and I lived off of the rest. About three years ago, when my wife and I finally made that last debt payment, I quit the wedding band (man, I earned that education! :eyebrow: ), and we decided to go ahead and have a baby. At this point, life is pretty good: I only take the gigs I want, I have a beautiful son, and Kate and I are proud debt-free homeowners....but somewhere in there at about the 500th cheesy wedding gig mark with no end in sight, life was occasionally looking pretty dark when I got up on the wrong side of the bed.

    Bottom line, if your son needs to do this to fulfill his dreams, he'll find a way. It certainly won't be easy, but then few things in life worth having ever are. Best of luck to you all on your journey, whichever direction it might take. :)
     
  10. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    [[In '92, after attending a community college for 2 years, Berklee for 1 year, and UofL for 6 years, I walked away from my educational experience with an AA, a BM, and an MM...and about $23,000 in debt from student loans.

    First off, please accept my condolences on the U of F thing (Pedro FSU grad class of 77). LOL! My brother is a U of F grad and we constantly harass each other about it. But then again, you know about that rivalry.

    Anyhoo, $23,000 is not much considering that it includes a graduate degree. But you no doubt took care of much of the basic course work at a Community College, which are invariably cheaper than a University, and U of F is probably fairly inexpensive compared to Berklee or MSM etc.

    BTW Chris, I’m curious, where are you now?

    P.S. Your son is adorable. Enjoy him while he’s young because its scary how fast it all goes.
     
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Hi Pedro - not sure what you mean about the "U of F" thing - I'm currently teaching at Louisville, the same place I got my last two degrees. You may be talking about a football thing, which would likely go over my head as I don't watch college football even though the stadium is practically in my backyard.


    Yeah, UofL was relatively cheap back then, plus I had some scholarships to help out. But the big thing - as you mentioned - was getting a lot of the core classes out of the way at the community college, which enabled me to work while going to school once I got to U of L. I don't know if that's possible where your son's going, but it's worth thinkng about.


    Thanks, and no **** about the "how fast it all goes" part. It seems like only yesterday I was holding him in one hand and waving him around like a puppet! He's getting bigger now, even all of his teeth are in since that picture was taken. Damn...
     
  12. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Thanks Chris. I misread your post to say 'U of FL' and thought you went to University of Florida, ergo my condolences.

    I've heard that many of the Berklee students get their 'core' courses taken care of either at a CC in Boston or during the summers at home. My son has a number of AP classes taken and would essentially walk in as a sophomore at UNT. Not quite sure how that works at Berklee or NEC.
     
  13. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    [[Thanks, and no **** about the "how fast it all goes" part. It seems like only yesterday I was holding him in one hand and waving him around like a puppet! He's getting bigger now, even all of his teeth are in since that picture was taken. Damn...

    Hold on to every precious moment you can. All the money in the world wont ever buy you one extra minute with the little guy. Trust me on this one.
     
  14. JTGale

    JTGale

    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Pedro, sorry that my earlier post wasn't as clear as it should have been. I did get a short nap in ...

    I was in the school of music at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. It was weird. My audition went very well and I landed a hefty scholarship based on my sightreading abilities, but there was a hitch. I had to declare a second instrument and, since I had played jazz trumpet since grade school, that was a likely choice. Then, when getting my first semester lineup, I discovered they had put me in marching band and in concert band playing trumpet -- ONLY!

    I was a little miffed. The bass teacher at the time was a hot player that was traveling all the time between St. Louis and Chicago to play (sorry, I have forgotten his name). But, alas, I was only slated to play TRUMPET. My lesson? Pick a place that emphasizes PERFORMANCE rather than rounded musical education if you want to be a player.

    Now before I get flamed by all you Millikin grads out there, let me say that for a private midwestern school, they have a great music program. It is very personal and has great facilities and wonderful opportunities for playing a wide range of music in many different settings. If you are looking for a well-rounded musical education, then it is a fair pick. Unfortunately, I was ticked off enough that I switched majors and graduated with a non-musical degree and a non-musical minor. Oh well, it pays the bills ...

    As for money, this was 17 years ago but the cost was around $22,000 a year. I believe that it is up to the high 20s now. Heck, it could even be in the low 30s for all I know ... :eyebrow:

    Derail: Chris, love the pic of your son. How can you not look at that pic and smile? :D Talk about not turning your back ... my son will be 10 this year and I swear he takes growing pills before bed every night: he is noticable taller every morning! Aren't they the best?!!

    End of derail ...
     
  15. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    JT thanks for clearing things up for me.

    [[Derail: Chris, love the pic of your son. How can you not look at that pic and smile? Talk about not turning your back ... my son will be 10 this year and I swear he takes growing pills before bed every night: he is noticable taller every morning! Aren't they the best?!!

    Chris, see what I mean.

    Swoooossshhhh!!! That's the sound of them growing up.
     
  16. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Pedro-

    UNT is no joke when it comes to the bass world. If it is more reasonable in price and I am pretty sure it is... your son would do very well there. I am remembering that he is into jazz, yes? (from some of your previous posts) That is an excellent jazz school and the "legit" bass professor Jeff Bradetich is very strong as well. I am not a UNT alumni, just someone that teaches a lot of pre-professional bassists and I follow the trends in jobs, etc...

    It seems to me that the days of going to undergrad and getting a job is over. Most of the really hot players go to grad school after they finish before they win a gig. UNT would be a good place to prepare for a great grad program. Think of it like this- a two year master's program at Manhattan is a heck of a lot cheaper than a 4 year undergrad program. Chances are that your son will get more out of it when he goes to grad school because he will be more mature and ready for it- and can take advantage of the situation.

    I went to state schools, not conservatories and came out of school with no loans. I was lucky enough to get scholarships and gigs. This was my main training. I have former students that will graduate from school with $50,000-100,000 in student loans. I can't imagine that... but, I chose not to audition for the conservatories because of my financial situation and my parents wanted to steer me away from the debt.

    Also, consider that if your son doesn't have a really good instrument and bow that equipment will be a cost too. Student loans can help supplement that purchase down the road. His professor may want that to happen sooner than later.

    Some things to consider,
    Brian