Thank you for your patience! I hope everyone had a great celebration over the Lunar New Year. I know my stomachs did lol!
Anyway, some students have recently asked me about pursuing music as a career - why and how I chose to do music, and all those details. So let me start with my life story...
...nah just kidding!
Honestly, I didn't explicitly choose music as a career path - it was really a "try it out and see where it takes me" kind of on-a-whim decision. Of course, family and friends encouraged me and I took that first step to apply and auditioned for the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Little did I know that when I actually dig deep into the intricacies of music, I fell in love with it so much that it was (still is rather) the only thing that I can see myself doing.
But that's only the why aspect - how do you make a living and fulfilling career in music?
I don't really have an answer to it, but I can certainly say that your decisions will change all the time.. or at least most of the time. When I started out as a freshman in YST, I had such (seriously) high ambitions for myself, it's almost laughable now. As time went on, the ambitions became more of a reality check and important decisions had to be made - but I had to journey through the learning process to discover all this. The journey was something like this:
Year 1: I will have two jobs - day job: play in an orchestra; night job: play in pubs/clubs/jazz bars. I mean, what can be so hard? (Yup, that was my super ignorant phase)
Year 2: Struggling to decide if I should really be doing music or something else.
Year 3: Aim to join the Ministry of Education (MOE) to teach in government schools - stable job, monthly pay, I can still do my practicing at night.. right?
Year 4: Abolish the MOE idea and work towards getting into Peabody for Masters. See where this all takes me..
Year 5 (MM Year 1): Work hard to get accepted into a DMA programme so that I can continue being a student. (Who needs and wants adulting anyway?) Still seeing where this will take me..
Year 6 (MM Year 2): Adulting became inevitable so a decision was made to return to Singapore and to do something in the scene. (hopefully improve it!)
And while I went through a different "ambition" phase every year, I know of friends who knew what they wanted to be from the get-go - orchestra musician, chamber musician, teacher, college professor, etc, and they ended up doing what they set out to be. On the other hand, I also have friends started out knowing what they want to do, but ended up doing something else. It's been about 20 months since returning and while things seem to be going well, I have to always plan for the future and work towards it (and of course, be open to crazy opportunities and ideas throughout). I can't say definitively if knowing your direction earlier on is good or bad, but one thing is for certain (and this is just my personal view) - work hard on the craft and while on that journey, you will discover your likes and dislikes.
What about you? Did you go through the same struggles? Do leave a comment below and share this post with friends! As always, thank you for reading and I hope you all stay safe and well!