It used to be that an online education had a stigma attached to it, as if it wasn’t a valid way to receive a top notch education. Fortunately, that stigma was met head on and disproven by world renowned educational institutions, such as the Berklee College of Music and Boston University, as well as many other colleges and universities that recognize that a quality education should be made available to those who prefer (or need) to learn online.
With online education opportunities, it is now possible to earn a bachelor’s degree in music from a top tier college or university, no matter where it is in the world, without ever having to step foot on campus.
What is Online Music Education?
Online music education combines advancements in technology with the traditional structure of a bricks and mortar music education. By offering complete music degree programs online, colleges and universities have made it possible for those who are performing musicians, private tutors, or otherwise engaged with work or family, to advance their careers with minimal interference.
The options for focus areas within the study of music are abundant and it’s possible to get a degree in any branch of music that is available at a traditional university. Some of these include:
● K-12 Music education
● Music performance
● Music industry such as marketing and promotions
● Mixing and engineering
● Music production, including for television and film
● Music psychology and music therapy
● Many more
The Benefits of Pursuing an Online Music Degree
You can save time. The most obvious benefit of pursuing a music education degree online is the convenience and flexibility of being able to learn from home, where students can literally earn a degree while wearing their pajamas. That’s a bit simplistic, but the convenience of not being tied to specific class times or having to navigate through the logistics of getting to campus is a huge draw for many people who choose to study online.
With online music courses, students log on when they’re able, and complete work at their own pace (though there are deadlines, just as with traditional education settings). Additionally, all class resources are easily accessible online whenever the student needs them.
You can (and will) devote more time to devote to learning. With many online courses and programs there is actually an increase in terms of the accountability one is held to in order to earn grades.
In traditional classes, a large percent of the course grade is weighted on class participation. What this often translates to is that as long as you are in your seat, you will get these points regardless of how much you actually engaged with the subject matter.
With online courses it is not possible to simply give points based on participation or attendance for obvious reasons. Instead, mandatory participation in chat rooms and forums is common. The end result is that more time is spent engaging in course material and increased mastery of the course content.
While this may sound more time consuming, the time saved commuting to and from campus sets this off ultimately increasing the overall time that is devoted to learning.
You can save money. Students can save money on transportation, not having to live on or near the university and pay the typically inflated housing costs associated with campus living and given the nature of the programs, textbooks and materials are often offered in digital format, thus reducing the insane costs of textbooks.
You are not limited by geography when selecting a program. Another advantage of choosing to attend school online is that the student can enroll in whatever school he or she wishes, because they’re not limited by location. For those seeking a quality music education, that’s a big perk, considering the best schools aren’t always nearby. In tandem with this benefit is the reduced cost associated with online education at a major university or college. Because the student isn’t paying for housing or travel, seeking an online education is infinitely more cost-effective, and earning a degree from a previously cost-prohibitive and distant university is now a legitimate possibility.
With online education it’s also easier to get into a quality school. There’s room for more students and less competition for spots, which is especially important for those seeking entry into an historically competitive university or college. With the logistics of a bricks and mortar school, there are only so many seats available per class. Online education, however, is only limited to the number of people a professor can handle.
Increased chance of getting an online career. For many, the notion of working from home or remotely is a necessity or a personal desire. Getting an online degree will better prepare you for this opportunity as you will become accustomed to the various technologies needed to be successful in an online work and collaboration environment. Many positions in the music industry, such as engineering or giving private lessons online are seeing major growth.
The Disadvantages of an Online Music Education
While there are very few disadvantages to pursuing an online music education, they do exist. For example, anyone who wants to take online music education courses must be self-motivated because it’s easy to procrastinate when the professor isn’t there to lead the way. In addition, online courses require good time management skills because there’s no set time or place to be in class. It’s up to the student to organize his or her schedule around making time for the courses. In short, online music education requires the student to be responsible for his or her own education. For those who can’t meet that criteria, online classes may not be the best choice.
The education received by online students is the same as the education received by those who attend school in person. The courses are taught by the same instructors using the same curriculum, and the degree earned is no different. For busy self-starters who are truly passionate about music and motivated to earn a degree, an online music education is a viable option.
This article was contributed by guest author Music Education Partners.