We're all sick of the nine-letter "S" word dominating the media about federal budget cuts, so I'll spare writing that word here, but I do believe it is important to cultivate awareness in students about the state of the US and global economies since they will have to support themselves and possibly others.
When I majored in music, I did not think about money or the likeliness of getting a job in music. I never thought about ANY of that until graduate school when my teacher described the life of a freelancer. While a seemingly glamorous life, one should not think that it is easy work, or that it is an easy market to tap into. Many of the freelancers in large cities have been working in their area for several years, if not decades. Those that love it and stick with it have no doubt paid their dues and worked very hard to forge their own path, a path that I hope to walk in my own music career.
Music as a profession will almost never have as much demand or compensation as fields like surgery, architecture, etc. People need skilled surgeons to survive and buildings need to be designed in a way that they will stand strong. There are times when the arts are needed, but if you look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, they are not a basic need, but at the top in the realm of self-actualization.
At this time, I make the majority of my living working a non-music job. I work in music outside of this job, but I hope that someday I might be able to sustain my family solely with music. However, whatever may happen, I will always perform music as it makes up a part of who I am.
I was raised in a large family as the oldest of five children. My parents did a good job of raising us to believe that nobody just hands you things in life--this includes work! For the next several weeks, I will be focusing on how I can forge my own path in music, as well as join the paths of others.
Why then, should one strive to be a professional musician? This generates some good questions:
Have you asked yourself these same questions?
I am a horn player in Milwaukee, WI. This is where I share relevant thoughts on life, music, and the horn.