The rocky path to the future

From a young age we have all been told that it is important to set goals. For students, this process is obviously even more important with the amount of time and money invested in education. For some this may be an easy task if they are confident in what they will be doing in five years, but for the rest of us, sometimes the future looks bleak and we do not know where to start.
For music students at Brock University, this can also be a daunting task to set goals. Why?
For Matthew Royal, Associate Professor and Chair Department of Music, he believes musicians traditionally imagine a fairly short list of options for careers like teaching mixed with some performing.
“With the closure of schools, in the region and beyond, these careers are becoming more difficult to enter,” said Royal.
Imagining wider horizons for the future can be a start, and the Music Department is trying to help students along this rocky path.
On Nov. 2 and 3, Joan Watson, an accomplished and experienced musician with the Canadian Opera Company and Truth North Brass, will be speaking to students on motivation, organization and planning for performing artists. Royal believes that Watson will engage with students because she can communicate with them from different angles due to her extensive teaching experiences.
Royal believes that there are other options beyond teaching. Performing artists can look into music and technology, the recording business, arts administration, communications, media, entertainment, marketing, music and medicine and librarianship.
“If you do pursue teaching, which will always remain an important and noble career option for musicians, be prepared to combine it in new ways with other disciplines – do a co-major,” said Royal.
“Be prepared to combine your music teaching with other musical activities (e.g fund-raising or playing in senior’s homes, running a workshop to get young kids enthused about music making). Be flexible, be imaginative.”
For Niagara performing artists, Royal believes the landscape is improving with the eventual Performing Arts Centre downtown.
“The problem in an economically challenged area like Niagara is to encourage the public to spend money on the arts when there are so many other day-to-day expenses to worry about,” said Royal.
Though this traditional model of arts consumption, as Royal says, is framed in terms of a passive consumer who pays to be entertained by those on stage, music and the arts has much more to offer a community in terms of public participation.
In regards to the Music Department’s plans to engage students, there are many opportunities to get involved by attending workshops, performances or auditioning for the different Ensembles, which also encourage high-school students and community members to participate as well.
The workshop on setting career goals for musicians will be held on Nov. 2 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and on Nov. 3 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The workshops are located in the Concordia Lutheran Seminary Chapel at 470 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines. There is a $5 fee for those who are not Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts students.

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