Category Archives: Education

5 Tips For Saving Money While Going Through Music School

5 Tips For Saving Money While Going Through Music School

If you are thinking about going to music school, you are entering into a highly competitive environment. Because there is so much demand for those coveted seats, music school is typically very expensive.

For example, if you were to study at Julliard this year, you could expect to pay around $63,950 in tuition, books, supplies, personal expenses, room, and board.

You probably are already adding up the thousands of dollars in student loan debt you expect to owe when you graduate.

You may feel hopeful about some possible presidential programs to tackle the student loan debt crisis, but it is best not to wait on government officials to solve your problem.

You should do everything you can to save money and reduce debt while you are in school.

1. Consider commuting.

Consider commuting

This all depends on where you go to school, but take the example of attending Julliard. There you will pay almost $16,000 a year for room and board if you decide to live on campus.

Try dividing that by 12. You might be able to save significant money each month if you rent somewhere and commute downtown.

Of course, that may not be true with Julliard because we are talking about NYC, but there are many situations where commuting could save you hundreds of dollars a month.

2. Use public transportation.

Use public transportation

If you are thinking about buying a car or you are already making payments on one, consider selling it while you are in school—especially if you are going to live on campus.

If you live on campus, paying for student parking costs an arm and a leg. You also do not need the car as much to get around.

When you do need to travel, the bus and/or metro system probably will work just fine. Your school may also run a free shuttle service.

3. Eat at your school’s cafeteria.

Eat at your school’s cafeteria

If you do not have a student meal plan, get one. Yes, the food may taste awful, but it is also the cheapest food you are going to get if you are not willing to cook.

If you are able to cook and you have the means (even a microwave and a fridge), you should, because that can also save you a lot of money.

Whatever you do, resist the temptation to eat across the street every day at the local pizza place. Even if restaurants next to campus offer discounts to students, you will still spend more than you have to in order to eat.

4. Buy generic.

Buy generic

When you think about buying generic, you may be thinking about prescriptions, but there are other items which you can purchase generic as well.

You can purchase generic toilet paper, generic paper towel, and other generic household supplies. Just staying away from major brand names can significantly curb your living costs.

5. Get rid of your vices.

Get rid of your vices

When you are fresh out of your parents’ house for the first time in your life, you will probably want to party. But be careful that you do not allow a few drinks to turn into a habit.

Many freshmen take up drinking and smoking casually only to realize a year later that they cannot put down the bottle or ditch the cigarettes.

What a lot of people do not think about is the financial cost that these vices add up to. Smoking and drinking are very expensive if they turn into a daily or even weekly habit.

Over the course of your college education, you could be looking at thousands of dollars. Quit the binging and you will save a ton of money.

Saving money while you are going through music school is difficult, but there are many things you can do to cut back on your costs.

Ultimately, that is all money you will have available someday to help you pay off your student loans.

Looking for even more helpful ideas?  Try implementing some of these creative ways to save money.

How To Finance Your Music Education

How To Finance Your Music Education

If you dream of becoming a concert violinist, pianist, or trumpet player, you probably already know that the cost of music education is substantial.

Music education is expensive even for K-12 students.  When it comes time to head to university, you can be sure that you are going to play an arm and a leg.  In-state, you could pay more than $24,000 per year.

Get into a top school like Julliard, and you might pay more than $63,000 per year.  That doesn’t necessarily even account for all the expenses you’ll need to make related to maintaining your instruments.

How can you afford to pay for your music education?  Here are a few ideas.

1. Apply for grants and scholarships.

Apply for grants and scholarships

Music school is highly competitive, and so are all the relevant grants and scholarships which are out there. Still, it may be well worth your time to apply and see what you can get.

Look for scholarships and grants which are highly specific—those which are only offered to students of particular colleges, or those which are only available for a certain obscure instrument. You may be surprised what you can get.

2. Apply for personal loans.

Apply for personal loans

While you could apply for a traditional student loan, you may find that a personal loan actually offers you friendlier terms.  You could end up with a much lower interest rate and less aggressive collections.

More and more music students are turning in this direction.  Find the best personal loans available for your credit score.

3. Try out peer to peer lending.

Try out peer to peer lending

It isn’t easy to qualify for a loan if you are just embarking out on your college education fresh out of high school. You may have little or no credit history, and a lot of traditional lenders will not even give you consideration unless you have already established a positive record.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders on the other hand may be more than willing to finance your music education.

Look online and you may be able to find a lender who offers you a flexible loan tailored exactly to your needs. And since you are working one-on-one with an individual or business that takes a more personal interest in supporting your education, you may find that they are easier to work with going forward.

4. Go the military route.

Go the military route

If you are game for a regimental lifestyle, the military represents a huge opportunity for music students. Not only will the military help you to pay for your musical education, but it will open doors to a lifetime of career opportunities.

Few other music careers offer you the chance to travel the world or to take home a regular paycheck without worrying about where your next gig will come from. The military can offer you job security in a line of work where peace of mind is usually a luxury.

So is it hard to finance a music education?

Yes, but you do not necessary need to pay the entire cost out of pocket, nor do you have to rely 100% on traditional student loans. With university more expensive than ever, there are also more financing options than ever before. Good luck!

4 Strategies To Use When You’re Broke And Can’t Pay Your Student Loans

4 Strategies To Use When You're Broke And Can't Pay Your Student Loans

You’ve recently graduated from college and you have over $60,000 in student loans to pay back.

Over the past year, you’ve job-hunted like crazy, but you haven’t even been able to find work in your field.

Eventually you settled for a job which pays you around $20,000 a year—but you’ve already spent more than a year unemployed.

You’re broke, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon. What do you do?

If you find yourself in a situation like this, you are hardly on your own. The average student loan debt has increased year over year for more than a decade.

The average 2015 graduate owes back more than $35,000. The total student loan debt in the US is more than $1.2 trillion.

How can you pay back your student loans and get back to living your life? It certainly won’t happen overnight, but here are a few suggestions.

1. First, start keeping a budget.

First, start keeping a budget

It is seriously amazing how many people do not do this. For that reason, it bears some emphasis.

Tally up your receipts every month and figure out where every penny is going. Compare that against how much money is incoming and figure out where you stand.

2. Look for creative ways to cut costs.

Look for creative ways to cut costs

Even if you are already living economically, there may be ways you can be even more thrifty.

Consider downsizing your home or renting out a room to make up for some of your mortgage or rent costs. Apply for food stamps if you think you may qualify.

Cook for a week whenever you can (soups, stews, and casseroles are great for saving money). Negotiate to a lower payment rate on your phone bill if you can.

Ditch your cable subscription. Trade in your expensive car for a cheaper one.

Look for a better deal on your insurance (bundling insurance for your home and car is a great way to lower costs).

3. See if you qualify for loan forgiveness, forbearance, or deferment.

See if you qualify for loan forgiveness, forbearance, or deferment

Deferment is better since interest will not accrue.

You may also qualify for an income-driven repayment plan. This puts a cap on your monthly payments so you are never parting with more than 10-20% of your discretionary income.

In some cases that may mean that you temporarily are relieved of the burden of paying on your loans altogether.

4. Refinance your student loans.

Refinance your student loans

While some lucky graduates may qualify for a government program to forgive or defer a loan, most will not.

One thing you can do however is apply for a program to refinance your loan at a lower interest rate.  This could save you thousands of dollars over time.  You can refinance your student loan with SoFi.

It can be daunting to wonder how you will ever pay back your student loans while you are struggling just to survive.

But there are options, and if you do your research and make some clever adjustments to your life, you may be able to start getting back on track!

7 Things To Consider Before Applying To A Music School

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The music school admissions process is daunting compared to the average college application. Prospective students must prove themselves not only academically, but also artistically. There are overlapping deadlines, prescreenings, auditions, and interviews to work through. To make things more confusing, music schools vary widely on numerous dimensions. How do you sort them all out?

Take a deep breath, and think about the essentials. It can be as simple as asking the right questions early on, and letting your answers inform the process from beginning to end. Here, we discuss some of the most important things to consider before you apply to music school.

1. What Do You Want To Do?

Before you can identify the school that’s right for you, you have to ask a few questions of yourself. Most fundamentally: What do you want to do? Some people want to become professional musicians. But not everyone wants to play music for a living. Like most creative disciplines, music has a wide breadth of foci and possible career tracks, some involving performance and some not.

The ‘music business’ concept in particular can be a tricky catch-all. Bear in mind that producers, marketers, promoters, equipment experts, event managers, talent recruiters, label owners and product planners, for instance, each have distinct training needs. A budding concert promoter may get nothing from the same program touted by aspiring multimedia specialists and audio engineers. The more specific you can be about your professional requirements, the easier it will be to weigh the pros and cons of different institutions.

2. How Far Will You Go?

Some people pursue their music education all the way to a Ph.D., qualifying them for research and teaching. Others don’t have the time, money or inclination for graduate school and prefer to stop with a 4-year bachelor’s degree in hand. Still others just want raw instrument training and nothing more; for these musicians, music lessons or short-term certificate programs may make more sense than paying for a degree. Identify your sweet spot and you can avoid languishing in school for years, uncertain of what comes next.

3. What Does the Program Really Teach?

What if you want to get into the business side of music? Applicants should know that some music business degrees are a poor fit for those who want to break into the industry. Some programs are little more than garden-variety business degrees with a couple music-oriented electives. Avoid programs with minimal music-specific content if your heart is set on the music industry. The easiest way to filter out generic business degrees is by checking out the core curriculum. You should be able to draw a direct connection between the coursework and where you see yourself in five and ten years.

4. What Does the School Offer Besides Music?

What if your music career doesn’t work out? Getting a degree is a seriously useful hedge against unemployment in a highly competitive job market. This is one reason it can be valuable to pursue a music major within a broader-based liberal arts school as opposed to placing all bets on a highly specialized music school or art institute with little or no general education on offer.

5. What Industry Connections Does the School Have?

One of the greatest advantages of attending college to work in the music industry is the professional connections you can access while you’re there. It is thus essential to choose a music program or school based on how much it has to offer in the way of professional networking, career connections, and real-world experience. Programs formally address this need in several ways, including through internships, job placement assistance, visits to major trade shows, and special seminars that emphasize cutting-edge people and products in the industry.

6. How’s the Culture of Collaboration?

Networking is also an informal part of music school. Look for faculty with an active role in the industry as well as professors that proactively mentor their students. Mentorship is fantastically helpful. Also, search for schools whose students genuinely enjoy the work and come from all over the place. Diversity is an asset. Remember, you will not just be learning musical mechanics during school, but cultivating lasting relationships with faculty, fellow students, their friends, and their friends’ friends. The quality of these relationships matters a great deal.

7. Which Music School Should I Choose?

So you’ve narrowed down your list of schools to those that jibe with your budget, career objectives and musical specialty. How do you make your final decision?

The best music school isn’t the one with the fanciest reputation, the most competitive spots, or even the best funding. It’s the one that best fits your personality, learning style, musical abilities and aspirations. Brainstorm your personal requirements, so you can choose a music school based on how well it satisfies your desires and needs. Don’t go anywhere you can’t see yourself thoroughly enjoying every single day for years on end.