Many music students are now realizing that their career path is incredibly difficult and the outcomes of decades of study and work are so unpredictable. Indeed, it is a volatile field, and random events, such as the current pandemic, can throuwmany freelancers off their normal course. However, there are multiple stories of success we can learn from, and these are not necessarily top most sought performers or competition winners but people who are doing something really well that meets the needs of their community and customers.
Why do many music students see a single path in front of them: practice, practice, practice? I think the problem is in our pedagogy. We want the student to be extremely committed and focused, so he or she is competitive on the job market. However, we are not exactly preparing them for life.
So, what to do? One answer is, think like an entrepreneur.
First, decide WHY are you studying music. What does music help you achieve and how does it impact your life? What kind of music makes you happy? What do you really want to be able to do?
Second, understand what the community around you needs and how you can offer something to them.
Third, what are your areas of interest and strength that you can combine to offer something new and good? Who can you team up with to create high-quality value?
If you start thinking about these questions, you might be very surprised where they will take you. Practicing a lot and becoming a soloist is not the only successful career and is certainly not the best or easy one. Stay open-minded and explore experiences you would enjoy!