Not A Typical Teenager: Does A Degree Make You Qualified?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Does A Degree Make You Qualified?

I'm going to start this post by explaining what The Big Music Project is, because that is a pretty substantial part of this post, but I promise I will eventually give my opinion on this question towards the end of this post. The big music project is a project that is funded by the big lottery and is designed to encourage young people to pursue careers in music. There are hubs all over the UK which are doing different things. From planning to events, to getting to go to festivals, The Big Music Project is a really great project, and you can find out more about it here.

On Saturday, I attended a big event for big music, which is where the photo to the right of this piece was taken (the guy in the front is Fusion, who is a great personality you need to follow on twitter @iitsfusion). This event was for the big music champions who have been members of the project for more than a year. This day was fantastic and this day is what I want to talk about.

One the day, we were asked for one of the people on our project to speak o the panel, and, after some debating, (and a little bit of rock, paper, scissors), I was the one to go up and sit on the panel. On this panel, there was someone who had started his own djing academy, someone who attended this academy and is now djing in Ibiza in some of the biggest clubs in the world, someone who has been involved in a project to stop bullying in schools and has been on the radio and TV because of it, someone who started a festival after being made redundant. . .

...And Me

Now don't get me wrong, I know stuff. In fact, I know quite a bit of stuff. But not as much stuff as the people next to me. And I sat there thinking "why have they asked me to come and sit on this panel", and when I was asked questions and found out why I was there, they asked me if I learned how to control my nerves, and I talked about my journey as a performer, from a little 8 year old who had never picked up an instrument in my life, to a 17 year old who has been the leader of her local youth orchestra and is grade 5 piano and writes her own songs and plays ukulele. I talked about how I've busked on the streets of Cardiff just because I enjoy making music. I felt in my element just talking about what I loved to do.

Afterwards, I attended a workshop all about peer mentoring (which was also taken by the lovely Fusion), where I learned a very important lesson, which I am about to tell you.

If you love something, and you work hard at it and you learn new skills in it and develop your own knowledge of the subject through your own means, you can get to the point where you are pretty good at it. You can reach the point where you can teach other people how to do what you do. If the passion for your subject radiates off you, and you find yourself rambling about your subject, don't ever apologise for it, because your passion is showing, and no one is going to dislike that. You are probably drawing people to the subject.  People are probably interested in it because you are showing such passion. With practical subjects like music, art, sports, blogging, photography, etc. not having a qualification doesn't mean you aren't qualified, the fact that you have the skill and have worked at that skill can be enough.

And the more I though this lesson, the more I think it's true. Many musicians don't have degrees in music, and artists don't need degrees in art. A lot of the time the experience is more worthwhile. In most jobs nowadays, you need experience more than you need a degree.

So next time you feel like you aren't good enough, just remember that the practice is teaching you lots of what you need to know, and I'm sure if you look in the right places, you can learn all of what you need to know.

What do you think? Does the Big Music Project interest you? Does the day sound good?  Do we need qualifications to be qualified?

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx


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