Djarts Voice Coaching ~ www.djarts.com.

au

The Critical Path
By Daniel K. Robinson
(2009)

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 job. 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 portfolio.

© Daniel K. Robinson - 2010

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Djarts Voice Coaching ~ www.djarts.com.au

If singing is your chosen profession, then you have many choices to make along the way to establishing your career. This ‘Critical Pathway’ requires thoughtful navigating with a variety of ‘right’ options; and a few ‘wrong’ ones. There is no official graduation ceremony to declare your status as a professional musician. You will be…or you won’t. Ultimately the decisions are yours…

© Daniel K. Robinson - 2010

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