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Thread: Is It Worth It?

  1. #1
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    Is It Worth It?

    I'm coming to an self-created impasse with respect to pursuing a singing career. The reason that it's self-created is because everybody else I know says I'm good enough to pursue a professional career, and I would just like to pull back and say "Is this really what I want to do?"

    So I figured I'd dump my plea for career advice here, where people might actually know.

    I started out rather late (in college) because I was a lifelong atheist and didn't do things like church choirs. I liked it, but never considered it as a career. Eventually I discovered what I took for a bass-baritone's "top" was actually the high range of my chest voice, meaning that my passagio starts around the F#/G region, a rather freakishly high passagio associated with heldentenors like Vickers, and it looks like my own voice will be following the same path at a time when authentic heldentenors are rather rare.

    Along the way, I had a crisis of confidence in music (as a composer) and started on biology, but kept up my singing, since I didn't think there was a career in it for me. I was offered solos in choral works, then started soloing for money, joined the San Diego Opera chorus, and started taking leads in operas performed that the university, and doing roles with semi-professional companies in San Diego. It was only after all that that I started reconsidering whether or not I should pursue performance.

    So now I'm doing music and biology as a double major, and I've started to grow a little burned out. A lot of this probably has to do with the fact that I haven't slept at all in the last three nights, have developed gastric problems, and have had an attack of pleurisy, all related to doing too much at once. I'm working, doing my double major, trying to organize support for a parallel opera company of KU students, writing my own opera, organizing and curating a two-day film festival, and volunteering at an infoshop here (which will be screening the film festival). So all this might just be due to doing too much near the end of the semester.

    However, I do think that I'm working way too hard at presenting works which are not in the common repertoire, and that when I do pursue a career as singer professionally most of what I do will be the operas I'm already burned out on, and I'll be working way too hard for a transient reward of a few decent evenings a year.

    Would it be better if I tried to start a career in Europe, where there are more chances of doing non-repertoire works? I've been there a few times, and would be inclined to say so.

    Or does the very fact that I'm feeling "iffy" about pursuing this as a career mean I shouldn't try?

    Any thoughts will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Hi Nullifidian,

    Wow; you`re busy busy!

    Even with all you have said, I hesitate giving you advice; I don`t know enough about what it takes to have a career as a singer. There are certainly a lot of factors involved, including the ones you mention.

    I think if I were you, I would get all the info I could about the situation; consult the people who would know; experienced fellow pro singers, your teachers perhaps, etc. You seem to be doing great so far.

    The fact that you are already burned out on certain works makes me wonder though. I think a good question for you is, which do you prefer; biology or music?

    Also, it may be wise to make the decision when you aren`t so weighed down with stuff; do you see a time when things will lighten up a bit? That might be a good occasion. Keep in mind you`re young; nothing is set in stone and you can always change direction, maybe even several times!

    Take care of yourself; pleurisy can`t be very good for a singer. And best of luck with whatever choice, or choices you make.
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    Hi Nullifidian,

    Wow; you`re busy busy!

    Even with all you have said, I hesitate giving you advice; I don`t know enough about what it takes to have a career as a singer. There are certainly a lot of factors involved, including the ones you mention.

    I think if I were you, I would get all the info I could about the situation; consult the people who would know; experienced fellow pro singers, your teachers perhaps, etc. You seem to be doing great so far.
    All of the people I've consulted who would be in a position to know think I'm a very good singer, and should continue. Of course, none of them have ever seen me as a biologist, either.

    The fact that you are already burned out on certain works makes me wonder though. I think a good question for you is, which do you prefer; biology or music?
    It's hard to say, really. That's why I'm doing a double major at the moment. All I can say is that my interest in doing opera would be contingent on my ability to do new or non-repertoire works (not necessarily all the time, but with some regularity). I think my idea of a parallel opera company is a good one, and I should see it through before committing myself to biology alone, because that way I could see if doing new stuff is worth the frustration I feel about the rest of it.

    Also, it may be wise to make the decision when you aren`t so weighed down with stuff; do you see a time when things will lighten up a bit?
    The film festival will be done after May 4th, and my semester will be over on May 18th.

    That might be a good occasion. Keep in mind you`re young; nothing is set in stone and you can always change direction, maybe even several times!
    I have already. I used to be a Classical history/archaeology major before switching to music, and then to biology.

    Take care of yourself; pleurisy can`t be very good for a singer. And best of luck with whatever choice, or choices you make.
    It's usually not a problem when I keep active. It's only when I'm laying down that I tend to feel it. Besides, it can be addressed with a dose of aspirin just slightly above recommended, since aspirin is an effective anti-inflammatory medicine.

    And thanks.

  4. #4
    Commodore con Forza Andrew Roussak's Avatar
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    Hi Nullifidian,

    your situation seems to be very similar to that I have had a couple of years ago .

    First of all -

    Quote Originally Posted by Nullifidian View Post
    All of the people I've consulted who would be in a position to know think I'm a very good singer, and should continue. Of course, none of them have ever seen me as a biologist, either.
    Actually I believe you can ( or have to ) be good as a biologist as well , because the gifted people are namely seldom gifted in some specific area or a major only. This is not a problem.

    In my age of 22 ( maybe 21 , don't remember now exactly ) I had to make a professional choice between music ( I graduated a musical college as a pianist ) and engineering ( I graduated a technical uni as an industrial electronics engineer ). I could be good in a both fields and tried to do the both things simultaneously - and after a short while I realized, that living a life like this, I could die much sooner as anybody maybe expected ( gastric problems etc . - well, you know... ). Then I had finally to make a choice and to consider the following options:

    1. I could stay an engineer and make music only as a hobby (otherwise, I had never heard of any professional musician whose hobby was a designing of the navigation systems for a military jet ).

    2. I can never be good enough PROFESSIONALLY in both fields - as I am just unable to invest enough time in music and in engineering simultaneously . There are always a whole lot of guys ( maybe even not that gifted - I used to say to myself ) who can concentrate on one specific area and achieve therefore the better results as I can.

    3. I would never be able to leave the music ( should I say, the music would never leave me alone ).

    4. Well then, should I better become a GOOD professional musician or a MEDIOCRE engineer and a MEDIOCRE hobby-player?

    ( Sorry I forgot to mention - I lived that time not in Germany where I live now but in the USSR . It was the year of 1991 ).

    Having weighted all these options, I have squeezed my teeth and wrote the discharge application to the engineering bureau at the university, where I was employeed. As I worked at the same time as a studio musician and a musical editor at a broadcasting station, it was not a salary but more a moral problem. Since that, I never had any doubt that I did smth. wrong that time. And - no more gastric problems anyway.

    I would in no way want to influence your possible choice by that - I hope maybe it could help you anyhow. Any other adviser might have a different point of view.

    Many greetings ,
    keep on rockin' ( swingin', singin' - whatever you're doing )
    Andrew

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nullifidian View Post
    ... Or does the very fact that I'm feeling "iffy" about pursuing this as a career mean I shouldn't try?
    Nullifidian,

    You should follow your heart and soul ... from the sounds of things in your post, you really like to sing and its apparent that has become a real forte for you in life.

    I made music my avocation for the time I spent working in electronics in several different venues. Now, in retirement, electronics has become my avocation, and music is my sole interest ... I devote all my energies and as much time as I can to it.

    If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I certainly would have done things differently and persued the music path.

    That's the only advise I can give ... hope it all works out for what you want to do.
    Kh ~~.
    Administrator


    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
    Pro
    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


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