What are the pros & woes of being a self-taught composer?

Kay Gardner Kay Gardner
“I created my first composition for piano at age four, and by eighteen I’d composed a full-length musical, but I never thought of myself as a composer, so I didn’t study composition when I went to music school…”
Woody Woods Woody Woods
“For me, writing music became a passion while I was still in junior high school. Being inspired by hearing a jazz version of “Whistle While You Work”, on the radio, I began writing for my school jazz band. Not knowing “The Rules of the Road”, so to speak, I wrote what I heard in my head and felt in my heart…”
Elizabeth Brown Elizabeth Brown
“It hadn’t occurred to me, until a friend asked if I’d write some music for his choreography, that I could be a composer, though I’ve always had private music in my head…”
Dennis Bathory-Kitsz Dennis Bathory-Kitsz
“The absence of having to learn and then discard the expectations of a string of composition mentors means that I’ve never been bound to the stylistic expectations of any school…”
Don Dilworth Don Dilworth
“When I interviewed at a conservatory in my youth and asked whether I should enroll there, they said no — saying that I would not be able to find a job. I always take good advice, so I majored in physics at MIT instead…”
John Musto John Musto
“The very act of learning to play a piece of music is to re-think it with the composer, retrace his footsteps (finger-steps) and then in the best performances, re-compose it onstage. In this sense, I will always be studying composition…”