Education or Career?

I’d like to start this article with an observation …

If you are being short on time at the moment, here’s the key message of this article: Enjoying an education and having a great career absolutely may coexist at the same time! Don’t get trapped by the idea that you aren’t allowed to start a career as long as you are still in an education.

There are two groups of composers/artists who are easy to recognize and you’ve probably experienced that already in your own social media environment.

1) Composers who collect academic degrees and online courses like it was one of their hobbies. They take every opportunity to check out any resource of information. They enjoy having a very wide and open network to other fellow composers and never stop learning. This all sounds great, right?

2) And then there’s the second group, the successful ones! You actually don’t know if they’ve had any musical training or traditional education at all but funnily enough, it doesn’t really matter because they are being successful in what they do anyway. They very seldom talk about social events or what they’ve achieved so far – they simply do.

To me, that observation is really interesting. From a psychological point of view, collecting academic degrees often is an expression for not feeling ready to step out to the market and present yourself and your service to clients (probably because of fear). But what are you waiting for? Do you really believe that your potential client puts more trust in your art because you’re holding three degrees over two? I’d even go one step further and content this could turn into a disadvantage. What people might read through the lines here is that you don’t have enough trust in what you do and that you are still busy figuring out who you are and what you have to offer to the world, hence, you are a potential risk factor for the project.

Almost everybody who studies at M.I.T.A. has managed to create an income through music already – meaning they are working professional already. For whatever reason, many people believe that an education and a career may not appear at the same time. But when you think about it, that’s actually the smartest way how to get started. And that is exactly what we try to offer at our Academy. From time to time we are giving out job opportunities to selected CITs (composers in training) so they can gain experience but in a safe scenario which won’t affect their future career (in case they fail). We accomplish this by putting together small composers teams and this distributes the risk equally to everybody involved – meaning less pressure for the individual.

Let me get back to the two types of composers described above. I believe the truth is found in the middle. On the one hand, it’s great to try new things and never stop learning. But on the other hand, don’t take this as an excuse for procrastinating the start of your future career. You should get out and present yourself early on. Getting the know-how (through courses, traditional training, or private instructors, etc. …) is an important factor, but only one half of your education. In fact, working in the industry is the other half of your education. You won’t become a great cook by reading a handful of cooking books, and you won’t become a good athlete by watching videos. There’s no substitution of activity! And on top of that, there’s almost nothing else that feels as good as being active!

This general idea of activity is the reason why we are offering Challenges to our M.I.T.A. members. Every member is invited to take part in these Challenges and put their newly-achieved knowledge about interval theory to the test and into the application. The more you train your activity-muscle the more powerful it will get.

Stay great and become more powerful,


About the Author

Frank Herrlinger

Frank Herrlinger

Frank is the co-founder of Music Interval Theory Academy (M.I.T.A.) and a professional composer working in the industry for over 10 years. He wrote music for numerous video games published for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. His music is also constantly heard on German television (RTL, Pro7, VOX, etc.), in commercials, and trailers.

Furthermore, he gives live training sessions in composition and how to use interval theory inside the membership every month.

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