Embarking on a professional opera career after the sheltered world of university can be eye-opening, writes baritone Lucas Meachem in What School Doesn’t Teach You About Opera. Lucas’ advice looks at how to deal with uncertainty and the importance of developing your own program where none is laid out for you in life. How he motivated himself to create a course of study during a two-month hiatus:
The first time I had time off as a young professional was when I was singing in Stuttgart and the stagehands went on strike. I had two entire (paid) months off and I had to be intelligent with my time. I took the opportunity to learn German and hired a tutor. I became proficient by the time I left the country.
It was up to me how I spent those two months and I had to continue being productive or else I would have gone stir-crazy as well as gotten behind on my potential development as a singer. I had to motivate myself to develop without a program telling me how.
The only place where I disagree with Lucas is regarding the responsibility of music programs to teach students about real life skills and situations - I feel strongly that they should, and that many music programs are failing their students in this regard.
A deep dive into Lucas’ blog is well worth the time - you’ll find a lot of practical advice and wisdom there.
(Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash)