by Amy Thakurdas
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thakurdasMusicians find the ‘business’ side of their career dull and tedious. This article is a taster to help you achieve your musical and life goals. It is not aimed at the professional who is living their dream but rather those who are actively pursuing their goals. Hopefully, it will allow you to identify some areas you might need to strengthen while pursuing your dream.

Creating a Portfolio Career

Many newly qualified horn players will have followed traditional steps to find an orchestral placement or teaching position. With limited spaces in both the performance and academic worlds, a 21st century ‘portfolio career’ is advisable. This allows for work in horn related industries and results in direct exposure to some of the best horn players and teachers.

While I was working with six graduates, they had multiple horn related interests and talents which allowed them to pursue careers in management, manufacturing, historical writing, marketing, music arranging and fundraising. All six placed in their area of interest. Although it is not living the traditional professional horn player’s dream; they are within the sphere of the horn world and enjoying their chosen goal orientated first job.

These new graduates earn a living and make a difference to the horn community in multiple capacities. Down the road performance of teaching jobs will inevitably appear and in the meantime they will have made meaningful contributions to the horn world with their multi-talents.

Small steps towards your goals

Take small steps each day towards your career goals.  Very soon when you look back, you can see you have achieved so much. Just remember to take the steps each day. It is easy to become distracted or procrastinate.

Streamline your routines toward your goals and don’t forget to review your life plan as a musician, regularly. Maybe create a timetable and carve out a specific time to accomplish each small step. Or aim to complete one step each day before or after your daily practise schedule.


Reputation and opportunities

If paid freelance playing is abundant where you live, then your reputation as a player can be established with local orchestras. If your city has a glut of good players; keep playing anyway. Opportunities fly in from obtuse sources and often favour the prepared.

Depping or substitute teaching can open doors that wouldn’t be available, if you stayed at home. The constant change can be disquieting however, it is wise to allow your career plan to change, as your dreams and life circumstances change.

No limits to your dreams

Your musical goals and steps towards these goals may be small, large and even change. If you accomplish 6 goals a year then in 10 years that will be 60 things you will have achieved towards living your dream(s). Pretty soon you will find that there are no limits…

Enjoy the journey while reaching the destination

My best advice is to enjoy your musical and life journey. No one size that fits all. Knowing yourself and designing a path most suited to the person you are (not following blindly other people’s paths) will be an enjoyable and fulfilling way of reaching your ultimate destination.

I hope this article provides you with some ideas for cultivating your career as a fulfilled musician while living your dreams. Happy horn playing to you all.

Amy is a Naturopathic Doctor specialising in stress management using Mind/Body therapies. She is also the musical director of Oxford Horns.

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