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Grudge Match: Big Dogs vs Big Effort

Updated: May 16, 2018

There are quite a few wicked college prep schools that are focused on pre-professional musician development. I am blessed because maybe, if I got accepted to a big fancy prep conservatory type school, I could actually afford one or two years of the $25-60K tuition to attend. I am also blessed with local access to and commitment from an incredibly talented and accomplished teacher, who is passionate about helping me discover his craft. Which direction should I go...this sets the platform for, well, my whole life....kind of a big deal. My mom and I started creating a list of what experiences, exposures, skills, and connections we feel are critical to my success. It will give me a platform to see where in my journey I can get all that stuff, examine the cost of each option to get it, and make an effective plan. It is a lot of work, and I'm in the middle of finals, and I'm a homeschooler so finals are brutal 4-6 hour 130+ question tests not the fifty minute walk-in-the-park that traditional school kids get. With 2018/19 application season upon us I have to make some quick, intelligent, and life altering decisions. There is no perfect answer and I don't even have time to finish my list! I have already figured out I cannot get everything I want from big fancy school nor can I get it staying home and studying with my current teacher because those schools offer completely unique powerful amazing experience that everyone in the business respects. Most critical for me in the next two years seems to be skill development, performance experience, and exposure to as much music as possible. Intensive private study allows me to move forward as quickly as my competencies allow and gets me an optimum amount of private time and personal insight from a professional musician. My teacher isn't an accountant by day and musician by night kind of guy like many are, he is a legitimate full time professional trumpeter, a very rare find. I know in my heart most teachers don't offer their students the "leg-up" I'm getting from Mr. Moss, he gives me hours of his time and teaches me until I've learned what he's teaching, not until our session clock runs out. I'm pretty sure I can't get that at a big-dog school and they will only allow me to progress in my academics at a standard pace. I think I'm going to let my evolution be a result of my efforts and performance, not the more rigid design a formal program offers. So for now I will practice every minute I can, focus on my weaknesses and fine tune my strengths, get through my academics as quickly as possible, and acquire all the social, performance, and community based experiences. When the time to apply for college arrives I'll have things to offer that kids that went the traditional big-dog school route don't and can't have. Maybe the very best option for some students is the big-dog school, for me I think my most effective option is intensive private study, especially if I am allowed to supplement it with clinics and workshops at the big-dog school level. Wish me luck!


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