19. October 2007 · Comments Off on What Every Music Department Should Do · Categories: Links, Read!

Like beauty, success is defined in the eye of the beholder. Most classical music students tend to define their future success as a career playing in orchestras, chamber groups or as a soloist. This traditional view leaves other important career opportunities overlooked, a situation Rice’s Shepherd School of Music is determined to remedy.

Already known for its leadership in training top-tier classical musicians, the Shepherd School officially launched a national effort to reset students’ definition of career success with the Oct. 12-14, forum “Careers in Music Performance: Convening Student Perspectives and Creating Models for the 21st Century.” Students and faculty from the most highly respected music training institutions in the U.S. attended, including New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University and Juilliard.


We do our students a disservice if we give them no idea that there are options in the music biz. We do them an even larger disservice if we don’t make it clear that no matter how fabulous they are as musicians they still might not find that dream playing gig. It’s just the way things are. In addition, we do our students a disservice if we aren’t honest about the struggles and difficulties in our performance professions.

I love what I do. But that doesn’t mean everyone is always happy, that everyone in the orchestras to which I belong get along all the time. It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t times I just want to toss my oboe and try something less stressful. Fortunately the better times always win out.

“When students have a narrow view of the profession, they limit themselves in finding their own best career path,” Kamins said. “There is a misconception amongst music students that you get a job in an orchestra and you live happily ever after. It’s incredible to get and keep that job, but it doesn’t guarantee artistic satisfaction.”

So shouldn’t all music schools provide this realistic sort of thing? I think so.

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