"The aim of Musician Labs isn't to discourage college as a path for future musicians and songwriters. The aim of Musician Labs is to provide a more cost-effective way of preparing them before they head down it." - Ryan Stevenson, Co-Founder
Don't Worry. There's Hope.
Maybe this sounds familiar: Your son or daughter is about to graduate from high school. You have little doubt that he or she has musical talent and you want to encourage and help develop that talent, whether it's writing songs, performing them, or both. Your child is certain they're ready to conquer the world and become music's next big thing. They've seen The Voice. Chairs would turn for them. They've watched American Idol. They're going to Hollywood.
You? You're not so sure. You certainly don't want to discourage them from following their dreams, but you understand the risks and realities. It's just ... you'd feel better if those dreams stood a real chance of developing into a career, and if they do - fantastic! But if they don't, how do you convince your son or daughter of that while encouraging a different career path without them resenting you for life?
You're not alone. Guiding your child's future in music, encouragingly and responsibly, is a challenge many parents will face. So how do you do it? We just might have the answer, but first you should know the facts.
How we consume knowledge is changing by the day. The traditional definition of an education, in particular, a higher education, is rapidly becoming outdated.
Pre-adult learning levels (K-6, middle and high school) are still in tact and remain necessary for establishing the foundation for what shapes us early on. But after those years, when the critical stages are reached and we turn to advanced methods of education and training to help shape our adult lives, alternative learning options are becoming more abundant.
Information about anything, at anytime, is only a click away. We're chained to devices that can provide granular knowledge whenever we need it. Search engines, YouTube, social networks ... all at our beck and call to provide us with answers. We’re living in the future.
Sure, the tried and true methods still exist: Everything from career training and technical colleges, to community colleges, to traditional four-year universities, and all remain relevant and beneficial in helping mold career paths. More and more are offering courses online, either in whole or in part, and it wouldn't be absurd to think that this might one day take over as the primary way students attend college, but it doesn't mean costs are going down anytime soon.
It might sound crazy, but the question deserves to be asked: Is college today as necessary as it once was when we were growing up? And will the pay-off justify the expense?
Having spent the last eleven years in Higher Education helping students explore their career options and connecting them with colleges and universities, I have a unique understanding of the challenges they face today, especially the prevalent financial challenges.
It’s almost impossible to turn on a television news program or browse a news website without hearing or reading about the troubles associated with the American education system. We've reached an all-time high for student debt, our children are graduating college and not finding jobs, and the ones that do find them are having a hard time earning enough money to pay back their loans. As a result, default rates are through the roof and taxpayers are left holding the bill. The nation is getting far too little from its investment and the system is breaking down. Consider these numbers:
Nearly 85% of first-time college students utilize some form of financial aid to pay for college.*
Today, over 50% of direct federal student loans don’t get repaid on time.*
10 years: The average length of time it takes for a student loan to be repaid.*
$98.1 Billion:The total amount of federal financial aid in default at the end of 2014. **
The average amount per student loan has risen 28% since 2007. Maybe this wouldn't be such a big problem if job wages were increasing proportionately, but they're not. Far from it, actually. The typical recipient of a bachelor’s degree working full-time after graduation has experienced a .08% decrease in weekly earnings during this same period, while those holding advanced degrees only experienced a .02% increase in wages.***
Yikes! And My Kid Wants A Career As A Songwriter?!?!
Relax, come in off the ledge and encourage it. Here's why: Despite all of the challenges that might come up along the way, we still believe everyone should pursue whatever it is they're passionate about as long as it's done responsibly, which is specifically why I helped start Musician Labs.
Over the last decade, I've witnessed far too many of the problems associated with higher learning and I want to be a part of the solution. Yes, a child betting his or her future on a career in music is a scary proposition and as his or her parent, you're probably not wrong to feel that way, but a bet on music will always be safe. I want to help cultivate a responsible environment that has a real chance of bringing more music into the world by helping out those who have the passion to create it. The aim of Musician Labs isn't to discourage college as a path for future musicians and songwriters. The aim of Musician Labs is to provide a more cost-effective way of preparing them before they head down it.
I couldn't be more excited to be teaming up with Anna and Monty to bring you Musician Labs. I'm incredibly fortunate to be working alongside two world-class talents who are as eager as I am to shake the traditional education model and provide a real career-preparation solution for aspiring songwriters. One of our main goals is to help parents answer one simple question: Does my child have the talent and skill set to pursue a career in songwriting? Let's find out together.
Here's to making great music.