October 5, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Idaho State University
La Sierra University
Azusa Pacific University
Coastal Carolina University
Indiana University Southeast
Western Oregon University
Loyola University Chicago
Salem State University
Arizona Christian University
New Mexico State University
Iowa Western Community College
Jackson State University
Dr. Christopher Fashun: 1. Must have completed a doctorate in the specific field of the job they are applying for (e.g., Music Performance (a specific instrument), Conducting (Choral, Orchestral, Band), Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Music Education, Recording Arts, Music Theory, Music Composition, Music Therapy)
2. Must have teaching experience at the college/university level and preferably at the secondary level. For graduate students, having a teaching or research assistantship would be ideal for gaining college/university teaching experience.
3. Need good communication skills and know-how to work and collaborate with others.
4. Need to have an area of scholarship and creativity (e.g., writing a book, recording an album, guest conducting a professional orchestra or another musical group)
5. Need to understand Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, why it's important, and how to incorporate it into one's teaching.
6. Salaries vary from college/university and are set by years of experience and accomplishments. Salaries are negotiated upon receiving an offer and cannot be renegotiated after signing a contract.
7. Other skills include being innovative, having at least one other skill set in the broader field of music. Using myself as an example, my doctorate is in Orchestral Conducting, but I also am a nationally recognized Music Educator and Percussionist who has earned a Fulbright Award in the U.S. Scholar Program (a very prestigious award), where my other area of scholarship is Afro-Brazilian Music and Culture. In addition to conducting the orchestra at Hope College, I teach a World Music class for the general education program, music education methods courses, direct the Brazilian Drumming Ensemble, and teach applied percussion.
Idaho State University
Department of Music
Dr. Thomas Kloss: One of the strongest skills is showing a future principal that you've been a good student. They will look at your transcripts and see how you've done in the areas in which you are applying. A band director, for example, that scores low on an "Instrumental Music Pedagogy" course (the course that primarily teaches you how to be a band director) would not stand out as a strong instrumental music teacher. Showing a future principal that you've been involved in many aspects of your musical ensembles in college, working with a local music program, or have done some private music teaching are also good indicators of someone who will be successful in that position.
Dr. Thomas Kloss: Teaching music is all about working with people. You have your educational community (principal, counselors, colleagues) that you need to work with to arrange students' incorrect classes and schedule events. You should feel like you are a part of that team. You then have your students, whom you need to work with to provide an excellent musical education. Finally, you have the community and parents that you will communicate with. If all of that is done successfully, your program will thrive and be supported by many different groups.
Dr. Thomas Kloss: Music teachers need to be extremely organized and knowledgeable in musical concepts to write quality lesson plans. They need to be able to see the whole picture (i.e., the concert) and know the steps of how to get their students ready. They need to be able to communicate rehearsal dates, events, and concerts with their community. They need to work with inventory lists, music in their library and know what their next equipment needs are. They need to budget their funds for new music, instruments, uniforms, or just repairs. It tends to be a lot of work before you even get in front of a musical ensemble.
Dr. Thomas Kloss: Being patient when looking for a position may help someone earn more over the length of their career. The way it works here is that small rural districts end up paying more after about 10 years over the districts in populated areas. It's a supply and demand situation. If a music teacher is interested in making more money over their teaching career, they should compare the posted salary schedules and consider the long-term benefits. Obtaining a Master's Degree is also a way to move up on the traditional pay scale in education. Finally, staying in one district for a longer period is more financially beneficial than moving districts every few years. Teachers are given some years of experience, but a district does not have to give all of their years on their pay scale.
Department of Music
Matt Pickart: In today's market, it is important to be multifaceted. I've increasingly seen job postings at all levels of academia asking musicians to cover more than one area. That is not to say that we shouldn't continue to specialize in our specific instruments or fields of music study at the highest level. However, the more secondary proficiencies you can develop well, the greater your musicianship and your marketability become. Think about what secondary skill-sets will compliment your primary focus and help you grow as a musician.
Pedagogical experience and proven success is arguably the most important skill on your resume for teaching positions. Not all great musicians are great teachers. It takes time and patience, lots of trial and error, building your own unique methodologies and pedagogical insights, learning your strengths and weaknesses, etc. If you can show student achievements and growth in previous positions, that speaks volumes!
Matt Pickart: Leadership, patience, collaboration, communication, organization, time management, networking, critical problem-solving, persistence, discipline, flexibility, opportunity recognition, planning and goal setting, punctuality, learning from failure, uniqueness, being a team player, empathy, openness, etc.
Matt Pickart: Excellent musicianship, effective and high-quality practicing, music entrepreneurship, clear pedagogical knowledge and insights, owning the stage, effective programming, historical context and cultural awareness in music, physical awareness and efficiency in music-making, music technology, knowing your audience, etc.
Matt Pickart: Any of the hard and soft skills I've listed are very helpful, but I believe that being an entrepreneurial musician will help you earn the most income. As an entrepreneurial musician, you are focused on learning how to unlock value for what you are doing and create your own new opportunities. You learn to lean into the projects that you love, that speak to your artistic integrity. You flex your right brain muscles by playing in your own creative sandbox, investing time and passion into the projects that you care about most, ultimately leading to success. Musical success with clear planning and hard work at the highest level will ultimately translate into financial success.
Being an entrepreneurial musician is all about mindset. Here are a few questions to get you started: How do you describe yourself as a musician? Who is your audience? How do you deal with failure? What are your goals and dreams as a musician? What actionable steps and smaller goals do you have to get there? What makes you special as a musician?
La Sierra University
Department of Music
David Kendall Ph.D.: Much of this depends on the kind of instructor position one is seeking, as there are many sub-fields and concentrations in the world of music education. For those looking to teach individual lessons in voice or on specific instruments, a resume with lots of experience is always helpful. Whether you have taught as instructional faculty at an educational institution, at a community or commercial music school, or maintained your own in-person and/or online private studio, the more experience you have--and the breadth of things you have done and have the ability to do--give you the best chance at being noticed favorably by potential employers. Sometimes potential teachers will want to focus on only a single skill, such as teaching piano, while leaving out many other musical skills that an employer may desire, such as the ability to teach violin or flute or direct a children's choir. Applicants sometimes leave these skills off their resumes because they feel that they are not as proficient in them as in their core specialties, but this can cause a potential employer to overlook them because their skill set may appear too narrow.
Having a wide range of skills and experiences is also beneficial if one is applying for a classroom position, such as teaching music appreciation or conducting an elementary school band. Having a wider range of abilities shows the employer that you are flexible and adaptable--strongly desired traits in the music field. While most positions are part-time or contingent, having a range of skills can sometimes result in a position being expanded or upgraded. Again, experience is key. For those looking for a career as a music instructor, almost nothing is more important than the experience, and one should do anything they can to get it, even if it means doing volunteer teaching in a community, school, or church setting. This should be seen as an investment in your future.
David Kendall Ph.D.: If almost nothing is more important than the experience, as I noted above, then nothing is more important than people skills and maintaining positive relationships with peers, mentors, students, and employers. All of these groups may be in a position to employ you at some time in the future, and their opinion of you will largely be framed by the experiences they have had with you. I will give a personal example from my own life. After graduating with a degree in performance and spending a year teaching overseas, I found myself back in the United States without many prospects. However, over the next couple of years, I was able to put together a living because of positive past relationships with colleagues and mentors. I received music lecturing positions at the two universities I attended during my undergraduate and graduate programs, being hired by former faculty mentors who knew me and felt I could make a positive contribution. I was able to secure two more positions, one teaching lessons at a private school and the other as a music minister and choir director at a local church. Both of these came through being hired by former--and younger--classmates from university. Now that I am a full-time professor, I am constantly telling my students to maintain good relationships with all of these people and to never burn any bridges. Even now, I have run into opportunities presented to me by former students, and the cycle continues.
These soft skills are not, however, limited only to being nice and well-liked by your peers and employers. The ability to network is very important, as are the essential practices of being organized, accurate, well-prepared, and punctual. Because employers often have many applicants and choices in hiring, being well-networked and known for reliability is a distinct advantage. Being generally helpful and easy to work with makes it likely that you will be remembered by potential employers when a future position or opportunity opens up. Having a number of people who are eager to recommend you, whether by letter or word-of-mouth, is the best possible advertising.
David Kendall Ph.D.: In all of the music fields, particularly in performance, the ability to self-promote is important. One should be familiar with and skilled in using the standard social and traditional media platforms. Some proficiency in web and graphic design is very helpful, as well as recording and mixing, if applicable to the sub-field. As nearly all of us have experienced some remote learning and/or teaching over the past couple of years, this has opened up new possibilities. Potential students that would never have considered taking music lessons online are now often open to it, which provides more potential opportunities for teaching remotely. Having the ability to effectively teach a class or a lesson on a platform like Zoom or Google Meet can expand your reach far beyond your geographical area. Such a remote experience should be a pleasant one for students and employers and having a clean, professional background, and at least a ring light and a decent microphone will add a touch of professionalism and added value.
David Kendall Ph.D.: Being very good at what you do is the first step in being successful in the music field, but it is not a guarantee of earning potential. The soft and hard skills noted above are at least as important, if not more so. Only a handful of the very best musicians in the world can get away with being disorganized, hard to work with, or unreliable. For the rest of us, financial success will largely depend on a combination of performing and/or teaching ability, the ability to use technology and media to our advantage, and a talent for working well with a wide range of people.
Frederick Burrack: -Theory skills (score analysis)
-Oral communication (clarity and focus of verbal response)
-Written communication (clarity at various levels such as administration, educated parents, uneducated parents, young kids)
-Curriculum development (determination of learning outcomes, lesson planning
-Organizational skills (curricular organization, sequencing instruction, time management)
Frederick Burrack: Personal musical performance quality.
Frederick Burrack: -Conducting skills (expressive communication)
-Aural skills (error identification)
-Piano skills (accompanying, harmonization)
Frederick Burrack: Organizational skills by far.
Joelle Morris: I'm usually looking for someone who's had experience teaching beginners as well as advanced.
Number two is the diversity of genres of music that person is familiar with. More than ever, students are interested in a wide range of music from classical to world to pop, jazz, and so forth. It is important to be familiar and open to various styles to educate a well-rounded musician.
Number three is performance experience. How much collaborative experience do they have? Are they doing any interesting performances in the area that may inspire their students? - this requirement would be more at the collegiate level, though.
Joelle Morris: Effective and clear communication - many musical concepts need to be broken down into smaller, more understandable units. The ability to connect with students at their level of understanding is incredibly important.
Constructive feedback. No need to be Pollyanna. However, I am exceedingly glad the days of strict, overbearing, and sometimes abusive 'maestros' are no longer tolerated. Students learn so much better with clear, constructive criticism. Being able to point out what students can improve on while praising them on the skills they've already refined fosters a positive learning environment for all.
Motivation. It's a difficult balance because students have to find their own self-motivation. However, as a musician, I try to show my students by example. I talk to them about my own practice schedule, how much I rehearse and collaborate with other musicians. That these skills do not come easily but with diligence, discipline, and practice. As an educator, my job is to continue fostering a love and interest in music for myself and my students.
Joelle Morris: As an educator? Gosh, that's a hard one. I suppose it goes back to the soft skills question. Personally, I find that the more organized I am, the better I can communicate and motivate my students.
As a performer? It never ends. I'm always learning, growing. I like to challenge myself with new compositions and new collaborations. The ability to collaborate is so incredibly important to a performer.
Joelle Morris: As a working musician, you need to be flexible, able to play multiple musical genres in various ensemble sizes. The ability to network and collaborate with others both musically and on the business side of the gig. The ability to promote yourself and/or become an entrepreneur selling your concerts and your music.
Honestly, it's very challenging to make a living doing solely one thing in this day and age. Most of my colleagues, myself included, do several different musical activities to pay the bills: Although I'm a professional singer, I am also a voice teacher with a full studio, and a choral conductor, and a church musician, and a music educator. With lecture courses. Additionally, as a singer, I'm hired to sing in professional chamber ensembles, as a classical soloist with orchestra and choir, as a jazz singer in bands, as a recitalist, I've co-created a classical ensemble that features 21st cent music and living composers, I regularly organize concerts for that ensemble and my own recitals. You hustle and develop new skills each step of the way.
Music, Media and Management Department
J. Anthony Allen: Technology. First and foremost.
Not only because we are in the age of "are we online or are we not online," but because using technology in-studio lessons can be very, very beneficial. For example, having a lesson that you can record (audio and/or video) for the student to review while practicing to help that student stay on track. In addition to that, using notation software shared documents, and other online resources can really help a student learn.
J. Anthony Allen: My gut reaction to that is that it depends on the age of the student. You need to have a lot of energy for younger students and keep them interested while also communicating with their parents. For college-age students (the world I am mostly in), you need a direct language with the student that tells them if they are on track, how they are doing, and ways they can improve that are not condescending.
J. Anthony Allen: In addition to the obvious: Being really good on your instrument and teaching it well, the next would be the technology stuff I mentioned above.
J. Anthony Allen: Diversity is what you can do. If you can teach guitar, that's great. But if you can teach guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, and ukulele, you will get more students. An instructor should also consider the non-instrument skills they could add to their list of abilities: music theory, songwriting, composition, beginner piano, etc.
Azusa Pacific University
College of Music and Arts
Dr. Claire Fedoruk: Regarding the arts, I believe there already is. Music is a true communal art, which requires the physical presence of others to truly create a legitimate sonic experience. Due to the COVID and response to COVID, this was forbidden for 18 months in California. I lost at least 20K of income from performing last year, and many of my colleagues in the performing world had no employment at all during this period. Several left or seriously considered leaving Los Angeles, which is a cultural metropolis of opportunity for artists.
In response to the lockdowns, many colleagues of mine recorded solo albums and worked collaboratively on Zoom and other recording mediums to record themselves singing. This was then mastered into a final online product. I took part in several recordings released by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. This has challenges as well. The expectations for recorded quality in online projects are very high and stressful, especially if one does not have a home studio with soundproofing and very high-quality recording equipment. While the results are often impressive online, it is not the same experience of actually making music together. One cannot hear the other performers breathe, feel the energy of the group consciousness, or decide to take risks together in an online setting. I would say it's the difference between actually playing golf and playing it in a digital game.
One last word on this. Mask mandates have made everything incredibly difficult for wind players and singers, as we cannot sing effectively in a mask. Breathing is compromised, vowel formation cannot be seen, and lightheadedness is common. As long as these exist, the vocal art is termed a super-spreader and is muffled at best, silenced at worst. I can see it declining over the long term if these conditions continue.
Dr. Claire Fedoruk: In the new environment, recording and mastering skills may be the new requirement for any performer. I'm sure that sound engineers will experience a Renaissance of employment in this post-pandemic world! Young musicians are already much more tech-savvy than those in middle age, so this may not be an issue, and at APU, our music technology courses are first-rate and teach all of these skills through Logic, Pro Tools, etc. Additionally, I believe that writing is a skill that can never harm a musician, especially as they may need extra funding from grants to complete projects or hire additional personnel to handle online recording and performances, COVID compliant initiatives, etc. Flexibility, patience, and perseverance are highly sought-after traits and playing well with others, both literally and figuratively.
Dr. Claire Fedoruk: For a performer, composer, or conductor, it is the quantity and quality of the number of performances and recordings you have under your belt. We must be seen and heard to continue working, which is why our current world is a challenge. For an educator or a musicologist, it is the record of publications that shows your level of scholarship and should be reflected. I am a hybrid of performer and scholar, so I work in both realms but am focusing on my writing and research right now, as this is work that can still continue in the current environment. I sang in five concerts over the summer when things were open for a while and even formed an ensemble. For young performers, I recommend that you have as many and varied skills sets as possible: conducting, performing, sound engineering, writing, contracting, consulting, etc. The more you are willing to do, the more longevity you will have in a notoriously challenging profession. To quote George VI's historic WW2 speech: "If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then, with God's help, we shall prevail."
Coastal Carolina University
Department of Music
Timothy Fischer: Effective communication, willingness to stay up to date with the latest technology--both related directly to music recording and production as well as sharing files and using computers effectively, strong organization processes, and self-accountability, especially in an era where we are spending so much time in isolation.
Timothy Fischer: The ability to record, mix, and transfer audio at a professional level from the home recording studio. Performance opportunities during the COVID-era have temporarily diminished; utilizing this time to develop familiarity with recording technology and music production is so important. Professional musicians have had to develop familiarity in this area "overnight" to continue to have opportunities to perform. Students who can attend music programs that help them develop in these areas will be ready for the current as well as future music industry.
Timothy Fischer: Continuing to practice and gain excellence on their instruments is still a large part of the musicians work day. Added to this is spending time to connect with other artists, promoting their work to generate commercial opportunities, and studying the music of others to both learn and stay culturally relevant.
A.J. Merlino: I believe courses that cover leadership and project management topics will give job seekers a competitive edge. These courses typically deal with complex situations where an individual has to make strategic decisions that will determine workflow and outcomes for a team that will directly impact a project. In a remote or partial remote work environment, the difficulties of cultivating and motivating a team are exacerbated by external factors that a leader will have to manage. With knowledge of the theory and practice of strategic decision making, a candidate will stand out amongst their peers.
A.J. Merlino: Any job that a recent graduate feels respected and is allowed to grow personally and professionally is an excellent job out of college. College courses and degree curricula provide knowledge and experiential learning opportunities that connect theory with practice. A job that helps a recent graduate evaluate these curricular experiences with real-world situations will solidify the knowledge obtained during their studies, and allow them to create new points of view.
A.J. Merlino: As employers adapt to and recover from the pandemic, I believe they will retool their operations to focus on remote work when possible. This repositioning will allow employers to create flexible schedules for employees and expand their hiring pools for previously geographically restricted positions. There are many advantages and disadvantages related to the remote work environment for both employers and employees, and the long-term economic implications of a change such as this are impossible to predict. For jobseekers to stay competitive in this environment, workplace digital literacy will need to be conveyed through their application materials and interviews.
Indiana University Southeast
Joanna Goldstein Ph.D.: There were several trends in music prior to the pandemic which have proven to be especially adaptive to the kind of social distancing currently required. Obviously, the performing arts have been almost entirely shut down during the current situation. I do believe that the public will be excited to experience live concerts and theatre productions again once we can start to return to normal. The performing arts are communal in nature and no recorded or digital delivery method is going to substitute for that live experience. However, live streaming, which currently is the only option and which was beginning to be popular before the pandemic, will continue for music groups. The ability to live stream music simultaneous to a live concert greatly expands the potential audience both in size and region and is an asset for arts groups needing to build audiences.
In the area of music teaching, numbers of instrumental and voice teachers were already offering lessons on line through apps such as Skype and Zoom. Again, this technology allowed for teachers to reach students from greater distances and at more convenient times. Because of the pandemic on line music lessons became commonplace. In my own experience this past year I have found the technology to be somewhat wanting; however, the audio needs improvement and there is a rather annoying lack of synchronicity between video and audio that can make teaching difficult. However, while many teachers will go back to teaching in person, the trend to teach via these apps will continue. My hope is that the technology will improve. I would not be surprised if such on-line teaching was incorporated into the schools so that more young people can have access to music education.
Joanna Goldstein Ph.D.: Performing as soloist or with others - Musicians have multiple options depending on the skills they acquired in school. It typically takes performers some time and multiple auditions to develop a performing career or land a job playing in an orchestra and this field of music is the most difficult to attain...which is not to say that young musicians shouldn't try. However, one should be prepared to work at other music related jobs while developing a performing career - which may or may not "take off."
Working in the administrative side of an arts organization such as an orchestra, Broadway series, opera company, theatre or arts center is valuable both for the security of the job and opportunity it provides to learn needed business skills in music and network with other musicians. One can work in personnel, marketing, programming, education outreach or many other areas.. Working with arts talent agencies can provide similar skills.
Working at a music store - a steady job, develops connections with instrument retailers, develops business skills that are applicable to any area of music.
Working at a radio station - an opportunity to develop skills in music business, as well as develop familiarity with programming. This is an opportunity for both music business students and, in the more technology areas of the business, audio production and sound engineering students.
Working in "live sound" for theatre, opera or other music performances. One would likely be required to join an appropriate union. This job would be appropriate for audio production or sound engineering students.
Teaching in public or private schools. A licensed music education degree is required to teach in public schools but generally not required for teaching in private or parochial schools.
Joanna Goldstein Ph.D.: In music generally, having a college degree is necessary whether one is interested in classical music, jazz or popular genres. Most musicians need to multitask and combine performing with teaching or music business or audio production for financial reasons. Higher education and the skills learned in that environment are needed for these various fields. College is also a good place to make connections for the kind of networking intrinsic to success in music. To teach music in public schools, a music education degree with state licensing to teach is necessary.
Western Oregon University
Music - Audio Production
Ethan Wilson: If there's one thing this pandemic has proven without a doubt, it's that it is possible to work remotely. No more long grueling commutes, stuck in traffic everyday, or large sterile office spaces with cubicles and horrible lighting. So don't limit your search for jobs to just your surrounding area.
Also focus on broadening your skill set to enable yourself to fill more potential roles in your field. Be ready to adapt to the unexpected.
Ethan Wilson: The music teaching landscape is changing very quickly. It's becoming more important to have an understanding of how recording works and having the ability to record yourself.
Ethan Wilson: Right now, graduating with a music degree to a world with basically no real performances is kind of daunting. On the bright side, lots of people are looking to start learning how to play an instrument or produce music now that they have more time. So teaching is still, and always will be, a good option for new music graduates.
Michael Scott McBride: The coronavirus pandemic hit the performing arts early and is expected to create lingering effects. As a thermometer, we know that Broadway shut its doors on Thursday, March 12, 2021. Many other performing venues and unions took their cue. Even now almost a year later, as we are having conversations of opening schools, restaurants, athletics, and other businesses, the lowest priority in the national conversation seems to be the performing arts. This impacts not only those visible on a stage, who represent the tip of the iceberg, but even more consequentially those in supportive fields like various trades, marketing, hospitality, and creators.
However, this time is not all doom and gloom. Many in the arts and specifically music, have taken this 'intermission' to create progress in other ways. The conversation of diversity, equity, and inclusion has had a chance to breath now that the juggernaut of producing the next show has slowed down. This will be an inflection point to determine whose voices get to be heard and which stories get to be told. This has also been a time of technological innovation as virtual collaboration has opened opportunities of create new work (ie. the independent TikTok musical "Ratatouille") and chances for seasoned artists to connect from anywhere in the world with young artists.
The final item I'll mention of the impact is music education. The herculean lift that music educators performed to maintain continuity for their students should be one of the great marvels of 2020. This labor of love was often executed by the individual or by communities of teachers banding together to create solutions. Ironically, even though arts funding has historically tended to be challenged, the field of music education seems to be one of the lesser-impacted areas in relationship to the arts at large. Many people are viewing this time of repose as an opportunity to develop themselves musically.
Michael Scott McBride: Post-graduate employment looks vastly different depending on the field of music one is pursuing. For those in music education, they should inquire if their institution already has relationships with local primary and secondary schools. A good music education program will imbed student teaching requirements which should create a pipeline toward employment. For those in other music fields, such as performance, composition, administration, and studio production, finding employment in their field is often a product of personal relationships formed during study and dedication to high standards of job-related skills. Many opt to continue to graduate school or certification programs to allow time for skill development and networking. At its heart, a musician is an entrepreneur. Musicians who seek to enter the workforce should have a mindset that they are blazing their own path and that path may only partially resemble what is expected.
Michael Scott McBride: There's a phrase often used in music, "happy to be here, ready to work." This shows that one of the most important skills is really a disposition that shows enthusiasm and preparedness. So many of the particular activities of a working musician are accomplished through an application of tools gained in traditional music programs rather than simply mirroring the identical circumstances. For example, a nurse might practice running an IV and then be required to do just that. A musician might practice playing a major scale at a certain tempo and then be required to perform an acoustic version of a Rihanna song at a corporate event. As a person who hires musicians myself, I look for those who have been insatiably curious of their craft to have achieved high skill levels as well as those who understand the importance of creating a positive communal work environment. Finally, that phrase also communicates the values of punctuality, dependability, and being solution-centric.
Salem State University
Music and Dance Department
Mike Testa: Looking at how remote production has blossomed during the pandemic, I believe we are going to see this area continue to grow. Music production for social media applications and marketing were already big before the pandemic and should continue to grow. Areas where we will need to strengthen our skillsets will be in digital streaming, understanding of Networks, and understanding of IT technologies will be a must for musicians. How to actually get your music to another place on the internet or on a secured network will be crucial skills. Pro-Audio Sales and consulting is also a big area now. People need experts who can clearly communicate how to set up and use pro/consumer equipment.
Writing music for social media, for TV and for other platforms will be huge areas of growth.
Finally, education. With schools still remote, people are looking to teach their kids an instrument, or take music lessons. To be able to navigate the technology to do this remotely is a massive advantage over less computer literate teachers.
Mike Testa: Time management. Project management. Clear, effective communication.
If you don't have these, you need to start learning about them immediately.
Mike Testa: As much as I hate to say it, a day at work will probably look like a retail job for now with passion projects on the side since most touring is shut down. If the graduate gets a job, most likely it will be with a bigger company helping out with their marketing department, doing production work or composing. I don't see concerts kick-starting again until Fall of 2021 or even spring of 2022.
What every graduate SHOULD be doing? Practicing, learning new skills and preparing for the job market to open again. When concerts and the entertainment industry opens back up, there is going to be a FLOOD of work for musicians, and a FLOOD of musicians looking for work. If you are not prepared to stand above the crowd, you are doing yourself a disservice and need to work at honing your craft. What does that also mean? Continue with education, continue with lessons, get advanced graduate degrees, get professional certificates showing you completed course work (like we offer at Salem State University). Be as marketable on your resume as you are on your TikTok.
Dr. Gregory Satterthwaite: I believe that students who have had to deal with the pandemic will come to realize that both in-person interaction and the use of technology both can play a vital role in education. Online conferencing call software programs like Zoom have allowed educational institutions to continue their work during the pandemic. Not only has the work continued, but educators have found new ways to connect and deliver information. Unfortunately, many people have had to carry out all facets of their lives online, which has taken an emotional and physical toll. Though most of my students enjoy connecting online, they have also come to value being able to connect with their peers in person. These students will find innovative ways to connect with each other, both in person and virtually.
Dr. Gregory Satterthwaite: Taking courses, doing internships, and gaining experience within the field that you want to work in is essential to getting the leg up on the competition. SEU allows students to take classes, volunteer, and do internships which provides them with hands-on experience within their field of interest. Church Music majors are giving the opportunity to gain valuable experience as worship leaders by performing in our state of the art facilities. Music Business majors learn technical, business, and the musical skills to pursue many careers within the music and worship industries. We also provide our Music Business majors with a chance to do an incredible semester long internship in Nashville, TN.
Dr. Gregory Satterthwaite: Learning how to network, communicate and nurture relationships are vital to success. The collaborative nature of many activities that students have to participate in helps them to develop these skills. SEU graduates learn how to not only communicate effectively, but also become leaders and innovators within their fields.
Arizona Christian University
Gerald Fercho: - Adaptability - ability to make changes and problem solve
- Technology Awareness - ability to know current technologies in audio, video, social media, broadcast, and classroom communications
- Multi-platform communication - ability to EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE communities/students in varying settings (live classroom, ZOOM, social media, broadcast).
Gerald Fercho: - Students taking a GAP Year will find it beneficial to enroll in some online courses. I would recommend taking General Ed classes that can transfer to your University. This will "check-off" required coursework and allow student more time in selected discipline of study.
- For music students, I would also recommend to sign up for private lessons on your primary instrument. The better you are on your instrument, the more successful you will be. The music should also brush up on Intro to Music Theory.
Gerald Fercho: Start networking with peer groups to find job opportunities and maintain cutting edge practices within your discipline. Stay curious and keep growing.
New Mexico State University
Department of Music
Dr. Michael Mapp: It is no secret that the arts community is quickly embracing online performance opportunities and creative endeavors are evolving to meet the challenges that the current situation has produced. Although, I am optimistic that we will return to a sense of normalcy, there is no doubt, the pandemic has given rise to exciting new ways for musicians to reach larger audiences. Music technology has taken a huge step forward and thus, the necessity to know one's way around that technology will be needed in the future. Musicians will always desire the in-person performance, but this situation has proven, that those that work in the arts must be able to adapt and modify century old practices to that of the 21st Century.
Dr. Michael Mapp: Experience is always taken into consideration. Eager individuals should be seeking out ways to build that experience and increase their skills. This experience can come in the form of volunteering, various teaching opportunities, performing frequently, whether it be self-promoted gigs, auditioned festivals, competitions, or masterclasses, and seeking out leadership positions.
As the pandemic has highlighted, a need to understand technology and apply it within one's individual area will be valuable no matter the job. For musicians, the lack of performance opportunities will also no doubt, create even more competition in the future thus requiring high technical ability.
Additionally, it is also a plus to see applicants that have creative areas of interest outside their field of expertise that only strengthen their critical thinking skills, diverse world views, and work ethic.
Dr. Michael Mapp: When seeking employment no one should be afraid to go where the jobs are or create your own. As musicians, we are naturally creative, but the market is competitive. One of the most plentiful areas for employment is in the realm of education and anyone can normally find a job somewhere, but they have to be willing to go where the jobs are. Consideration should be given to cost of living versus salary offered, population, and culture. One should seek out areas that provide resources to support a musical career such as networking opportunities and an established culture that supports creative, artistic endeavors.
Iowa Western Community College
Communications and Fine Arts Department
Donald Fisher: Speaking educationally, it's my hope to see no changes in the job market given the pandemic happening. There are a number of ways to safely make music, though it does require a bit more planning than a "normal" year. Speaking to the performance side of music, unfortunately, we're seeing a large reduction in a number of performances and gigs. Those who are making their living on strictly performing are the hardest hit in the music industry. Despite there being a number of ways to get your name out there as a performer, many of those avenues are not as sustainable as other traditional performance opportunities.
Donald Fisher: If you're taking a gap year, I always recommend continuing their education in music. Local community colleges offer cheap courses, applied lessons, and other musical avenues to explore. In many cases, scholarship money FAR surpasses the cost of the credit hour, especially at the community college level. Other skills to improve are ones that bring you joy. Find a hobby or other activity you enjoy and dive in. Whether that's something in music or otherwise, it's always good to be reminded of good things in light of so much suffering.
Donald Fisher: First and foremost, take care of those who truly run the building. Secretaries, custodians, and other hourly workers truly make the educational institution run. Treat them well, and your life as an educator will be so much easier! Second is to lean on your friends. No one should be expected to know everything, and it's perfectly acceptable to say "I don't know." Finally, it's easy to focus on the more difficult students. Force yourself to recognize those students who are doing well and you'll find that you enjoy teaching that much more!
Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts Ph.D.: I expect that musicians will be expected to be much more technologically savvy. Musicians have always been business people who balance performance with teaching and managing themselves. I expect that there will continue to be more demand for virtual teaching. Moreover, the possibilities of what can be achieved artistically from a distance have increased exponentially. Collaborations using technology are going to continue to be the trend in my opinion. However, we have received tremendous confirmation on the importance and value of art and in particular music as an outlet, an extension of our culture, and as a means of restoring emotional health in times of extreme disturbances. I don't think there is in any way a chance of our relevance changing but we will have to continue to think and work creatively.
Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts Ph.D.: I would recommend students be very familiar with digital audiovisual software as well as composition and arranging software. I've always been an advocate for business training and marketing skills so these would be my recommendations.
Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts Ph.D.: My advice is for them to remember that talent will get you into the door, but discipline is what keeps you in the room. Hard work is key as is their ability to think of every gig, lesson, performance, or chance meeting as an opportunity to grow, network, and demonstrate what sets them apart.