I recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with my Master's in music performance and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Musicology. As with any sort of acquisition of degree, pretty immediately people began to ask me the age old questions "so what's next for you?" (literally someone asked me this morning).
After I graduated from VCU with my Bachelor's degree, I knew I wanted to go to grad school. I decided to take a gab year (that turned into two) and in that time I practiced and waited tables in Richmond, Virginia. In those two years, I gained a lot of "real-world" experience, but I always had my eyes on the prize: Graduate School.
When I got accepted into UNCG, my partner and I packed up our things and headed down to North Carolina. I was warned by many that these two years were going to fly by, but I didn't necessarily believe them. Boy was I wrong. I wanted to set myself up as best as possible to get a job after I graduated. So, I took and made as many opportunities for myself as possible during my degree. I said yes to playing in as many performances and gigs as possible, I interned with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, I worked part-time in the UNCG School of Music Ensemble Office, I did an independent study that culminated in an interdisciplinary event in the Greensboro community, I co-taught the flute freshman warm-up class, and I took as many classes as my schedule would allow. I wanted to be sure I was well prepared to enter the music work force as soon as I graduated....the only problem was, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do once I graduated.
During my first semester of graduate school, I decided to align my goals that would allow to to enter a career in arts administration. Yes the degree I was getting was in performance, and yes I love playing the flute, but I had certain technical deficiencies in my playing that I wasn't sure I would ever be able to overcome, thus, I didn't think I would be able to "make it" (we will dive into what it means to "make it" at a later date) professionally as a flutist. Therefore, I decided to hedge my bets and really dive into arts admin (hence the independent study and Greensboro Symphony internship). However, what ended up happening during my degree is that my playing improved. And then it improved more, and then it improved even more. I obviously expected to get better as a flute player and overall musician during this program, but I didn't not expect to improve at the rate that I did. This development put a lot more options (and questions) back on the table for me. Could I perform professionally as a flutist? Do I want to take symphony auditions? Do I want to go back and get my DMA? Should I start a chamber group? Do I want to teach privately? Do I even want to go into a career in arts admin? Suddenly it seemed like my career possibilities doubled.
So, here I am, about two months after graduation, and what's next?
I guess I'm not really sure. And maybe that's okay. Musicians' paths, like many art career paths, are never clear and never straightforward. I'm hoping that this blog will be able to help document my path and serve as a tool for other young females trying to "make it" (again, we'll talking about that later) in the classical music world. I'll be posting, hopefully regularly, topic discussions, practicing videos, personal opinion stories, life updates, and more. All while I try to figure out what's next.