This morning I participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for high school students learning about career options in music and arts management. On the panel with me were a fellow chorister and four orchestra members.
Our moderator asked us each to describe our backgrounds and careers. I listened enviously to the four BSO players whose lives had such a singular focus on music. “I knew since I was eight that I wanted to be a bassoonist.” “I always knew I’d be a cellist.” With great talent and hard work, the musicians navigated the path from childhood lessons to conservatories to one of the best orchestra gigs in the world.
My chorus colleague spoke about her career, which has included teaching in public schools, church jobs, and running a private studio. She made certain to mention the extremely limited opportunities for steady, paid work for vocalists compared to instrumentalists. Case in point? The orchestra members are paid, but us chorus members are not.
And me? I’m just waffling between careers. Today, I’m a pianist.