Right after college my goal was to be the best in the world. Perhaps make it into the Berlin Phil.
But then I experienced reality. It was going to take more than hard work to make it into my favorite orchestra.
After college things started looking a bit scary—I was not going to be famous as I planned. Out there is tougher than I thought.
In the end, playing the Tchaikovsky concerto very beautifully cannot prepare you to earn real money outside the conservatory doors—you need to know the business of music, and they don’t teach you that in school.
After reading blogs, magazines and books related to entrepreneurship and music business, I decided to become a complete musician.
I was going to use all my knowledge in music to make money. It’s the only way I understand I could make a living. Since 100 violinists for 1 position will be nearly impossible to beat, I will realistically earn multiple incomes to make my living.
1. I will teach
2. I will play with small orchestras
3. I will score small budget movies (taking a class at Berklee online)
4. I will play with anybody who needs a violinist.
5. I will organize my own concerts.
But especially, I will play the music I carry in my blood; traditional Puertorrican music.
I can proudly say that I own this music—why not make some money out of it to keep my (small but steady) sources of income.
Even though the music I make is purely instrumental, to the Germans I am someone different; my rhythms and melodies captivate them.
They are willing to buy my CD and spend an evening listening to what I have to offer.
I become a non-classical musician, for money. I “sell” myself in order to make a living; even though I trained as a classical musician (Gasp!).
I know. It was not in my plans (and perhaps not in yours either).
What I’m trying to explain is that if you are still in school, be prepared for the realistic future. You may be lucky and get the job of your dreams, but you may also not. And it’s also OK.
There are many possibilities in music and you can always make money doing what you love. If you want something really bad, don’t ever in your whole life give up. Take your multiple incomes to pay rent but keep fighting for the job you want. Compete against 100 violinists! Or 200! Keep trying indefinitely.
Just make sure you never do it for the money but only for the love of it. Be careful with fame, it’s a bitch that can take you overboard. Stay humble, stay happy and grateful for what you have and enjoy your gift of music. Even if you have multiple small incomes, you make art for a living. You are an artist. That’s enough to smile.