Let's back up a hot second.

We get a degree and think this things will look like this:

Elizabeth Rosinbum

Step 1: Go to College/Grad School of Choice

Step 2: Study and Practice (going the extra mile, of course, and winning a few competitions here and there to prop that CV)

Step 3. Graduation

Step 4. Job!

Go to College/Grad School of Choice

Study and Practice

Enter some competitions

Take auditions with professional ensembles

Win some and lose some

Get told "no thanks"

Practice harder, sacrificing sleep, friendships, a social life of any kind, academics, exercise, nutrition, mental health, etc.

Reinvigorate from a small win (encouragement from a mentor, a practice room discovery, or a Netflix marathon)

Burn out

In reality, it looks like this:


Existential crisis


Part 1: the sea of opportunity

-go to desired school

-practice hard

-enter competitions and take professional auditions

Part 2: the jolt of reality

-rejection, loss, constantly hearing "no"

-existential crisis #1

Part 3: the Island of Grit

-reinvigoration from a small win

-practice harder

-sacrifice sleep, friendships, relationships, academics, nutrition, mental and physical health

-give degree recital(s)

Part 4: the Volcano of Doubt

-existential crisis #2


-research career changes (in private, of course)

-fear of life after graduation

Part 5: the Ocean of 


-job search

-panic, overwhelm, bills, societal and/or parental pressure

What if the reason you became a musician fueled