How many of us are working in our chosen field after we graduate from our tertiary studies?
The better question might be; how many of us graduated with a degree such as a Bachelor of Music, and then promptly left it behind to work in an unrelated industry?
We all have bills and rent or a mortgage to pay but does everyone really have the dedication, motivation or ‘hustle’ that it takes to pursue a career as a professional musician? Four, five or six years of study can seem like a long journey, but it can go by so quickly and before you know it, it is time to graduate and get a job.
Being a full-time tertiary student can be a somewhat cocooning experience, where you focus entirely on this goal of completing and excelling in your studies… and then suddenly it is time to join ‘the real world’.
When you are a doing a performance-based music degree, not everyone may necessarily think of exploring other employment opportunities in music. However, the focus should not be solely on performing professionally as an end goal.
All those hours of dedicated practice, the commitment to turning up to rehearsals, all the public performance experience, preparation for exams, time management, the ability to work alone and with others, constantly learning new repertoire; those are all skills we learn or practice along the way and they can surely translate across to other work opportunities within or outside of a musical background.
A musical background is useful in many areas including music and arts departments of a school, the administrative workings of performing arts organisations (local orchestras etc.), arts and cultural centres, music retail businesses, print music publishing and distribution, music societies and associations and music software companies like Optimo Systems.
Feeling lost after you graduate because one possible job avenue has not quite worked out is not a reason to feel like all is lost or that you are now a ‘failure’ and this may well be the case for any student graduating from any discipline.