Professional musician going through a career change, not having much luck, what am I qualified/supposed to do? What methods do you recommend?
posted by vilolagrl to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, after spending 10 years working as professional (classical) musician, I'm changing careers because of economic (and physical/mental) necessity.
I'm 26, just dropped out of a performance masters program, have an undergrad in musicology (with about 23 credits of English work) from UVA, and a performance certification from another conservatory. All through my undergrad/grad years I ran a booking business to help my quartet and other friends get gigs, I was a TA in grad school, and have had multiple waitressing jobs/coffee shop gigs plus a few semesters as a library assistant at UVA. I also have been teaching lessons close to full-time for about 10 years.
I'm now living with my parents in northern-ish Virginia (close enough to commute to DC if I really need to, but far enough that I'd like to avoid 4+ hours in traffic each day if possible).
I'm subbing at schools (my mom is a reading specialist in the local school district), teaching at a local music studio and starting/conducting a youth orchestra in the area, but I need a 9-5 career-type job (Full disclosure, I would love to get into copywriting, as writing+money = awesome, and have taken a few classes through Media Bistro. I've had some experience with graphic and web design, so I currently trying to pimp out any and all freelance-type skills I have. I'm doing some Elance gigs and some volunteer things to get my resume/portfolio in shape. Music biz-type jobs are right up my alley and I'm experienced, but in VA they're hard to come by. Music education would require at least a year and a half of full-time study and the programs don't start until the fall).
I've been applying to government jobs, administrative jobs, and lots of minimum wage Target/Kohls/Walmart/Starbucks gigs, and despite trying several different resume tricks (dumbing down my resume considerably, trying my regular resume, leaving out "music", etc) for the past 7 months I've gotten a handful of interviews (maybe 2, and they were because I refused to leave without seeing a manager... stuck my foot in the door essentially).
I did try the public-school route, but I'm only eligible for alternative certification. There is a glut of certified music teachers in this area - each county's HR has to abide by the "more certified teachers we can hire, the more funds we get from the government", so I have literally been recommended by three principals to be hired (In other words, I went through the interview process, the principal liked me, called and offered me the job, then sent my application to Human Resources who called me and said something to the effect of "we can't allow the principal to hire a non-certified teacher in the current economic environment, we have to wait for a certified teacher... sorry but we're sure you'll find something!").
Well, I'm not finding anything (like many others in this economy). But I'm also feeling like I'm not qualified for anything other than teaching!
I'm really trying to get into a new, and more lucrative, career but as a "starving musician" I didn't have cash to save (for real, paying full-time tuition and squeaking by on 6-8000 a year since I was in a conservatory at 16). So I am completely tapped out, and the parents will NOT provide any assistance for schools/training programs/trainings... I'm 20, 000 grand in the hole because of grad school. It's hard to get ahead and look toward any Ad Schools/real estate, or even like, cosmetology school, when I can barely put gas in my car... or get a McJob. They're trying the "tough love" route, which blows, frankly (but I get why they're doing it).
I'm open to many different fields, so long as they are creative-ish and I can make a reasonable amount of money eventually. I can work the mail room and intern like nobody's business, so building up from nothing isn't a problem, I just don't know where to start.
Arg, help me mefi people, if you can! Being really good at something while being completely unqualified for anything else is frustrating, but I'm trying my hardest to stay positive.
When the economy was better/I was in college, I never had a hard time landing jobs, so I don't think it's me... at least I don't think so!
Oh, and just fyi I was in/first chair of several pick-up (ie weekend, one concert a month) professional orchestras but frankly I don't have the skill, patience, or physical/mental fortitude (My doctor recently told me that I would need between 3-4 surgeries to continue playing as much as I am/would need to... carpel tunnel and rotator cuff problems) to do the full-time orchestra route. I have a performance certification from a very good school and have studied with some masters, but honestly, I didn't go to Indiana or Julliard so the numbers game of "open spots v. amazing players willing to audition for 10 years until they get one" has me screwed either way.
Sorry for the length. I'm at my wit's end with all this.