one of the best pieces of advise I've ever given a student was " don't do what I am doing, do what hasn't been done yet". Often in the arts we are taking to students about careers of the future, and imagining what is out there to do. Telling students they need to craft their own career. And often that's where we stop, and the student is left sitting there going " ok cool so WHAT DO I DO"
here are a few things to consider when thinking about your career:
What is NOT happening in your art form that you want to see happening. " Where is there "Blue Ocean"
Are you the right person to do the "thing" that hasn't been done yet?
Have you considered why it hasn't been done?
what other interests have a stake in your idea? Can you partner with them? Is there a collaborative opportunity that you are unaware of that could lead to another, even greater project.
For example, early in my career I was teaching at a summer band camp....and I was kinda, well... bored. I wasn't enjoying the experience anymore and was frustrated with the opportunities I had. At the same time, I looked around and didn't see any local/regional program that was designed specifically for high school percussionists who wanted to major in music, or for kids who just loved playing. There were band camps, drumline camps, but nothing for concert band kids beyond middle school camps that were mostly glorified daycare. Or they had to travel half way across the country.....in short, I identified a need ( something for kids to do with drums) and aligned it with the needs of a program ( get high school kids on campus) and so....long story short, I put a program together, pitched a proposal, and the University of Maryland summer percussion academy was born.
Im leaving out a lot of work, and a lot of details, but in general, that is how it happened, and even though I had no idea how to run a camp, I did my homework, worked really hard, and created a program that gave me an opportunity beyond what I was doing and helped me build connections and create relationships that are valuable to this day.
Many great ideas start with nessessity....("I don't want to do this anymore" ) or perhaps with the need for a change. Sometimes, projects are created because people discover the opportunities available don't interest them, or fit into how they view their career. Whatever it is, think carefully about what you want, and pay close attention to the "scene". If you find an opportunity, take it, and make its happen.