Great article about the business of singing and the differences today in the business! Some excerpts:
“It’s important to recognize that success as a professional musician requires more than technical training,” says bass-baritone Jan Opalach, who teaches at the Eastman School of Music and counsels his students on career issues but does not teach courses in them. “They need fluency with emerging technologies, social media. Networking is very different now than it was. It’s faster, and in some ways it’s detrimental, because kids expect to be successful yesterday. It’s American Idol syndrome — ‘If I can just get the opportunity, I can be a success.’ But whether you regard these as positive or negative developments, the crucial thing is that kids cannot stay in a practice room for four years and then say, ‘Okay, I’m ready now.'”
That rose-tinted view of career-building is apparently endemic. Angela Beeching, who spent seventeen years running the New England Conservatory Career Services Center, and in recent years has been overseeing the Center for Music Entrepreneurship at the Manhattan School of Music, said that young singers, particularly, have trouble realistically imagining the paths their careers are likely to take.
Ramon Ricker, who directs the Eastman School’s Institute for Music Leadership and is the author of Lessons from a Street-Wise Professor: What You Won’t Learn at Most Music Schools (Soundown), describes his courses as “elective by design” and says about 33 percent of Eastman’s juniors, seniors and graduate students take them.
“When we started offering these classes,” Ricker says, “music was being taught using a model that had not changed for seventy, eighty, 100 years. You take a one-on-one lesson, you sing in the choir, and you take theory, history, chamber music and a few humanities courses. But the world has changed, and many of us felt that there was no point in preparing our students for 1950s careers. We need to prepare them for today, and for fifty years into the future.”
I also highly recommend that ALL young musicians in conservatory (singers included) read Ricker’s book!
READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE: