First of all, the word "entrepreneurship" has been a word of topic recently for musicians. With orchestras going bankrupt, and academia jobs requiring doctorate level degrees to be even considered, musicians must find other ways to make a living. Many schools such as Eastman, the Manhattan School, Yale, and New England Conservatories now have a center specifically designed to help students become entrepreneurs. This includes creating your own projects, ensembles, and having a "strong online presence." I certainly agree that these opportunities will create more jobs and financial stability; however, that brings up the question of: how can we develop entrepreneurship without financial freedom in the first place? Having to pay the bills and student loans at the same time significantly decreases your freedom to choose what jobs you take, and the time needed to practice, research, buy equipment, network, among other factors. Many students are unaware, or simply ignore the reality that the time will come when we have to repay our debt, and have been unprepared for it.
The article brings up several points that are legitimate concerns for musicians with higher education debt.
- Most of us do not realize that having a job outside of music is painful but necessary. As a result, we have less time to practice and focus on music itself.
- It's expensive to fly to auditions, attend workshops and festivals, and pay for an expensive instrument. The most expensive part is all the unpaid hours spent practicing.
- We live in a society where our financial situations are in secrecy. We feel shame when talking about our financial debt.
- The struggle between going to a prestigious and expensive school and a cheaper but lesser known school. What looks good on a resume may not be worth the cost of school.
Musicians are given so many different opportunities to make money doing what they love. However, we also have to spend many hours doing gigs and jobs that we dislike, especially with the high cost of education. We need to seek to be more creative, and deal with our financial instability head on. There is unfortunately not one solution, as the situation for every musician is different. The important thing is to know what we are getting ourselves into, and knowing from early in our education what solutions are possible for us to pay for our education.