In the past, being great at one single thing in music was enough to have a career. For many economic and practical reasons, those days are long gone except for a few, select, extraordinary musicians.
The concept of being great at one thing and being very good at two others is a new way of thinking when studying music, something not found in any set of music degree requirements. Being able to do many things well opens up other opportunities.
For some, choosing things to be very good at will be easy because they are already doing it. For example, instrumental music education majors who want to be high school band directors may be part of their school’s marching band. Being in a university marching band can provide opportunities for students to arrange music, write or teach drill, and serve in leadership roles like drum major or section leader.
Deciding to be very good at two things and spending time developing those skills involves extra effort. Time management, initiative, commitment, and most importantly vision are required, but the rewards can be numerous and perhaps unexpected.
For a possible career in music, here are a few skills you might want to consider becoming very good at doing:
- Learn a music notation program such as Finale or Sibelius
- Perform on a second or third instrument
- Be fluent in a foreign language
- Arrange music
- Participate in business aspects of the music profession
- Research legal issues, such as copyright law
- Tinker with music technology
- Teach private lessons
- Develop conducting skills
- Understand basic instrument repair
While impossible to list everything that could be an option, use this list simply as a starting point. If you see something that is interesting, consider turning your initial interest into something more. If you pursue several passions, it will never feel like work; it will instead feel like opportunities.