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The Critical Path

The Critical Path

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Published by: Dr Daniel K. Robinson on Nov 03, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Djarts Voice Coaching ~ www.djarts.com.au
© Daniel K. Robinson - 2010
Page1 of2
By Daniel K. Robinson(2 0 0 9 )
I have the great honour of teaching many young people as they progress
through their final years of high school and, typically, their future vocational
direction is an ever ready topic. For many of my teenage singing students a
career in the music industry has great appeal with the ever allusive ideal of
‘fame and fortune’ beckoning, along with the allure of ‘doing what you love’ for a
The door to ‘enter’ the music industry or the wider field of ‘creative industries’ is
not a clear cut one. For many vocations, take for instance a nurse or a
carpenter, there is a clear pathway, such as formal education or an apprentice
system; each of these concludes with the grandaunt being declared ‘qualified’ in
their field. There is no set pathway in the music industry; any interested
amateur can choose to pursue the music career path with or without a formal
education. This provides a great deal of freedom for the aspiring musician to
take directions and opportunities they choose, such as to ‘to study or not to
study’. Such freedom also comes at a cost, it can cause great confusion for the
young artist as they seek direction, mentorship and the development of their
skills – elements which are often the components of an undergraduate degree,
but not exclusively found in this context.
The first and perhaps the greatest challenge facing eager new musicians is the
decision of whether to pursue their development within the parameters of a
formal music degree. In making the decision, I always encourage students to
consider where they see themselves in the industry – what will make up their
career portfolio’. For example, I am a professional singer, I am a singing
teacher, I am a student researcher, I am a lecturer and most recently I have
been doing some creative work in video editing - each of these roles makes up
my career portfolio. As I look at my career I can observe that whilst I do not
need a degree to be a singer, singing teacher or even a lecturer I can’t help but
acknowledge that my capacity in each of these is greatly enhanced by my
academic journey.
Some young people only want to sing…which is terrific! You don’t need a
bachelor’s for that. Private singing lessons and the school of hard knocks will
provide you with all the necessary skills that you need to be a good…even a
great singer. A ‘career’ as a musician is not entirely about being a great singer,
it is about working within that field as a profession and ‘making a living’ doing
that. ‘Can you earn enough money just doing 3-5 gigs a week?’… Admittedly I
have known a small number of people over the years who ‘only sing’ to earn
their money. However, the vast majority of professional musicians, like me,
maintain an array of creative activities which collectively make up their career

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