Steve Swallow once said "Wanting to be a musician is not such a good thing, but if you have to be a musician you will b alright..." Times change and schooling has gotten prohibitively expensive. I went to NEC after having an undergraduate degree not in music. After a semester I quit the school and studied with my instrumental teachers at NEC (Robert Brink , violin and Joe Allard Saxophone) and privately with Jerry Bergonzi. I learned more in three lessons from Jerry than anything that happened at NEC. Jerry, by the way, went to Berklee and played with Miroslav and /Herbie and many others but quit and went to the local State Teacher college to finish his degree. He studied piano privately with Madame Chartoff in a room with Herbie Hancock, Charlie Binacos and two other luminaries I can't recall. If your goal is to play professionally, you do not need a school, per se. You may need a good teacher. When I quit the conservatory both my teachers, Jerry and Robert Brink told me about their leaving music school early. With the way the music business is headed, spending 100k + on a performance degree may not be the best way to become a great player. Berklee is famous for giving students "scholarships" for the tuition and then requiring them to stay at the dorm and making all their money that way. The new school lets you pick a teacher and then study with him or her and pay the school , who in turn pays your teacher. They are a middle man. If you want to just study music, there are many great players who teach. A school may let you feel that you are in some way legitimizing your quest, but in the end, it is your quest, and it is legit on it's own and it will be successful if you become the player you aspire to be. Or, it may be successful because of the experience it gives you. I would humbly advise you to find the teacher you admire for his/her playing and pedagogy and go study with that teacher for a year. During that time, work or just practice all day long if you can afford it. Jerry told me the only good part of music school was meeting the cats who went there and networking. Find an alternative way to network and get a teacher. And save your money.