"You won't make any money as a musician."
On the subway today I made eye contact with the woman sitting across from me.
“Hi, how are you?"
In a thick east coast accent, “Fine, fine. I’m about to retire, I’m counting down the days. Are you from here originally? You live here?"
“I’m from Seattle… I’ve lived in Brooklyn since September."
She’s a teacher. Elementary school, she tells me- fourth and fifth grade.
“And what do you do for a living?"
“I’m a musician."
"You know, New York needs music teachers — you should really go into teaching. Lots of teaching jobs, at the charter schools.
That would be good for you. It’s a hard business. As a musician you won’t make any money."
“Oh,” I smile with my mouth, not necessarily my eyes, “thank you.” I look down at my notepad, where I am writing down my ideas for my new business model.
“It’s expensive to live here, you know. And you won’t make any money as a musician. You need a steady job. Look into teaching jobs, at the charter schools. Look for them on the computer. It will be good for you. Something stable."
“Thank you,” I nod and smile again. “I will look into it.” I continue writing.
This is what our teachers are telling us?
What my opinionated subway companion failed to realize is that I am a financially independent musician and entrepreneur living comfortably in New York with my life and business partner. I get to work at multiple jobs in my field and am able to run my own business, because I was fortunate enough to grow up with an amazing support system.
If your daughters want to have a career working as a musician, I am here to tell you that they will be able to support themselves, and they will have a fulfilling and successful life. Why? Because they have you to support and guide them there.
You can help them take steps to become independent and skilled entrepreneurs. Financially responsible. Self-motivated and creative. Dedicated and hard-working.
And BONUS, these skills will be essential to them throughout their lives, regardless of whether or not they choose to work professionally as a musician or creative.
We have got to teach our girls the lessons that our misinformed “get a steady job” society shoots down.
Are you worried that your daughter's creative interests will get in the way of her schoolwork? That she will not be able support herself with a career in a creative industry? Share your concerns and questions in a comment below or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading,
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