Friday, 9 May 2014

Why You Should Just Do That Certification

Today I wrote my last music theory exam; through the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). Though I should mention that by last, I mean the last level. Who knows whether I will have to write it again. It all depends on the mark I receive.

Either way, I realized today I've been studying music for over 17 years.

Being musical since the 17th century - circa 1997

Some would say all of that entirely pointless. It's another pile of papers. It's following the dogma of an old system about following rather than creating. Especially because I have yet to challenge the Accredited Royal Conservatory Teacher exam which allows me to officially teach as a RCM member. And that, at least in Canada, is how 90% of music students want to be taught, the other 10% are just causual adults players or beginning children who have parents who don't care about sticking their kid in that system yet.

A part of me agrees that all those years were utterly and entirely pointless. After all, the sad thing about society these days is you don't many prospective job offers, let alone recognition, without a piece of paper from a larger institutional body that declares you as sane, intelligent and generally fit to do whatever job it has said you can do. That bothers me as an individual who frankly would rather hang out in the back corner, as far from the center stage as possible, because it just perpetuates the negative image people have of Introverts.

In short, unless you can stand on a soap box or show off obvious fame (which "always" implies expertise, though I know just as many famous individuals got there on no intelligence, even as there are some famous people who got there through legitimate hard-work, dedication and talent), you are considered incompetent. Cue being passed over as another faceless, boring individual who a potential employer doesn't care a flip about.

So why should you bother doing any certifications period? Especially as an Introvert? Or perhaps you are an Extrovert who loves the trades, or IT work but you are terrible at taking multiple choice exams?
Are you bad at your job? Are you any less enthusiastic and motivated? Are you any less willing to learn and practice?


So again I ask, why should you bother getting certifications? Here are Four Reasons You Need to Agree to Before you Certify for a Certification Attempt:

1. You will learn a new skill

This is by far the most practical though valid of the points but unless you can say yes, to the folllowing four, keep in mind there is little reason to get that certification. After all, a skill is only as useful as one that will be used. Whether eventually for a job or in another aspect of your life. For example, bearing in mind I have no idea if I will ever be a fully RCM qualified teacher as I frankly have a million other things I wish to do, my music education has broaded my understanding of it and thus my pleasure and enjoyment of it. It comes up as an area that has taught me many life skills as well as being a point I can use for discussion through other skills, like right here in this blog.

2. You will have to practice your weaknesses.
3. You will meet new people doing the same thing.

Numbers 2 and 3 are also important because there will always be an aspect of weakness in whatever certification you are doing, whether it is a written portion full or memorizing or being quick on your feet in terms of reaction time, say for something like a National Lifeguard Certification. Plus, people. If the certification is getting you out of your comfort zone but is up the alley of your interests or job, then meeting people means making connections that could help you with anything from forming simple study groups to potentially having a connection through an employee to an employer.

4. You will be trying. Trying is better than doing Nothing.

Yes, this is perhaps the most airy faerie or cheesy reason, but honestly, 99% of times out of 100, to root of your reason to not do something will probably be a fear of failure. With certifications that is almost as bad as being told you're incompetent to your face because it's between you and an institution, not just you an an employer or teacher. (Then again, any teacher who says you are terrible should get their bottoms right out of that position immediately).

When faced with whether or not to do a certification, don't put it off. Just try. Give it a shot. Yes, you may fail. It happens. A lot. But whoever told a baby they fail when their learning to walk and they keep falling over?

Nonetheless, if you do find yourself coming against failure after failure after failure. Yes, perhaps then you do need to reassess why you are doing it and what it will actually mean for you in the long run, both practically and emotionally but I'll save that for a later post.

Do you think certifications are worth the effort, especially if you fail the first or second try


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