I personally think the number one reason people are bitter music/theatre school alumni is because they were never told what their options were. In defense of all the teachers and guidance counselors out there, it is very difficult to stay on top of all the changes in the performing arts. But for you as the student it is essential to fully understand the possibilities for furthering your career. The entertainment business is ever changing. There have been many times throughout history that people have thought it was the end of performing arts of one type or another. However, things have almost always changed and thanks to the hard work of many dedicated people, we still see performances of almost every type in most parts of the United States. Will that last forever? Its hard to say. In the last few years, CD sales have continued to decline, numerous opera companies have closed, Broadway’s popularity has increased, and television has lost viewers to the internet. So while your choices may make sense today, no one in any field, can guarantee there will be job opportunities in your field for the rest of your life. So staying flexible and aware is an essential part of becoming a professional entertainer. With careful planning and a strong education, you can at least increase your odds of working in the field and be adaptable when changes happen. To get you started on your search, here is a beginning list of all of your options. Each option will be expanded upon in future blog posts.
Music Education: With Bachelor, Masters, and Doctorate degrees in Music Education, students prepare them selves for careers teaching others the joys of music
Vocal Performance: The degree for students wishing to study classical music (opera, art song, oratorio). This degree is 100% focused on classical music at most schools. Students should be prepared to learn to sing in French, German, Italian, English, and possibly Spanish, Russian, and Czech.
Musical Theatre: Musical Theatre students study acting, singing, and dancing in the pursuit of becoming a triple threat and finding employment in professional musical theatre.
Music Business/Music Industry: Students in these degree programs study the various of entertainment management. Many musicians and singers interested in non-theatrical music careers find this a good program for gaining the skills necessary to turn their art into a business.
Music Therapy: A mix of psychology and music, music therapists use their skills in making music to help patients with numerous conditions. Great success has been documented in working with Down’s Syndrome, Autistic, Stroke, Coma, and Alzheimer’s patients as well as many others.
Theatre: Theatre degrees cover actors of all types. Many of the great film and TV actors started on the stage and many others go to the stage after the screen.
Recording Technology: Recording Technology programs teach students how to run, troubleshoot, and repair a recording studio. For students who aren’t into the business aspects of the music business, this can be a good alternative as it also produces usable skills to supplement your performing career.
Jazz Voice: A growing number of schools are now offering Jazz Voice degrees. While mainly geared towards jazz, the programs do cover a wide range of subjects that can be extremely useful to singers of other genres as well.