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Su Terry: BLOG

Alternative to Being a Professional Musician

Posted on July 18, 2012 with 0 comments

Music students are certainly aware of the scarcity of professional music jobs available when they graduate from music school ready to embark upon a career.  I always tell people, don't try for a career as a professional player unless you are totally committed to it, because it's hard.  Most of us pros resent the fact that we are compelled to not only keep ourselves in top condition (practicing, rehearsing, composing, recording, listening, performing, traveling to jobs, studying further---this is more than a full-time job already) but also to market ourselves. 

Marketing is also a full time job.  That's why you can major in it at school, just like you can major in music. 

My advice to would-be pros is that you team up with fellow students in marketing, in art, in film/video, in radio, in business, etc.  Make your team now.  You are an adult already, might as well start doing what you want to do.  If I were studying marketing or business at a college, I would be thrilled to team up with real live musicians and artists and start trying to market them!  Isn't that what you're studying how to do?  So do it!

Music students should keep in mind that there are MANY job opportunities that call upon their skills in music.  Consider, for instance, majoring in acoustical engineering.  Acoustical engineers work with architects, contractors and others in design and construction to soundproof and improve sound quality in work environments as well as performing environments. 

Pro musicians, especially those who travel to play in a lot of different places, know firsthand how infrequently the acoustics of the venue (this includes a lot a famous venues too!) are up to the task of allowing the performance to be heard both by the audience and the performers in a suitable  manner.  I wish it were not like this, but it is. 

At my alma mater, the University of Hartford, you can major in acoustical engineering.  You have to audition to be accepted into the program, just as if you were applying to Hartt, the performing arts school.

Robert Celmer, the director of the department, says they have a job placement rate of 93.3%!

Their graduate school acceptance rate is 100%.

Oh, how I wish some of you talented folks would consider becoming acoustical engineers, arts administrators, and Congresspersons!  The world needs you!