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How do you invent a career in music?

The world of music, in general, is changing very rapidly, as it is in business and in many areas.  In the 21st century, for someone to be able to invent a successful career in music you have to be able to use the environment out there to your advantage.  By that I mean, do you embrace technology?

Embrace technology.  

Musicians now depend less and less on someone else, a major recording company or a PR firm.  They are starting to self-produce CD’s, they are on the internet, they’re on You Tube, they’re doing many things that are really brand new in many ways, especially in classical music.  

Take a multi-dimensional approach.

That said, it is to your advantage to be able to have a career that is multi-dimensional.  To just play in a symphony orchestra or to just be a member of an opera company or to just play in a string quartet is a fine thing to do, certainly.  But instead of using the job in a symphony orchestra as an end, use it as a platform to do many other things. 

Study the careers of those whom you admire.

And so we start to see that musicians that think a little bit differently, take advantage of the fact that a position in a major symphony orchestra can give them the possibility to start a chamber music series, to teach, to do community outreach, to do things that are different than what they do in the orchestra, and yet they are representing the institution, the orchestra and themselves in a much more varied way.  

A very interesting example of a multi-faceted career certainly would be what we see with Yo-Yo Ma and what he is doing with the Silk Road project.  You could certainly make the argument that Yo-Yo doesn’t need to do these types of things, but the fact that, as an artist, he feels compelled to explore music from Asia and music from a certain time, and music that was very localized and didn’t necessarily have exposure around the world.  He’s become a tremendous advocate for this type of music and for this type of career expansion.  A lot of musicians are going in this direction.  That's a fabulous way to have a very successful and very rewarding career.

Directed by Jonathan Fowler

 Produced by Elizabeth Rodd




Inventing Your Career

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