Self-Taught vs Formally Taught Musicians: WOMEN EDITION

Hailing from a musical family, I’ve noticed that every musician in my Family are males, except one female who is a singer. I created a documentary in which I compared and contrasted the practices of self taught and formally taught musicians, focusing on the success level of autodidacts, which is an individual who indulges in self-teaching. All four musicians were males, unintentionally of course. While I was creating this project, I thought to myself focusing on female musicians would be quite interesting. Most women I know that are into music focus on vocal ability as opposed to playing an instruments. I’m a part of the Rutgers Newark jazz Mosiac and there is one female musician who plays the saxophone, the rest are males.  While focusing on the theme of musicians who decided to teach themselves and those who are formally trained, this project focuses on the perspective off female musicians. I have an interview set up while a young female musician named Kezia Harley who is a self taught guitarist and also a violinist named Stacy Beltran. A female musician that caught my attention was a Israeli born violinist named Miri Ben Ari. She gained fame in 2004 by playing melodies on rap songs on BET. Eventually she began working with Jay-Z and Kanye West. 

Musicians who are formally taught may have an upper hand on musicians who are self-taught in terms of knowing music theory. It is good to have that foundation. When you a formally trained, you learn how to not only play but to hold your instrument correctly and you are given the tools for you to find “who you are”. However, self-taught musicians view music a little differently. Music is created by human emotion. Those who created their own music and sound choose to create a sound that conveys their personal feeling as opposed to playing a piece from Beethoven, which would be playing his emotions. Some musician choose not to learn formally learn music because they feel they cannot formally learning something artistic. It’s all about feeling, emotion, and vision. However, one saying may discredit that theory. It is wise to know the rules to break them properly. 


Smith, Carlee. “Pros and Cons of Being a Self-taught Musician.” Berks County News Reading Eagle Newspaper. N.p., 8 Oct. 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

“Classical Trained Musicians vs Self-Taught Musicians.” Classical Trained Musicians vs Self-Taught Musicians. N.p., 20 Oct. 2010. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

Jacobs, Alex. “”Self Taught” Musicians – Alex Jacobs.” Awakening360. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013

De Vivo, Marcela. “The Benefits Of Being Classically Trained As A Musician.” Dotted Music. N.p., 4 June 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

Wilson, Casee. “Music Theory- Do “real” Musician Need It?” FALLING IN GREEN. N.p., 5 Nov. 2011. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

Vitale, John L. “Formal and Informal Music Learning: Attitudes and Perspectives of Secondary School Non-Music Teachers.” N.p., May 2011. Web.



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