What Do They Actually End Up Doing?

<p>My dd was on track to a earn a softball scholarship until she discovered she had a passion for the performing arts along with some ability singing, acting and dancing. As a softball parent, my concern was to avoid signing with a school that forced her into a junk degree program just to play softball.</p>

<p>Now my concern is what happens to all the college performing arts majors after graduation? What do they end up doing to provide themselves food, clothing and shelter if they do not achieve the dream of being a steady working performer? Is this a viable degree entering the job market?</p>

<p>I know there are probably not any longitudinal studies out there tracking this type of data. Any anecdotal information is certainly welcome in lieu of hard data.</p>

<p>I was a performing arts major, and I graduated in the mid 1990s... I am a college professor in the arts, and the artistic director of a theatre company... classmates of mine are medical doctors, lawyers, salespeople, producers, teachers, professors, administrators... as well as high level professional performers, designers, directors... etc... many provide for themselves and their families in the arts and entertainment industry. </p>

<p>The arts and entertainment industry does not follow a straight employment path. I imagine if one wants to become a pharmacist or an accountant there is a clearer linear path to follow to a full time career. The arts is a little more like sailing... you tack a lot in order to continue to maintain fulfilling work in your field. Honestly, most college grads are entering a world where this is the norm... arts majors are already used to having to put themselves out there honestly and creatively for opportunities. </p>

<p>Arts grads can work in and out of the industry. Arts majors are creative and build the skills to be on-the-spot problem solvers. These are skills that are very useful. "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink is a wonderful book to read on this topic.</p>

<p>Where is you D looking to go to school?</p>

<p>EXSBDAD, if you think about it, with a few exceptions, most liberal arts undergrad degrees do not give graduates the credentials and experience to obtain a meaningful job in their field of major and for that matter provide limited employment opportunities even in other areas. Students who graduate from a college theatre program spend 4 years reading and analyzing dramatic literature, takes classes on the history of theatre touching on the social and cultural events and history in which theatre has developed as an art form. Students are required to work incredibly long hours and can't survive in these programs without a strong work ethic. They learn how to work collaboratively on complex projects and how to present themselves and communicate well with fellow workers and an audience. They develop poise and confidence. All of these are skills, knowledge and experience valued in the workplace. Graduates with degrees in theatre are not at a disadvantage compared to most other majors when it comes to obtaining the kinds of jobs open to students with undergrad degrees. And as alluded to by KatMT, many theatre majors go on to graduate and professional programs in areas other than performing arts. Degrees in theatre are viewed as every bit legitimate as any other liberal arts major when it comes to grad school admissions.</p>

<p>A couple of days ago, I was listening to an interview with Aaron Lazar, a clearly successful, regularly working performer. He stressed that graduates from undergrad theatre programs must have a long range view of achieving success as a performer and suggested that a period of up to 10 years was a reasonable horizon.</p>

<p>So for me, the question is not what my daughter will do if she doesn't "make it" but instead is what will she do to support herself as she is working hard to make it. In my view, having a good solid "plan B" is all about the latter and not the former. And the development of a good "plan B" is something that I think students need to be thinking about and progressively preparing for from the outset of college and not at the end as graduation looms.</p>

<p>In my daughter's case, in anticipation of her graduation last May, she spent her 4 years in college mapping out a game plan that would enable her to have reliable steady income with which to support herself after graduation. She chose areas she loves , that draw upon may of the same skills and talents required to be successful as a performer and that afford the flexibility in scheduling to enable her to audition and work as a performer. Throughout college and presently she works as a dancer, dance manager and MC for an entertainment company. Through that job, she networked with a photographer who has provided commercial print opportunities and with a wedding planner for whom she works as a "day of" assistant. She obtained a certification as a spinning instructor and is employed at 2 athletic facilities in that capacity. She spent the last 6 months completing the certification process to be a personal trainer and has been hired by one of the athletic facilities as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. These are the things she will rely upon for her support and sustenance as she grows and develops as a performer over the years to come. For as long as she has the desire to perform professionally, this is a structure that will work for her.</p>

<p>Someone sent me this link awhile ago. The site is old, but the writing is dead on. Please, look it over. What</a> Theatre Majors Learn. What can you "do" with a theatre major? Plenty!!</p>

<p>I love this KatMT! "The arts are a little more like sailing... you tack a lot in order to continue to maintain fulfilling work in your field. "</p>

<p>I may cross stitch that one! :)</p>

<p>haha! Thanks classicalbk.</p>

<p>I think you have the same concerns every parent has. My father was a factory worker, I was the first person to go to college on his side of the family - music was not his idea of college. Eventually he gave in and I have made it work through performing, arts admin, and teaching. Everyday I get to wake-up and do what I love, isn't that what most parents want?</p>

<p>I think the idea of what people consider "success" in the music business is going to have to change and I think its a good thing. It used to be the only way you really made a living in the arts was by "making it big". Those big record labels that bank rolled those artists are gone or a fraction of the size they used to be. Mega-millionaires in the music business are becoming rarer, but local musicians who make a living only with their music are becoming very common. A return to interest in local businesses, the affordability of professional recording and live audio equipment, and a renewed interest in building a local community are quickly changing the way artists look at paying the bills.</p>

<p>A student with a BFA in MT could:
-Teach 10 hours a week of voice lessons at $50 an hour (45 weeks = $22,500)
-Teach 3 acting classes a week at $150 per class (10 kids paying $15 an hour; 30 weeks = $13,500)
-Headline the weekly Jazz night at a local restaurant - $100 a week (40 weeks = $4,000)
-Sing in a contemporary church service on Sunday as a paid singer - $150 a week (48 weeks = $7,200)
-Perform in 2-3 roles in the local professional theatre - (~$5,000 a year).</p>

<p>TOTAL = $52,200 a year. School teachers in some states start off at $30,000 a year, so this isn't bad. And once you get started and earn a good reputation, things get bigger and better. I've known several dance studio owners who live in beautiful homes and drive beautiful cars, apparently a six figure salary is pretty common. Not to mention they could: act in local commercials, record voice overs, audio record local choir concerts, make professional video recordings of local concerts and events, serve as a music consultant for local event planners, sing at weddings, plan weddings and events (especially for people who are looking for an event that is theatrical/bigger than life), promote and organize local concerts, or run a: youth theatre, community theatre, small professional theatre, dance company, arts council, performing arts center, art gallery, or any other arts organization.</p>

<p>You must think outside of the box in the arts, but you can make a decent living while doing what you love, without becoming "famous" in most situations. It does take a lot of hard work, but if its doing what you love - its worth it.</p>

<p>Hope this helps.</p>