The ~Joys~ of Getting Older
24 is a funny feeling. This past trip around the sun felt like it flew by! With all the hecticness and uncertainty of this past year, the days just kept ticking away. Now I’m 24, almost have a Master’s degree and am waiting to hear from schools.
But 24 is the age where people start to question you.
What are you doing with your life?
You’re still in school? For what? Why?
Is there money in what you do?
What are you going to do after you graduate? What’s the plan?
It’s the age where people start expecting you to have figured it out by now. It’s the age where people question why you don’t have a full-time job, or when you’re going to be realistic about things.
The amount of times that i’ve had to argue that a music degree is practical is way too many. So many people who don’t understand the business always have lots of opinions about our career paths. First, why? Did I ask for your opinion? Second, music degrees and the industry can be a bit unknown, especially right now. There aren’t jobs to apply for or audition for at this moment in time, but prior to this, there was still a period of unknowingness. It’s a period of audition, after audition; rejection after rejection. It’s a time of making connections and seeing what sorts of gigs and freelancing opportunities come your way. It’s a period of, what’s next?
This period between school and securing a job is the scariest I think. I know many friends who have come out of school and panicked because they don’t know what their next step is. They don’t know what the future holds or when they’ll receive a steady paying job. This is the period of time where people question us, and then we question ourselves. Is this practical?
To solidify a teaching job, a broadway seat, or an orchestra seat takes time. That’s part of what people don’t seem to understand. This is something that we learn to be patient with. In the meantime, we take on part-time jobs elsewhere to have some sort of income. We’re adults. We have bills to pay. Insurance to purchase. Needs to tend to. Not having a full-time position and being in that purgatory area of life is frustrating, and can make us feel down about the career path we’ve chosen.
As musicians choosing the performance career path, we need to understand that we’re entrepreneurs too. It’s not just about practicing, going in and playing well for auditions. It’s about connections with other musicians in your area. It’s about connections with musicians across the country and the world. Social media is such a strong tool these days to be able to build your brand and create a platform for yourself. This helps you get noticed for future jobs people may want to hire you for. This helps you spread your knowledge and what you have to offer, whether it's on or off the instrument. Part of your career consists of who you are on the internet. It’s also important to note that what you put out is there forever, so make sure what you like, post, retweet, etc. is a reflection of who you are.
But let’s get to the point here. Whether you’re 19, 24, or in your 30’s, the road you take to success doesn’t not define you. The amount of time it takes does not define you. Each and every person, whether you’re in the field of music or not, has a path they take that is suitable for them. There’s no race. There’s no requirement of when you must be fully employed. There is just you, and what you make of it. Whether it takes more years of schooling, or a year off, you will end up where you are meant to be.
To the people who feel pressured: what you’re doing is right. Keep going at your own pace.
To the people who are doing the pressurin: let us figure out where we’re meant to be and when.
Life is a journey. Take things as they come and never stop doing what you love.
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