• Stephanie Morey-Barry

Tips for Music Graduates in a COVID-19 World




Congratulations! After four years of rigorous training, you have finally completed your undergraduate music degree. You’re ready to go out into the world and work professionally as a musician. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has put some of your dreams on hold.. for now.



But don’t lose heart! Whether you are planning to pound the pavement at auditions, teach in a K-12 classroom, serve in music ministry, or head to grad school when this all ends, these tips are sure to help you to prepare for the next step in your career.


1. Keep a Practice Regiment.



I know this is the last thing you want to do right now. But even after four years of study, you still need to practice every day. You need to keep your skills sharp. And remember: avoid exclusively singing and playing what comes easy. You need to sing and play challenging pieces that will compel you to grow. Find a piece that you can’t play through immediately. Sing repertoire that pushes your breath, stamina, and overall vocal ability. If you don't continue to drive your musical athleticism to the forefront, you will get out of shape fast!


2. Find a Private Instructor.



Much like a personal trainer in the gym, a private instructor will help you to set individual goals and keep you on track. Weekly check-ins are extremely helpful, especially when you’re fresh out of college. Even amidst COVID-19, Zoom lessons can be beneficial to your overall progress. Find a qualified instructor to keep you accountable.


3. Maintain Your Connections.



With nothing to do and plenty of time to do it, now is the time to reach out to your peers and make valuable connections. Did you meet some fabulous people at a summer stock theater gig? Did you interact with some really interesting individuals at your last conference? See what people are up to. If they’re hosting a virtual workshop or livestream, consider attending. Now is the time to network and solidify those connections. In the music industry, it is essential to respect, support, and collaborate with your fellow musicians. Get networking!


4. Continue to Study the Latest News on Your Craft.



Don’t get left behind! Keep listening to new music. Keep reading on the latest trends in your field. Subscribe if you can to any magazines and journals related to your discipline. Join Facebook groups with other professionals so you stay engaged. There is nothing worse than an out-of-touch artist… don’t fall into that trap. Stay informed!


5. Find A Hobby.



You love music. That’s why you chose to pursue a degree in it. But music is now your career, which means that it won’t offer the same type of stress relief it’s provided for you in the past. Find something you enjoy that is distinctly separate from work. It will help you to create a healthy work-life balance.

I hope these tips will be helpful for you as you transition into the next phase of your professional journey. Best wishes on the future!


For those of you many years into your career in music, can you offer any additional tips for recent grads? Post them in comments below!


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