Skills You Acquire as a Musician that Translate to Any Profession

Photo By Milena Parobczy

Photo by Milena Parobczy

There are unlimited skills obtained during your years practicing, studying, and working as a musician.  It’s important to know how invaluable these skills are, how they effectively cross over into any job, and how to utilize your experience and expertise in your own entrepreneurial endeavors and/or articulate to an employer.  Here are 40 skills you acquire and develop as a musician that translate to any profession.

What is the first skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

1. Self-Discipline

Building any career is a lifelong process, and a vocation in the arts may feel like a never-ending upward climb.  Your self-discipline as a musician is an important driver in your success in an arts career.  To be successful, you had to be your own teacher, and overcoming your weaknesses through self-discipline is what helped you create a successful profession in the music world.  Self-discipline is an important skill in any job because you are able to reflect and identify tasks that need to be worked on and improved.

What is the second skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

2. Motivation

Pursuing a career in the arts is challenging, so your personal motivation is driving you towards accomplishing your personal goals, especially when there isn’t an easy or straight path already set.  Work as a musician takes form in many different ways, from teaching, performing, orchestral playing, gigging, online lessons, instrument repair, arts administration, music marketing, business management, chamber music performance tours, outreach, and more.  Motivation is an important skill in any job because it means you pursue interests that will help you grow, evolve, and become a more well-rounded player.

What is the third skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

3. Time Management

Working in the arts realm doesn’t usually entail the 9 to 5 lifestyle.  This typical 40 hour work week inherently supports a degree of work and personal life balance with clear lines between hours worked and hours free.  A lot of musicians work several jobs from teaching in the morning, to practicing and making reeds during the day, and finally to orchestra rehearsing in the late evening.  A musician may also work 40 hours in one week, but these hours are distributed over each day sporadically, and every day may be different.  Time management is a vital skill for musicians, and it is an important skill in any job because it means you are able to discern and prioritize important tasks over menial tasks and be efficient with getting work done.

What is the fourth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

4. The Big Picture

A lot of musicians get into the music industry because of their love of music.  You love practicing, you love the creative process, you love connecting with people, you appreciate how music has helped you, and you want to share this with others.  The big picture of the arts industry is creating, sharing, and connecting.  The behind the scenes of your career may have entailed years of volunteering your time, relentless hard work and practicing, lots of rejections from auditions and job interviews, mental health issues, self-doubt, and daily thoughts of changing careers.  These small picture obstacles have strengthened your character and helped you develop a deeper understanding of the big picture that drove you to your music passion in the first place.  Seeing the bigger picture is an important skill in any job because it means you are able to keep perspective, and you’ll work through the hard times to celebrate together on the other side of achieving goals.

What is the fifth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

5. Detail-Oriented

Making music magical starts in the practice room.  Addressing the details helps build a good foundation in awareness, observation, communication, and action.  Musicians must be their own teachers, and being able to focus on the details will add up in creating overall positive improvement.  Being detail-oriented is an important skill in any job because you are able to meticulously create to build a good, reliable, and consistent result.

What is the sixth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

6. Team Player

Musicians practice and prepare a lot on their own, but most arts jobs are primarily in group settings.  From working with small chamber ensembles, to teaching students, coaching masterclasses, collaborating within your instrument’s orchestra section, band sectionals, playing in an orchestra, sitting on an orchestra committee, and public speaking with audiences at concerts, musicians are team players.  Musicians also get the opportunity to non-verbally communicate as a team through instrument sounds as musicians usually sit silently in orchestra rehearsals.  This is a chance to practice listening and observation skills to create an overall good sound in the orchestra as a whole.  Being a team player is an important skill in any job, and as a musician you are able to work well in a group to be effective and efficient for the benefit of the organization.

What is the seventh skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

7. Collaborative

When learning a new instrument, students usually begin playing in small chamber groups made up of their own instruments.  From double reed ensembles to brass groups to string quartets, beginners learn so much by collaborating together.  Playing with two or more players together improves listening skills, communication skills, and playing abilities.  These collaborative skills translate to any profession, and working together is important in any job.

What is the eighth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

8. Organized

It’s helpful to be organized in life and in your work, and one of the many ways that musicians acquire good foundations in organization is through daily and deliberate instrumental practice.  Whether you are preparing for an upcoming recording project, university audition, competition, recital, or music lesson, musicians keep organized through practice logs, technique analysis, and reflection.  This helps to maintain a productive schedule in achieving personal practice goals.  Musicians also keep track of various concert dates, teaching times, instrument repair dates, and dynamic schedules that are constantly changing due to the nature of this community-connected profession.  Organization is an important skill in any job, and a musician learns to be organized from the start of learning their instrument.

What is the ninth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

9. Planner

Something you learn early on as a musician is that mastering a piece of music takes time.  Your friends can’t practice for you and your parents can’t step in to help practice for you.  It’s up to you to put in the time that you need to learn the music.  Self-reflection plays a major role in planning, as musicians must be realistic in where they stand technically with the music to plan enough time to feel confident before the performance date.  Planning your practice time is very individual, and being a good planner in general is an important skill in any job.

What is the tenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

10. Leader

Musicians have the opportunity to play many roles including audio engineer, event planner, coordinator, presenter, team player, and player of a leading part or solo line in a chamber group or orchestra setting.  The musical line is constantly moving around different sections and instruments in an orchestra.  Through trained musical ears and knowledge of the composition, musicians are constantly changing from their supporting role to a soloistic approach and vice versa depending on what is needed in a particular moment of the music.  Musicians are also leaders of their community through sharing collaborative spirit, working together, and connecting cultural and societal ideals through art and beyond.  Leadership skills are important in any profession, and a musician has crafted principal skills to rise to the occasion in any job or entrepreneurial endeavor.

What is the eleventh skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

11. Creative

A musician’s career and work involve the use of imagination and creation on a daily basis.  Examples include designing intriguing concert programs, performance attire choices, developing varying approaches, connect with different audiences of various backgrounds, and creative freedom in music making, musicians’ jobs involve a lot of creative thought.  Utilizing original ideas is an invaluable skill in any profession, and musicians excel in creativity.

What is the twelfth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

12. Practical

Musicians spend hours researching and applying practical techniques that show tangible results in their playing.  You are a problem solver, and finding practical ways of doing things is important to be efficient with your time.  Feasible approaches are desirable when deliberately practicing and working towards your performance goals.  Being practical is important in any job, and a musician is very skilled in problem solving in a practical and convenient way.

What is the thirteenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

13. Realistic

Often musicians must self evaluate, and being realistic is vital when improving your craft.  It takes sensibility and a practical approach to technical improvement in order to grow as a musician.  There is nowhere to hide when performance or competition time comes around, and often musicians must accept that even dedicating hours of work can’t beat a bad reed.  Realism is quite familiar to musicians in auditions, as well as the practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.  Being realistic is important in any profession, and musicians practice this on a regular basis.

What is the fourteenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

14. Resourceful

Musicians are resourceful, and you have the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.  Whether you are in need of a last minute substitute conductor, need to change the program order around because one of the members of the chamber group are stuck in traffic, or have to quickly craft a temporary instrument key pad because the glue stopped working, you are resourceful and ready to master a challenge.  Resourcefulness is very important in any job, and musicians are great problem solvers.

What is the fifteenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

15. Networker

Musicians are natural networkers.  It’s so much more fun to share a concert with a room full of people, and you are always sharing about your upcoming events with friends and acquaintances.  Advertisement starts with the large instrument you have on your back or what you are carrying around shaped like an instrument.  People naturally want to inquire about what you do just through noticing you carrying an instrument instead of a briefcase.  Pursuing a career in the arts is admirable, and people want to hear about your experience as a musician.  This curiosity organically opens doors to share about your personal website, invite people to attend upcoming concerts, and to read more about the groups that you are performing in.  It’s always fun when someone knows someone whose dad plays the bagpipes, and you probably know him too!  The music community is only so big, and it’s fun to connect with people around music.  Networking is a necessary skill when expanding any business, and musicians are great salespeople because they love what they do.

What is the sixteenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

16. Communicative

The art of music-making entails unlimited non-verbal communication.  A lot of young players learn music through the call and response method where the teacher will play an excerpt without explaining anything, and the student must then replicate the tone, tempo, technique, and phrasing in response, without ever speaking any words.  The teacher and student will continue in this back and forth exercise while the teacher exaggerates different aspects of the music that the student doesn’t quite have awareness to yet until the student can play the excerpt in a similar quality of the teacher.  There are so many non-verbal cues heard through their instrumental voices that the student and teacher are communicating to each other without ever using their voices.  Body language, hand placement on the instrument, posture, amount of breath used, music dynamics utilized, the amount of vibrato incorporated, and the intensity of air needed are vital, non-verbal communications that are invaluable observation skills.  The art of music making entails unlimited verbal communication skills as well.  Work in the music industry is a very social environment.  You do spend a lot of time practicing alone, but a lot of teaching, orchestra, and chamber music work is done in groups of people.  It’s important to be able to communicate ideas and direction of the music which helps everyone make more beautiful music together.  Musicians must often compromise together in order to reach the most desired sound, and discussions are often needed for colleagues to convene on the same page musically.  Communication is an important skill in any job, and musicians make use of non-verbal and verbal communication all the time.

What is the seventeenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

17. Good Listener

Music is a wonderful teacher of listening.  Whether you love to listen to music through your stereo speakers, play music in a string quartet, stream music on iTunes, or listen to the radio, music provides the opportunity to enjoy, critique, find favorites, share, and learn unlimited ways of making different sounds.  If you listen carefully, attentively, and sympathetically, you develop skills that are prized by a good listener.  Being a supportive and understanding listener is a necessary skill in any profession, and musicians are always using their good listening skills to make the best, most collaborative music possible.

What is the eighteenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

18. Entrepreneur

Musicians are natural entrepreneurs.  From the beginning, musicians acquire instruments, music stands, repertoire to build their library, office supplies, recording equipment, repair tools, and the list goes on.  This investment in quality products and equipment is a great foundation for building a business or brand while gaining experience and expertise in the industry over time.  These items that you own are valuable assets to the growth of your craft, and like an entrepreneur setting up a business, you’ve taken on the financial risks of investing in yourself in hopes to profit and gain success in the entertainment industry.

What is the ninteenth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

19. Understanding

All musicians know that the grind behind the scenes in the practice room and rehearsals can be brutal.  Just like in life, accomplishment doesn’t always come easy, and you must work efficiently to achieve your goals.  It may seem like everything is great on the surface level seeing fancy concert clothes and smiling faces, but we all know that the true self has suffered personally and sacrificed a lot of time and energy over the years behind the curtain.  Not only from the physical exertion needed from the body for sitting or standing for long periods of time and constant repetitive movements in the hands and breathing when practicing, but also from the mental struggles.  Self-doubt, depression, practice-makes-perfect delusions, and concentration issues are all common obstacles for musicians.  Although, musicians understand that putting time into something you are passionate about takes consistent work, and it requires the ability to comprehend the long term picture with sympathetic awareness and tolerance in the present.  Understanding is an important skill in any profession to interact with compassion and kindness with colleagues, and musicians develop a strong sense of empathy for others throughout their work in the industry.

What is the twentieth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

20. High Expectations

With so many professional recordings on the market, performers have evolved to expect technically perfect concerts from themselves, and audience members generally anticipate perfect performances from entertainers.  With a musician practicing towards perfection, ideally they deliberately and rationally address problem areas in their playing and apply techniques and procedures to improve weaknesses.  Unfortunately, most times this pursuit of excellence takes a toll on mental and physical health, and balance between high expectations and reality must occur to maintain your overall wellbeing.  Approaching practice as making your playing permanent is a healthier way to work towards acceptable and manageable expectations, just like supporting certain expectations within any other personal or business setting.  High expectations are important for achievement, but these goals must be healthfully attainable for all parties involved.

What is the twenty-first skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

21. Dedicated

enthusiasm shared by all those interested in, playing with, learning, sharing, and connecting through music is universal.  Everyone can make music through the tangibility and accessibility of our own voices and bodies as instruments.  Professional musicians exclusively dedicate their lives to mastering their craft with the general purpose to share with others.  Whether musicians have committed to music teaching, orchestra playing, chamber music collaborations, conducting, music therapy, audio engineering, solo performances, or so many more opportunities in the music industry, most professionals have exclusively determined to spend their lives growing and improving their art and connecting with others through music.  Dedication to excellence is a vital skill in any profession, and musicians share a genuine enthusiasm for their work on a daily basis.

What is the twenty-second skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

22. Marketer

Whether you are talking about the repertoire you’ve been practicing or mentioning an upcoming concert to friends, family, or the local community, musicians naturally want to share their passion with others.  It’s rewarding to provide moments of presence for audience members through music, and it’s so much fun to share music with a group of people.  Marketing in the music industry comes in so many different ways whether you are promoting your teaching opportunities to potential students and their parents, making flyers for an upcoming chamber music recital, recording music for CD sales, creating an online platform, getting professional photos done for an upcoming video release, or marketing your talents on social media.  Musicians are constantly doing their own advertising and promotion, and this is a great skill to utilize from an employee in any business.

What is the twenty-third skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

23. Project Manager

Most orchestras around the world are non-profit organizations.  Their administration teams and musicians are regularly brainstorming and launching projects to increase community engagement, youth participation, and creative opportunities.  A lot of musicians form chamber ensembles to initiate specialized projects to improve accessibility to and familiarity with music for audiences.  The importance to expand community engagement to prisons, retirement facilities, juvenile detention centers, and hospitals are also vital areas for connection, and managing these projects specifically for audiences that normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to hear a concert is vital.  Musicians project manage through brainstorming concert ideas, organizing rehearsal times, practicing individually, rehearsing as a group, finalizing appropriate repertoire depending on the audience, allocating speaking topics, contacting venues and facilities, receiving confirmation, determining attire, coordinating transportation, and performing.  Communication, coordination, planning, motivation, initiation, execution, control, and completion are all skills exhibited in organizing these specialized concerts, and being sociable and working well with a team are qualities needed in a project manager in any profession.

What is the twenty-fourth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

24. Financial Management

Many musicians are self-employed and juggle a number of jobs to fulfill financial and artistic needs.  From teaching music lessons, to selling products, running a website, lecturing as adjunct faculty, or playing part-time in an orchestra, you are very aware and concerned with profitability, expenses, cash, and credit.  Through this financial management, your aim is to continue your work and interests while utilizing funds and optimizing resources without burning the candle at both ends.  Financial management is vital for any business to succeed, and planning, organizing, directing, and controlling finances as a self-employed musician are applicable skills to any job.

What is the twenty-fifth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

25. Researcher

Early in a professional musician’s career, you are encouraged to research teachers, schools, competitions, youth orchestras, conductors, repertoire, composers, recordings, scholarships, and so much more.  From the beginning, young professionals learn the importance of doing research homework and gathering information to gain confidence and take initiative with decisions.  In any job interview, it’s important to research about the company you’d like to work for, and read about the staff that you’ll possibly meet and interact with in the interview and possibly on a daily basis, if hired.  With increased knowledge and education, your potential and opportunity for success in the pursuit of something that you want will grow.

What is the twenty-sixth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

26. Focused

Musicians maintain good short term and long term focus.  When you start learning an instrument before the age of 10 years young, you aren’t necessarily thinking about becoming a professional musician.  You’re thinking about how much you like playing music, and you want to practice the scales and songs that your lesson teacher gave you to learn for that week.  This is a healthy short-term focus to be productive while working towards a goal.  Little does this music student know that they are building a stable and grounded foundation in their playing to help them be consistent, expressive, confident, intelligent, informed, reliable, and have the endurance needed to work as a professional musician for many years to come.  Completing short term goals with precision, focus, and patience in any job builds good, strong foundations for the future.

What is the twenty-seventh skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

27. Adaptable

Being adaptable is important in any situation.  Especially since the world’s COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has adapted to new home and work conditions to thrive.  Couples and families are learning how to create spaces for connection, separation, work, and play in the same household, all day long.  Businesses have adapted to staff working from home and interacting virtually.  New levels of trust between employer and employee must be initiated to remain productive and viable.  Meetings, phone calls, conversations, and connections are all done through the computer or phone, including video conferencing, which welcomes colleagues and acquaintances into your home in an unfamiliar and vulnerable way.  Staff colleagues may go years never visiting your home, and since COVID-19, people are facing work exchanges from the comfort of their own dwellings and getting glimpses in the intimate home lives of their fellow teammates.  Musicians have adapted to making music during these new lockdown conditions by  creating individual videos and recording separate layers for eventual integration.  Professional musicians playing in an orchestra are adapting every second as they hear different instruments, lines in the music, and tuning as they work.  Music teachers are always adapting their instruction style and advice by being sensitive to what their student needs in their lessons.  Audio engineers are very in tune with what instrumentalists need while recording, facilitating breaks, providing detailed feedback, sharing encouragement, changing the location of the recording microphones, and so much more.  Adaptability is necessary for everyone, especially during these unprecedented times, and it’s a vital skill in any profession.

What is the twenty-eighth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

28. Persistent

Music lasts for centuries, and instrumental playing, singing, and composition are activities, hobbies, and work that you can do for the entirety of your life.  From starting practice at a young age, to listening to music during your final days, music lasts for a long time.  Just like with any sport, as long as you are consistent and persistent with practicing music, it’s something you can continue working on and improving every day.  Persistence in any profession is important and supports infinite learning and growth.

What is the twenty-ninth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

29. Hard Worker

Hard work is just one of the many ways that you can achieve your goals.  Having the passion, motivation, inspiration, ambition, drive, planning, grit, endurance, and sacrifice are other important skills to make your dreams become a reality.  The bulk of music progress does require putting in hours of practice to become a master of your craft.  The hours don’t necessarily need to be hard, but the practice does need to be deliberate, and it takes discipline to maintain this work ethic.  Through careful and thorough practicing, and rehearsing with awareness and presence, your skills will improve over time.  It takes effort to work deliberately, but the results from your hard work in music will stay with you for a lifetime, and these are skills that translate well into any other job.

What is the thirtieth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

30. Open-Minded

Sharing an approach to music-making with a mind receptive to new ideas is a beautiful exchange for musicians when working together.  Playing music with people who are trained and skilled in their craft, and who also show openness and curiosity to different techniques and styles is refreshing, and this genuine advance in making music provides a more collaborative working environment for everyone.  Being open-minded is necessary in any work environment and profession, and this valuable skill as cultivated through music translates into any industry.

What is the thirty-first skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

31. Self-Starter

Something learned early when starting an instrument is that your parents, friends, pet, or siblings can’t practice for you, so it’s up to you to prepare for your music lesson that week.  As a child, with some encouragement from you parents in the beginning, you learn to start your practice, and undertake the assignment from your lesson teacher.  Over the years, this self-starter mentality translates into completing school homework, sports training, pursuing extracurricular activities, applying for scholarships, and deciding on college applications without needing to be told or encouraged to do so.  Being a self-starter is such an important skill that can be learned through music, and it is a useful ability when starting your own business, personal brand, and in creating your own reality.

What is the thirty-second skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

32. Goal-Oriented

Musicians are true goal setters.  From starting out as a student with goals like playing your Bb major scale 3 octaves, practicing 2 hours instead of 1 hour, applying for your city’s youth orchestra, or attending a music school for college.  Later goals may include studying abroad, signing up to play in a masterclass with your music idol, recording and applying to competitions and scholarships, or making a career in orchestral playing.  Musicians also may strive to volunteer around the community, teach a studio, or create your own business. Whether you’d like to become an astronaut or obtain enlightenment during this lifetime, being goal-oriented is an invaluable skill that translates into any profession.

What is the thirty-third skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

33. Passionate

Music connects us to the universe in ways we cannot put into words.  This feeling of freedom, acceptance, and infinite love as well as sadness, pain, and desire felt through playing and listening to music is hard to describe.  From enthusiastic joy to the ultimate hurt, the passion we have for music is admirable.  Humanity, animals, and nature are drawn to the music from the beauty, vibrations, and energy.  This intense enthusiasm towards music is universal, and this passion for life is valued in any profession.

What is the thirty-fourth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

34. Self-Invest

Awareness of the body as its own instrument is a vital part to having a successful musical experience.  By taking things slowly, maintaining presence, and cultivating a deliberate mental space, healthy transformation is achieved.  Musicians must self-invest to balance a healthy body and mind when approaching music practice, teaching, and performance.  This is a necessary focus for any person, and investing in oneself is the ultimate path to finding ways to help others.

What is the thirty-fifth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

35. Self-Confidence

When a soloist walks on stage, it’s important that the performer have self-confidence.  Through astute awareness of the many hours of preparation, acting, rehearsing, and the excitement to share, you believe in yourself, trust your abilities, and have belief in your powers to have a successful performance.  Self-reliance is an invaluable skill that translates into any profession.

What is the thirty-sixth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

36. Structure

When learning new music or re-learning music you’ve already played, it’s important to enact systematic practice approaches in order to achieve a consistent and reliable outcome.  Practice makes permanent, and structure supports a deliberate plan for success in any job.

What is the thirty-seventh skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

37. Balanced

Musicians spend a lot of time practicing on their own.  Even when performing with a group of people, each individual must take time to learn and play their individual part to the best of their ability.  Since a significant amount of time is spent inside, balance must be achieved through movement and a change of environment.  By pursuing activities that require different skills to musical practice, further body, mind, and soul balance is achieved.  Just like any job working in a building or a small space, it’s very important to find a complementary activity in nature, walking outside, or doing some kind of movement to stay health in all parts of your life.

What is the thirty-eighth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

38. People Skills

The social aspect to music is something to be cherished.  The opportunity to share an experience with a community is very special.  With authenticity, and great skill, a performer allows strangers to connect intimately and creates a space for everyone to be open and vulnerable for an artistic experience.  People skills are so important in music, and the ability to deal with, influence, interact, and communicate effectively with other people is invaluable.

What is the thirty-nineth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

39. Initiative Taker

When approaching individual music practice, you must know where to begin your practice and make a plan of action.  Time may be wasted when practicing areas of the music that you already know, unless you are deliberately working on run throughs of the music, practicing memory, or overall endurance.  It’s important to take the initiative to work on technical areas of the music that you are not proficient in to improve and move forward with your abilities.  In any other profession, discernment is important, and the ability to take action on things that need to be done is a valuable skill.

What is the fortieth skill developed as a musician that translates into any profession?

40. Driven

Musicians are highly motivated, and they work every day towards learning, improving, growing, and sharing.  This high energy and determination is an important skill that translates to any profession.  Being driven to succeed is an admirable trait, and any employer would be thrilled with this drive and determination to succeed on the team.

10 Ways to Make a Career in a Foreign Country

Photo By Milena Parobczy

Photo by Julie Ann Link

Moving to a foreign country is an exciting time, but it’s important to make the proper preparations to provide the most beneficial, growth focused, and fulfilling experience possible.  It’s one thing to vacation in a different country, but it requires a thoughtful and planned approach when looking to reside in another country long term.  Here are 10 tips on how to make a successful career in a foreign country. 

What is the first tip to make a career in a foreign country?

1. Plan

Shifting to another country isn’t always the easiest option, but motivation for a challenge, a new environment, and an opportunity for personal growth may be important to you at this particular time.  Start planning for your move as soon as possible.  Having a game plan sooner than later is a great way to begin your journey with confidence. 

Start by making a timeline for yourself. 

Is your passport up to date?  Make a note of when you’ll need to renew this.  It will take months to mail it away and for it to be returned back to you.  You don’t want to be caught needing to travel abroad and unable to do so without a passport.  What kind of visa do you need to enter the country?  Do you need a specific kind of visa for the work that you are specialized?  How long will it take for you to apply and receive the results of your visa application?  Documenting important dates like passport renewal and visa applications are vital to your ability to live abroad.  Are you even legally allowed to work or be hired long term as a foreigner in the country you’re planning to move?  Can you set up work interviews right after your arrival?  Keeping track of these details will keep you focused and on track to achieving a successful abroad experience.

What is your current financial situation like?  How long will your savings last?  Does the foreign country offer a work exchange program for free accommodation and food?  Write down a specific date on your timeline of when you’ll absolutely need confirmed financial security.  What’s your budget?  Do you know how much you can pay yourself each week until you find other income?  Where are you going to live when you arrive?  Do you need to book accommodation for a few weeks while you look for a more permanent living option?  Make sure to fill out tenancy applications as soon as possible, if needed.  Contacting agencies by providing a little information about yourself and your estimated rental date requirements are a great way to start planning for living abroad.  Confirming these logistical obstacles will provide you more energy for focus on work, travel, and new social groups.  Knowledge and understanding of visa requirements, travel restrictions, and industry parallels and differences from your homeland country to where you’d like to establish yourself is important. 

Writing down these necessary questions and creating a timeline will provide a visual way to check in with yourself to make sure you’re achieving your travel goals. 

What is the second way to build a career in a foreign country?

2. Network

Make the most of your immediate contacts to help you get in touch with someone already living in the foreign country that you’d like to move to.  Let your friends, family, and current co-workers know your future foreign country career plans to utilize local connections for potential networking abroad.  By sharing your upcoming intentions, you may discover that a friend of a friend of a friend is already living in the country that you can get in touch with.  Can you schedule a Skype chat or a Whats App video to inquire about their time living in the country?  Would this acquaintance be interested to exchange a few emails to answer some questions about their experience?  Any kind of foot in the door really helps. 

Share a post on your social media to see if anyone can put you in touch with someone they know, and mention that any referrals would be much appreciated.  Reach out to universities and professors in the foreign country.  People will have no idea who you are, and it’s your job to network, market, and promote yourself to create your own reality.

It’s okay to ask for help, and make the most out of your already established network of contacts to improve your chance to make a career in a foreign country.

What is the third tip to make a successful career in a foreign country?

3. Keep an Open Mind

When moving to a foreign country to establish yourself, it’s important to keep an open mind.  Sometimes opportunities arise that you could never have imagined.  You may end up doing a totally different profession than you initially planned.  You may end up leaving the country early due to unforeseen circumstances. 

Maintain an optimistic approach, and an open mind leads to endless opportunity. 

What is the fourth tip to build a career in a foreign country?

4. Volunteer

To get settled in a foreign country, you need to start somewhere, and giving back is a wonderful way to jump in.

If you enjoy attending concerts, volunteer at the local town hall for community events.  Have you always wanted to learn how to grow your own food?  Research city gardens to help out a few times a week.  Is there a particular cause that you’re really passionate about?  Look up events around this interest to provide assistance and support to the local community.

The chance to connect with locals is a wonderful way to build relationships and begin your journey in creating a wholesome experience in a foreign country.   

What is the fifth tip to build a career abroad?

5. Pursue Interests

You’re in a foreign country looking to make connections, and it’s vital to have a social life.  By pursuing hobbies and social groups that you’re interested in, you’ll expand your network of people in another country.  

Are you into playing basketball?  Join the community gym to play casual sport games on a Tuesday night.  Have you heard of language meet up groups?  This is a great way to practice a foreign language in an informal setting and make new contacts too. 

Joining clubs that interest you will expand your friend group, and new friends will lead you to the discovery of other recreation and a deeper understanding of the culture and people.

What is the sixth way to make a career in another country?

6. Be Humble

Assimilating and connecting in a foreign country is a daily effort.  You will spend a significant amount of time finding your individual anchoring starting over in another country.  Luckily you are up for this challenge.  You live for the opportunity to grow and to get to know yourself better, and remember that you are continuously evolving from each experience and interaction.

What is the seventh tip to establish a career abroad?

7. Know Your “Why

Throughout your planning and networking process, make sure to take time to reflect on your true motivations for pursuing a career in a foreign country. 

Are you in search of thrill and adventure through travel?  Are you wanting to improve your language skills?  Are you wanting to grow professionally, and this country is one of the best in the world to work in for your industry?  Are you escaping something?

Everyone, including friends, family, colleagues, and people in the foreign country, will ask you why you moved.  For your own mental health, it’s important to understand and know this answer. 

It’s good to be aware of your “why” because it will also help you to appreciate what you already have.  It’s okay to want to pursue a different environment, grow your career, and have new experiences, but 5 years from now, it’s okay to miss family, local food, and your own native country. 

Trust your decision to grow your mind and soul through the challenges of starting over and making a career in a foreign country, and know that you will change and evolve over time through these experiences too. 

What is the eighth way to make a career in a foreign country?

8. Explore the Country

Traveling helps you to understand the country’s culture, the people, the cuisine, and it will expose you to new activities you may never have done or dreamed of before.  These activities will broaden your perspective and understanding about life which will strengthen your experience in another country.

What is the ninth tip to make a career in another country?

9. Talk Retirement

Many countries have created unique pensions, retirement plans, and savings opportunities for citizens and residents.  Before accepting a job position, find out the savings and retirement options of the foreign country to open an account. 

Sometimes there are free rebates for opening certain accounts at specific times of the year, and doing this sooner than later is better.  Don’t miss out on any chance to plan for your retirement in another country. 

What is the tenth tip to make a successful career abroad?

10. Missing Home is Okay

When you first move to a foreign country, everything is new and exciting.  Little things like going on a walk with your sisters, popping over to see your grandma for some pie, and catching up with your high school friend will be replaced with adventures, exciting foods, and new friend circles.   After a few years of getting settled, the little things will be big things.  You’ll miss your family; you’ll miss your country’s food; you’ll miss the hot weather; you’ll miss almost everything about home. 

Remember your “why”.  Remember how much you’ve grown living in a new environment.  Remember how the challenges have made you into a more resilient human.  Remember that home is just a flight away.  Remember that nothing is permanent, and you have choice. If it gets too unbearable, you know in your heart that you can do anything after establishing yourself in a foreign country.  You know that you make your own reality, and you pursue and accomplish anything you set your heart out to do.  Remember gratitude for the opportunity to grow and evolve personally and professionally in another country, and remember that it’s okay to miss home.




How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Photo By Milena Parobczy

Photo by Milena Parobczy

It is beautiful that you are detailed oriented and want to do the best job that you can, but your perfectionism is crippling your ability to achieve anything. At a certain point, your work is good enough, and it is time to share. You’re always going to find something else to change and improve, and you may never accomplish your goals. Here are 10 tips to help you get out of your own way.

What is the first tip to get out of your own way?

1. Write it down.

Have you been thinking about something that you’d like to do, but haven’t yet?  What would you like to accomplish?  Is this a short term or a long term goal? 

Write down what you would like to do.  Get all of your ideas on paper.  Sketch out what it will look like.  Is it a website?  A professional development course?  A new product?  A letter to a family member? 

With your thoughts out of your mind and on paper to be seen visually, the overwhelming feeling of the task will become more manageable.  Your goal will become more accessible and achievable because you can literally visualize it now.  It’s not just in your mind. 

Once you’ve written down what you want to do, you can share it.  You can get feedback from friends.  You can research more about your topic and start collecting information.  You’ve taken the first step to get out of your own way.

What is the second tip to get out of your own way?


2. Reflect, and realize.

Identify what has been holding you back.  Are you physically exhausted?  Do you need a mental break?  Do you have too many things going on at once?  Do you have financial restraints?  Do you need a business partner?  Are you lacking certain skills?  Do you need to go back to school or take a training course? Can you delegate tasks to others right now?  Do you need a work space?  Are you in a supportive environment?  Are you organized? 

Each of these questions are important to reflect on, and realize where your road blocks are.  All of these questions have a solution, and by identifying which issue has been causing you to remain stagnant and paralyzed, you’ll gradually be able to lighten your responsibilities and work towards your goals.

What is the third tip to get out of your own way?


3. Do one thing at a time. 

Go through your list systematically.  Delegate, reschedule, eliminate, focus on, share, breathe, and take action.  By doing one task at a time, you can focus your entire energy in doing a quality job to accomplish it, and then move on to the next thing on your list.  Take it one day at a time. 

What is the fourth tip to get out of your own way?

4. Create a timeline. 

When would you ideally like to have your goal launch or accomplished?  Tomorrow, 6 months, or 1 year?  

Write down your ideal finish date in your calendar.  With an end date set, you can fill in the blanks.  What are the major tasks that can be finished over time?  Which are tasks that can be accomplished in between the major things?  Are you on a time limit with one particular goal?  

By filling in the blanks on a timeline, this visual representation will help you prioritize tasks and get things done in an orderly way. 

What is the fifth tip to get out of your own way?

5. Think positively.

You are working fast enough and good enough.  You are doing great.  You are doing your best.  You believe in what you are doing.  What you are working on is important.  Your friends and family are proud of you for accomplishing your goals.  We admire you.

What is the sixth tip to get out of your own way?

6. Keep perspective. 

It is easy to be hard on yourself.  You’re taking the steps needed to get out of your own way.  You had to start somewhere, and you’re doing it.  Everything is happening at the right time.

What is the seventh tip to get out of your own way?

7. Seek feedback. 

When you gain more clarity on your goals, search for resources, communities, or groups to join for support and guidance.  Seek out a counselor, coach, or mentor for a fresh perspective to achieve your goals in the best and most efficient way possible.

What is the eighth tip to get out of your own way?

8. Be kind to yourself. 

Be proud of yourself that you are taking action to make your dreams become a reality.  Remember that you are working hard, and it’s okay to take some time for yourself in between working on your goals.  Balance between personal and work life is important, and being aware of your needs is vital for the success of your goals. 

What is the ninth tip to get out of your own way?

9. Remember your accomplishments. 

You’ve done so much already to get yourself where you are, and many past experiences have helped lead you towards realizing your goals.

What is the tenth tip to get out of your own way?

10. Celebrate.

It is important to have something to look forward to, especially once you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.  Allow yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and celebrate the achievement of getting out of your own way.





Sensitivity is Your Superpower

Photo By Milena Parobczy

Photo by Julie Ann Link

Everyone has at least one superpower.  Sensitivity is just one special trait that is a wonderful opportunity for connection and deeper understanding for oneself and others.  Here are 18 ways your sensitivity is a superpower.

What is the first way your sensitivity is a superpower?

1. Awareness

Awareness is the knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.  Sensitivity around your own self awareness is really important.  With a kind and sensitive awareness to yourself, a deeper sense of understanding and patience emerges.  Sensitivity to yourself helps you to walk through life with a more thoughtful and delicate approach which in turn leads to interacting with others more compassionately. 

What is the second way that your sensitivity is a superpower?

2. Observation

From reading the energy of a group of people at a party to see if it’s safe, to noticing the body language of colleagues in a meeting regarding a certain topic, to reading up on both sides of an argument to empathize with everyone, taking mental and literal notes of different experiences highlights your sensitivity superpower in any situation. 

What is the third way that superpowers come from sensitivity?

3. Heart

Do you feel deeply in situations that other friends and family seem to be unaffected?  Your heart sensitivity is beautiful, and allow yourself to experience the full extent of your emotions.  By being vulnerable and expressing yourself, you are immersed in the present moment and sharing your superpower.

What is the fourth way that sensitivity is a superpower?

4. Listening Skills

Thank you for your undivided attention.  Your genuine interest and curiosity in people and experiences are superpowers.  Because you approach every situation as an opportunity to learn about yourself and others, listening is really important to you.  People feel comfortable around you, and you allow others to let their guard down and be themselves through openness and sensitivity.

What is the fifth way that your sensitivity superpower shines?

5. Compassion

Your ability to step into any situation and exhibit understanding and empathy is a superpower.  Compassion is a wonderful way to approach life, and your sympathetic concern is admirable. 

What is the sixth way that superpowers come from sensitivity?

6. Energy

Your sensitivity to energy is a superpower.  By observing your response and feelings in certain situations, you recognize interactions that are healthy or unhealthy.   

What is the seventh way that sensitivity is your superpower?

7. Care

It is beautiful that you care for people and are sensitive to their opinions and well-being.  You talk with friends to help find solutions for problems, you’re always right there to help, and caring too much is your superpower.

What is the eighth way that you get superpowers from sensitivity?

8. Openness

You know how terrible it feels to be judged by others, so you are sensitive to approach any situation with an open mind.  You do your best to share unbiased support and advice because exuding openness fosters a safe environment for people to be themselves.

What is the ninth way that your sensitivity is a superpower?

9. Attention

You do your best to be present where you are and who you are with, and this attention is much appreciated.  It’s so easy to be distracted by everyday tasks and thinking of the future, and your attention to others with your mind, body, and soul is a superpower.

What is the tenth way that sensitivity is your superpower?

10. Details

Your ability to notice the small things is a superpower.  It’s important not to sweat the small stuff, but the small stuff makes up the big stuff.  Gathering as much information as possible helps to make educated decisions, and noticing the details is a superpower.

What is the eleventh way that sensitivity is a superpower?

11. Feeling

The pure emotions that you experience are superpowers, and they make you who you are.  You feel deeply, you experience wholeheartedly, and your vulnerability is admirable.

What is the twelfth way that superpowers come from sensitivity?

12. Consciousness

Your awareness and responsiveness to surroundings is a superpower.  Your ability to get a general idea of how someone is feeling is a skill to cherish.

What is the thirteenth way that you have sensitivity superpowers?

13. Recognition

As a sensitive person, you are able to meet people where they are emotionally.  You see people and events with clear eyes and an open heart.  It’s important to be seen as you are, and your sensitivity and awareness to this is a superpower.

What is the fourteenth way you have sensitivity superpowers?

14. Realization

Your sensitivity drives you to observe, reflect, learn, realize, take action, and share.  Through life experiences, you are constantly striving to improve yourself, and through this constant motivation to do better, your daily self and life realizations are a superpower. 

What is the fifteenth way that superpowers grow from sensitivity?

15. Perception

Do you have a strong sense of knowing what will probably happen in the future with relationships, conversations, or anything?  All your senses are conspiring together, and your ability to see, hear, and be in tune with your sixth sense sensitivity is a superpower.

What is the sixteenth way that sensitivity is your superpower?

16. Discernment

Continue to follow your sensitivity, and trust your superpower to discern the right path to take.

What is the seventeenth way that sensitivity is your superpower?

17. Absorption

Use your sensitivity with others and situations to bring everyone together.  Your superpower is to observe and bring people together to work great as a team and achieve goals.

What is the eighteenth way that you have sensitivity superpowers?

18. Love

Remember to love yourself, so you can then love others.  Remember to help yourself, so you can then help others.  Allow yourself to step out of your mind comfort zone, and take action to realize that your thoughtful and creative views are valid and important to share with others.  Support yourself in communicating confidently.   Anxiety, self loathing, and constant self focus from hyper-awareness and sensitivity is an easy line to cross, so remember to be kind to yourself too, and see your sensitivity as a way to channel unlimited superpowers.



5 Tips to Make a Successful Audition

Photo By Milena Parobczy

Photo by Milena Parobczy

Music auditions for students and adults can be a stressful experience. From youth orchestra try outs to competition concerts to professional orchestra auditions, and even business job interviews, here are 5 tips to help you put your best self forward.

What is the first tip on playing a successful audition?

1. Continuity

Music auditions can take you all around the world.  With an ever changing environment, a memento may assist in grounding you in the present moment.  By carrying the same pencil, wearing the same audition uniform for each performance or interview, or bringing along something, this will provide a thread of connection and stability bringing a familiar and comfortable frame of mind to the unknown.

What is the second tip on how you can play a good audition?

2. Listening

Instrumental practice is an important starting point, but listening to yourself play and other musicians’ recordings help you to improve too. 

Be your own teacher.  Note the differences that you heard in your playing when compared to the recordings, and apply the feedback to achieve further musical refinement.

What is the third tip on playing well in an audition?

3. Prepare

Auditioning is a skill that needs to be practiced. Try taking every audition that you can, or create mock auditions with friends and family on the panel so you can get more practice performing.

Time spent in the audition room is usually short. Create a pre-audition routine for yourself.  Always assume that you will not have time to practice at the venue, and warm up before going to the audition building. 

In the audition, you’ll have an essential couple of minutes to represent yourself. It’s important to stay calm, mentally prepare, and be ready to play at any time. 

Know your panel audience. Research and read about the current members and conductor of the orchestra. Orchestra members’ music biographies will share a great deal of information about their style of playing and training that the musicians received. Finding recordings of the orchestra will also help you to get an understanding of the overall sound of the orchestra.

There are many different audition procedures around the world too.  European orchestras usually don’t screen, the United States usually screens everything, and the United Kingdom and New Zealand have a mix.  Is the audition that you’re doing screened or totally open to the panel?  Make sure you dress professionally and you are mentally prepared to see a wall to play for or a group of people to perform to. Are you playing your solo with or without piano?  Make sure to communicate to the pianist what tempo you will be utilizing. You’ll just have a split second of non-verbal signals or a quiet whisper to make sure you are both on the same page. Do the excerpts come at the beginning or the end of the audition?  Hopefully you have enough facial endurance to get through an entire day of auditions. You may be playing a lot, and it’s important that you have an understanding for the layout of the audition day. You don’t want to get to the final round and be completely exhausted. The final round is where you need to shine, and a lack of endurance for the last meeting with the panel will probably lose you the job. Can you get to the audition venue early to warm up on the stage and have a look? Explore any opportunity to gain knowledge with open arms. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you could have a look. Even a single note played in the hall quickly will give you a world of information for playing in that specific space.

Be ready to talk to the audition panel.  Do you really want this job?  Are you willing to move for this job?  How early can you start the position or study?  It’s important for you to be clear on these questions so you don’t cause any doubt in the minds of the orchestra panel and your potential colleagues.

All of these things mentioned will help you better prepare for an audition.

What is the fourth tip for you to have a successful audition?

4. Breathe

Performance anxiety is the body’s natural way of responding to stress.  A racing pulse, freezing and sweaty palms, and nausea are all common effects of stage fright.  You are not alone – public speaking is one the most common phobias in the world. 

Remember that this audition is not life or death.  Breathing deeply physically circulates blood throughout the body, improves oxygen flow, and removes CO2 from the blood.  This gentle concentration and focus on breathing allows you to step outside of yourself to observe the mind without being caught up in it.

What is the fifth tip to play a good audition?

5. Authenticity

Share an honest representation of yourself and your playing.  The panel is hoping that you are the one to hire. 

At the venue, and sometimes even in the hotel that you’re staying, there will be numerous styles of playing, personalities, and interpretations throughout the hall ways.  Conserve and reserve.  Keep calm, and set aside space for yourself.  Physically get some fresh air outside, ground yourself by playing your favorite music with headphones, or call a family member or friend. 

Take a positive and lighthearted approach and focus on playing the best that you can. 

5 Tips to Conquer Music Performance Anxiety

Photo By Milena Parobczy

Photo by Milena Parobczy

Public speaking and stage fright are one of the most common phobias in the world. Many people suffer from music performance anxiety – you are not alone if you do. Below are 5 tips to help you conquer your music performance nerves.

What is the first tip to help you better deal with music performance anxiety?

1. Perspective

Remember that all of your friends and family in the audience are there to support you. The judging panel wants you to do well. Everyone in the audience is impressed that you’re accomplishing your performance goals, and we admire you for facing your stage fright fears head on. We are all sending you positive vibes to play a successful concert.

Remember that your nerves show that you care.

Remember that this is just one concert of hundreds of performances that you will do. After each concert that you do, you’ll have so much to reflect on and apply to your next performance. You will continuously grow and improve.

Remember that performing is a skill that just needs more practice. The more you practice performing, the more skilled and comfortable you will be playing in front of an audience.

Remember that you’re awesome. You’ve worked hard practicing and preparing, and you have a good heart for wanting to share your music with others.

What is the second tip for conquering your performance nerves?

2. Imitation

Can you think of someone that you really admire? Does your best friend exude confidence? Is there a musician that captivates you when they perform?

Start out by imitating the energy and mannerisms of a friend or someone that you look up to, and apply their confident presence to your practice at home.

What does this person wear on stage? Are they having fun? What is interesting about their performance?

Acting is a part of a musical performance too. It’ll take practice to feel comfortable showing an exaggerated musical performance compared to how you play by yourself at home, but you’ll find more freedom in expression and expand your range of musicality. Work on physically showing your musical ideas with your body and instrument. Connect the audience’s eyes to your sound.

By utilizing imitation in your practice over time, your individual performance persona will emerge.

What is the third tip in coping with performance apprehension?

3. Visualization

Mental practice is very practical and effective, and you can do it anywhere. You can mental practice lying in bed or on a walk in the park. You can do your mental practice with your instrument and music in hand or you can do it without.

Get somewhere comfortable, close your eyes or keep them open, and start to go through your performance from start to finish in your mind. Visualize yourself feeling and embodying confidence, joy, and being prepared. Hear the audience clapping for you as you walk on stage, bow, place the music on the stand, and play your music through in your mind from the beginning to the end, and walk off the stage.

Try this visualization exercise each day for a week. How do you feel after each visualization? Are you feeling less nervous? Be your own teacher. What do you need to practice for tomorrow after the visualization practice? Did you keep perspective while you were playing? Did you struggle to imitate the person you admire while you performed?

By the time you get to the physical performance, you will have already performed mentally many times.

What is the fourth tip in improving your performance anxiety?

4. Exercise

Daily movement is vital, especially before and/or after times of stationary practicing.

The body needs fresh air and a change of pace to release built up energy.

The brain will greatly appreciate a break in a new environment, preferably outside in nature.

It’s no surprise that lots of musicians are also long distance runners because there needs to be a good balance in deliberate musical instrument practice and also maintenance of your individual body and mind as an instrument.

Sweating also helps to release toxins, and exercise produces happy endorphins to help calm the mind and relax the body, especially when you are nervous about an upcoming audition or interview.

What is the fifth tip for working through music performance anxiety?

5. Go Caffeine Free

Coffee, energy drinks, non-herbal teas – All of these will increase any nervous energy that you have.

Caffeine and sugar cause the heart to beat fast and more intensely when you’re nervous so your hands and feet will be cold, clammy, and shaky. Your vision will blur, and your mind will race even more with caffeine in your body. Calmness and control will be a distant feeling of the past.

It is important to have control over a healthy body and mind so your soul can guide the way for sharing your beautiful music.


How to Cope with Music Performance Anxiety I Julie Ann Link