Printer-friendly version

Entry No.1- Life after College as a Music Major

Briana Page

Written by
Published: January 28, 2014 at 1:35 AM [UTC]

Entry No.1- Life after College as a Music Major

So if you are anything like me, you were very nervous and excited about finally earning your degree in music…. but didn't have a thought about what to do when you had to become an adult in the real world.

A little about me…

My name is Briana, I graduated in the Spring of 2012 with a bachelors in violin performance from the University of Texas at Austin with honors. Despite the fact that I had a great report card, this meant very little when entering the "real world."

After graduation I went to Italy for a chamber music festival with no worries about what I would do …I still don't know why I had zero plans about the future at this time. I guess I thought I would take a year off and apply for grad school to knock off some more free time with no responsibilities. But when I decided not to return to college, I was struck with the sudden responsibility that I would have to figure my own life out.

At the music school I learned nothing about finding work or gigs…I learned hardly anything practical. I remember a few of my teachers vaguely  hinting that I would have a rough road ahead..but not nearly enough. I did absolutely no preparation for any type of job lead after graduation. I must have been stupid.

So this is what happened…I moved home with my parents…sudden death..just kidding..

I honestly can say I couldn't have better parents who were so supportive no matter  what… but it still hurt having to come home.. I had no friends..no job..zero connections...I honestly didn't know what to do…I prayed and spent the majority of my time being as useful as I could under the circumstances..watching my niece and doing "womanly things"

But I had to find work…so I must have sent 10,000 emails to every type of school and organization..I tried to volunteer and give free lessons for charity…I volunteered for hospice to visit the dying..I learned a lot through the process...... how to market and how not market myself business-wise.

I will be sharing tips throughout this blog, please follow them. I promise they will work if you only have patience and NEVER GIVE UP. 

So let's start with TIP #1
Move home with your parents or with a friend after college for at least 6 months.

I know this sounds horrible, but moving home gives you the freedom and time needed to fill your private teaching studio and most important.. save money. Within 6 months of living at home I was able to save enough and get my own apartment. yeah ;)

The following blog will included more tips about how to find students, Keep posted. Thank you!


From Scott Cole
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 6:54 PM
The real question you have to answer is whether you want to make a living with the violin. If so, it's really not rocket science--you make a living like everyone else: as an orchestral musician and teacher, with a few other things on the side like weddings or parties in a quartet or trio, the occasional opera or show traveling through town. This is probably how 99% of us make a living. With that in mind, I'd suggest the following:
-find a mentor with audition experience to help you with the standard excerpts so you'll be ready for an audition.
-look for students by giving your number to local violin shops and schools, or even by using craigslist (I've gotten students from all of these).
--figure out where you can make a living. Not every geographic area is equal--you need a location with several orchestras with non-conflicting schedules, someplace that's not too big or not too small, with the right demographic of parents that will pay for lessons. This may or may not be where you are living right now, but it is important to pick the right place.
From 68.11.23.162
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 9:43 PM
Hey! Technology has given graduates many options in the arts field. Develop computer/music software skills either through classes or on online websites and Youtube. Learn recording capabilities of new technologies to record yourself or to teach. Our current generation needs to understand that technology gives them options to be independent producers. For yourself and students, integrate technology into lessons. Then they can also consider working for a music software company or being a consultant. Lots of options!
From John Saunders
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 9:45 PM
Hey! Technology has given graduates many options in the arts field. Develop computer/music software skills either through classes or on online websites and Youtube. Learn recording capabilities of new technologies to record yourself or to teach. Our current generation needs to understand that technology gives them options to be independent producers. For yourself and students, integrate technology into lessons. Then they can also consider working for a music software company or being a consultant. Lots of options!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 10:46 PM
Interesting post. I would not have thought of moving home, but it makes sense. Where you grew up is where you know people and people know you. It is probably the best place to try to start a career as a teacher, because you have a good idea of where to look for students and to whom you need to talk. Of course, this assumes that you could stand living in the place you grew up. But, for many musicians, it will make sense and is probably a very good choice if you did not get a job with an orchestra somewhere.
From 70.171.191.174
Posted on January 28, 2014 at 11:58 PM
Good post. Best wishes. While being a classical musician is not appreciated as it should, it is commendable and worthy as a means to culturally enrich society. Thank you for being a violinist. Many of us depend on people like you to instill a love for classical music in our children. If one of them decides to follow in your footsteps, I would be proud. Your legacy will be more lasting that any amount of money. Keep up the good effort and thank you!
From 199.172.233.103
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 12:03 AM
Most musicians make a steady income with teaching, and extra income comes from various playing jobs. It sounds as though you expected your professors to guide you more about what to do, but the path is up to you. Try to get work at a local string shop--then you can meet prospective students--or apply for part time teaching at a community arts school. Suzuki training can be very valuable to improve your teaching skills.
Getting playing jobs can take more effort, if there is a local symphony, contact the conductor and let them know you are available, and try to get on some sub lists. Basically you have to really work hard and be persistent to make a living as a musician!
From marjory lange
Posted on January 29, 2014 at 1:33 AM
As Scott says, not every place is geographically equal. If you can find enough playing and teaching opportunities where your family live, great! If not, finding an appropriate place for your next-stage-of-life may be a priority, even if you live in a hole and eat ramen.

Performers can move to where they win an audition, but once you have a studio, moving is problematic.

A lot will depend on the balance between teaching and performing you envision for yourself.

If all things otherwise are equal, moving home is practical, as long as you don't lose your hard-won maturity returning to the 'daughter.'

Good success to you.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Our Kokopelli
Please support Violinist.com
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign.

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

The Potter Violin Company

Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

Gliga Violins

Zhuhai International Mozart Competition - Apply by April 30, 2017

Connolly Music

Corilon Violins

Meadowmount School of Music

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Heifetz International Music Institute

Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop