Posted by Revelle Team on Oct 20, 2015
Having a passion for music is an excellent gift; a gift that many students choose to foster with an advanced music education. Yet, too often, students may graduate without the practical knowledge required to pursue a musical career. They’re left to search and scheme for work, all while wondering why no one told them how to build a successful livelihood through music.
As a teacher, part of your calling involves building up the next generation of music educators in a way that benefits society and your students, and you can accomplish that goal by helping students learn how to leverage their music education for the future. And although there are countless methods to employ and almost as many paths for success as there are musicians, these ideas can help spark your students’ imagination and start them off on the right foot.
Consider Information in the Light of its Eventual Use
Some personal preferences will naturally dictate the course your students choose to follow. For instance, a gifted student who shows amazing aptitude may naturally dream of playing in a professional orchestra. Or, another student might have a strong desire to become an educator herself. Depending on the path your student intends to take, you can offer information that will facilitate their goals and build a foundation that will help them secure future employment.
Achieve Music Mastery
Stress how important it is to become a comprehensive and outstanding musician. While this alone won’t deliver instant results, it does provide the base qualifications needed for a musical career. The job market is tough right now, and who knows what it will be like two, five, or ten years down the road. If there are only a certain number of availabilities, you can be sure that hiring committees will be searching for the most qualified candidates. Working towards that goal while still in school will help students prepare for a competitive job market when they graduate.
This might involve helping your students develop a “thick skin” concerning constructive criticism, or offering judicial encouragement at exactly the right moment. Teachers have an influential impact on a student’s desire to excel, so you should use that power to motivate students in specific ways.
Develop Entrepreneurial Skills Sets
Whether your students are considering careers as educators or professional musicians, developing entrepreneurial skills sets provides an important advantage for succeeding in any field. Skills like public speaking, basic marketing techniques, and accounting may seem trivial now, but when trying to establish a private practice or while interviewing/auditioning for a coveted position, they’re invaluable.
Encourage your students in these areas. You can even provide some first-hand experience by allowing a group of students to arrange, manage, and promote your next recital.
Expand Their Outlook
Now-a-days, opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Indeed, social media and other cultural game-changers have altered the landscape and students can basically let their imaginations run rampant.
For those students considering a career in music education, stress the fact that public school music classes such as orchestra, band, and chorus are by no means the only option. There are plenty of opportunities for private instructors out there. Offering courses through local youth clubs or community centers can build an initial reputation and clientele, or graduates can reach out to private schools or home school groups to offer services.
Students who aspire to play in a professional capacity can reach out to local caterers and other service industries if their dream audition doesn’t go as planned. Service professionals such as wedding planners always need scores of competent “vendors” to offer their clients, and you never know when a last minute cancellation will move your string ensemble from back-up to first choice.
Experience is always a plus, so if your students are old enough, you may want to encourage them to purchase a booth at a local bridal fair. They’ll be hundreds of potential clients there, and players can demonstrate their ability and hand out cards.
Utilize School Resources
Many Music schools have dedicated programs available to help graduates enter the workforce. Career development centers often offer a wealth of information and assistance. For example, Berklee partners with over 1000 organizations that offer internships for music students and operates a special program designed to develop entrepreneurial skills. You can find out what your (or the student’s) school offers and help promote it.
Helping your students leverage their music education will ensure that the next generation of musicians succeed in the workplace of tomorrow.