There was a thread the other day about how whether or not a 4 year college degree is really necessary in order to make a good living. Many suggested learning a trade instead. While the world does need pipefitters, welders and electricians, I think most of us here would also agree that the world also needs authors, graphic artists, and musicians. College is where you would generally go if you wanted to learn how to do any of these things well. The trouble is, the chances of you being anything other than functionally poor should you decide to engage in any of these pursuits is near zero, so the ROI of a degree in them is marginal at best. We've all heard the jokes and cliches about the "starving artist", but it's unfortunately true that unless you get extremely lucky there is no money in music or the arts. Most of us know this. Anyone who's played in a band for any length of time knows this. So consequently, most parents tend to discourage their children from pursuing a career in them. Myself included. My 12 year old loves to draw, sing, dance, and play the piano. She is immensely talented. But I know that unless she wants to work at Starbucks and starve for most of her life, she's going to have get a "real job". Which to me generally means settling for something you have very little interest in, but provides you with the means to feed and clothe yourself. Part of me wants her to follow her creative passions and be fulfilled, but another part of me hopes she doesn't. Because I want her to be able to live comfortably and avoid a life of financial hardship and struggle. I hate that our culture forces me to feel this way. I believe that there's a definite social prejudice towards artists and musicians. I think most people tend to view what they do as little more than a pleasant distraction. Nobody has a problem if you want to spend your evenings and weekends playing your little songs or doing your weird little drawings, but tell them you want to do it for a living and they'll look at you like you're insane. Our culture kills an artist's drive to create because artists aren't encouraged or respected. The popular attitude is that unless you're producing value for someone else by working 12 or 14 hours a day and coming home dirty and exhausted, it's not "real work". A beautiful painting, an engrossing story, the perfect 3 minute rock and roll song.....these are the things that make life worth living, yet we've set up a system where those who would have the desire to create them are discouraged at every turn by the need to survive within that system.