how often to we get this question? From concerned parents, nervous high school students and even college music majors having a crisis or concern about their career.
Often, you'll hear advise like this
Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life!!! Or follow you dream and you'll never regret it!!! :)
Or... My favorite, do you LOVE music? Cause if you do GO FOR IT!!
I tend to think that is a load of garbage that does nothing to actually answer the question.
Make no mistake, music is work, it is a job, and it should be treated as such. You must have the drive, skill, talent, and brains to be successful. When I am leaving my studio at 11pm, or driving downtown to play a concert on a Sunday, or Friday or any day, I am going to work. I love what I do, but I don't love it every second of every day.... No one does and take silly to think that just because you love music you should try to make it your profession.
Typically I ask these questions when talking to a student who wishes to play or teach music for a living
Do you enjoy being alone in a room for 4-6 hours every day? How about 8 hours when getting ready for a recital or audition?
How do you deal with rejection? Cause you'll fail more often then you will succeed in music.
Do you want your weekends "off"? How about holidays?
How are you motivated?
Do you have the ability to get yourself up to work without an outside motivating force like a teacher or coach? Can you work alone or do you need to always be practicing/learning music together?
What kind of parental/family support do you have? Is there someone telling you to quit or have a fall back plan? If so listen to them and decide if they are correct..... You'll need your family or some type of support system to get to into the profession successfully
Can you take direction? Are you a good follower?
As a musician you aren't always in charge of your time, literature or musical ideas, how does this make you feel?
Speaking of time.... Can you manage your time or do you need someone to help you with that?
The music business is a great big wide profession with a huge number of pathways - what do you want to do? Do your homework, read study and talk to musicians in the business? Is it orchestra job or bust? Would you be happy freelancing? College teaching? Public school?
Do your research, take lessons with people who do what you wanna do, think and be an active member of the business from the very start. People who finish last in medical school are called Doctor, people who finish at the bottom of their class in music school are called hungry....
ALWAYS keep music in your life, go to concerts, have your children study and participate in school bands, play in your local community orchestra, but don't jump into this business without knowing everything about it