20something profile: Markus
I graduated SUNY Purchase conservatory of music in 2010 after 9 long semesters of hard training and practicing as a classical piano performance major, trying to pursue a career to become a professor at a university. But even after all that work (unless I’m some sort of genius), I probably still wouldn’t get the job I want just from that. So to increase my chances of getting my dream job, I enrolled into a graduate program for my master’s degree in piano performance.
What I’m saying is that a person should try to learn as much as they can to improve their chances at employment. Also, one shouldn’t miss any chance to learn more, such as internships or summer classes. I for one try to attend as many summer music programs as I can, whether I’m a student or a teacher. Besides helping me get a better education, these little extra things look really good on a résumé.
Education and doing as many activities that supplement your résumé are important, but for me there are two things I find more important than education, which are connections and creativity.
What do I mean by connections? Well, it simply is just people you know who can help you further your career goals. Does that mean sucking up to your boss and being a yes-man? Well, the answer is: to a degree, yes. I find that being friendly and treating all people I meet respectfully to be quite helpful in pursuing my goals. Many of the opportunities I had – including studying with master pianists, teaching-assistant positions, and gigs – came from being nice to colleagues, teachers, and administrators.
Earlier, I mentioned being creative; well, all I mean is that one should always think outside the box and look for any opportunity to further their career path. Many of my favorite music artists all started out classically or jazz trained and ended up with very successful careers in things they didn’t even think were possible. A really great example would be one of my many role models, Masashi Hamauzu. Mr. Hamauzu was trained as a classical pianist at Tokyo Fine Arts, and now he’s the composer of videogames such as Final Fantasy XIII. Like him, I like to dabble into all forms of music and take any chance to perform.
To sum up, I feel that everybody should keep an open mind and try to do anything they can to be successful in life. I do understand it is hard to survive in this world with the bad economy and lack of jobs. But instead of moaning and griping about how life sucks, do something and be active about it. I also understand that people are afraid of rejection, but no matter what, you have to take as many chances as there are. (I should know because I get about at least 20-30 rejections every year for summer programs, jobs, and schools that I apply for, and yet I am still applying for things every year).
And if all else fails, trying inventing a new career. I see hundreds of times how some really intelligent people think of something original and create their own job. So I will leave everybody with some wise words from my martial arts instructor that might give a good summary of what I am trying to say: “It is better to keeping swinging and punching than not do anything, because you might get one lucky hit in if you’re flailing, but you’ll get nothing if you’re just standing there.”