Transitioning From Music Major to Professional

A Bit of Story-telling

Hey guys it’s Chelsea Melcher here. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. If you’re new to following me and to have you get to know me a little bit better.

So I started off as an opera singer. I’m still an opera singer but I also do a lot of performing and crossover music recordings, concerts, master classes, sacred work things with orchestra. I love doing it all and I also have a music school.

And I also have a private teaching studio and a program that I built. And I’m also a mom of two so that’s a little bit about me.

I started off and got my Bachelor’s of music from Central Michigan University. And then I went on to do my master’s from Ohio State University. And then I got my performance diploma from Jacobs School of Music Indiana University.

 

And one of the things that I’m really passionate about, especially lately, is helping people with transitions. Specifically, a transition from say going from a music major to wanting to go and be a professional.

Whether it’s a professional singer, a performer, or a professional teacher, and just the roughness that transition can provide a lot of stress, a lot of overwhelm, a lot of feeling lost. And wanting to have a little bit more structure, have a little bit more step-by-step guidance, and a mentor. That’s what I’m really passionate about providing.

And I think part of it is because I had an amazing mentor when I went through high school and he was there for me for everything. I could talk to him about anything and he really prioritized me.

And as soon as I went to college as a music major, I don’t think there was a little part of me that was like okay I’m in college now. So I’m not supposed to really be as connected with my mentor in high school, as untrue as that should be.

And I was like okay well I can’t really let him know that I’m struggling because he’s my mentor so I wanted to impress him in a way.

And make it known that I was doing really great things and not really needing a whole lot of help or struggling in any way.

So I don’t think that I reached out to him in a way that I should have or could have when I was going through my transition in college.

And I really regret not doing that.

And so I really want to provide that to you and to give a lot of guidance to give a lot of tips, a lot of tricks, things that I’ve learned, things that I’ve learned the hard way even.

And just to help you have a little bit better picture and to really guide you in the transitions where maybe you’re starting to teach voice for the first time, and you’re transitioning from I’ve always been the student in voice.

And even though I’m a firm believer that I’m always a voice student, and I’m always going to have lessons in coaching because I’m never going to be perfect. And I always want to keep getting better. 

 

The Transition Tunnel

There’s never an endpoint.

I really strongly believe that but when you’re in that transition where you are able to start teaching voice, especially people like oh you’re a music major. Here, can you give my son voice lessons? He’s eight years old and he really loves to sing or something like that.

There’s a lot that is almost expected that you should know. Like how do you start your own voice studio? And what are you going to charge? And how are you going to teach and all of that.

And not wanting to necessarily mess somebody up and you’re still working on your technique too.

And so those are a lot of things that I was thinking about.

At least when I was having that.

And in trying to figure out what is good and not wanting them to develop bad habits because you’re still working through your own things. And what are the best vocal exercises to use and all of that. So there’s that whole transition of becoming a voice teacher.

 

Changes in Transitions

But then there’s also the transition of going from a student to being a professional.

And there are wonderful internships and opportunities and apprentice programs and things, but they don’t teach you a lot of the stuff that I had to learn the hard way.

And really about networking and yourself being a business and whether you’re wanting to open up a music school, or whether you’re wanting to perform, you yourself are a business.

And there’s a lot of things that you have to learn along the way.

So that’s kind of the basis of a lot of the information that you’re going to see.

Some of those are things that involve opening up your own music studio, or a music school, or a voice studio, or tips for teachers to feel more confident, or to have a little bit more structure or guidance along the way especially if you’re new to teaching, or if you’re not new to teaching.

Even things that I mean there are always things that I can learn.

So maybe there’s something that you learn that is helpful to you. And then also my performing experience and what I’ve learned about that and behind the scenes a few secrets, or skills.

And then also marketing yourself being your own business, everything like that. And then also finding that balance between your personal life.

Say if you want to get married someday, or if you are married, or if you have children, all of that. And how to juggle all of that and still have the life that you want.

So that’s a bit of what I am going to share with you.

And I’m also going to share with you some things that I want you to remember especially if you’re going through a transition.

Like maybe you’re a music major right now, and you’re just starting off, or maybe you’re fresh into it, or maybe you’re just getting ready to graduate, you’re like oh my gosh I have to figure out things now.

Do I go to more school and have this little safety net where they’re like this is what classes you take?

Or do I kind of start to figure this all out on my own.

Identify Your Beliefs & Stand For Them

So I have a few things that I think were helpful to me and I really wish that I would have heard them or taken them to heart sooner in my life, but the best that I can do is just try to help you.

Now, this is the time especially if you’re starting college, or in college or in a grad program, this is the time where you really have a chance to figure out what you stand for.

What are your beliefs? Who you are as a person because all of a sudden your family’s gone, and there’s that little safety net that’s not there anymore, and maybe you have friends that have carried over into your college years from high school, or maybe not. And maybe this is your fresh start.

So this is the time where you can really practice starting to take a stand for what you think or what you believe and or doing the research and making those decisions for yourself.

 

 

Multitasking in Music School

This is the time to practice that because you will be tested in every way mentally. You will be tested. There is going to be a lot on your plate and you will be tested with your agility as far as your instrument.

All of a sudden you’ll be going from singing in the choir, or musical, or your voice lessons than once a week to singing all of the time because you’ll be in ensembles. You’ll have your lessons, you’ll be expected to practice and figure things out as you go along.

So you’ll be singing a lot hopefully. And you’ll feel overwhelmed. You might feel stressed, you might feel like you need structure in your life, or you need a little bit of inspiration, or you need to help feel less intimidated in whatever you’re doing.

But in every capacity, you will be tested and mentally and emotionally you’ll be exhausted.

There’ll be things where you’re like okay you want to have good relationships, you want to have good friendships, but of course, things can be clicky or there can be relationships that happen that you get involved in personal relationships or whatever drama. And it will test you in every way.

And especially as a music major, this is what I found was people on the outside, they don’t really understand how busy you really are.

And we can just say that but seriously there are other people that will have classes that are say four credits or something or their classes there are only two times a week.

But as a music major, you have a jillion classes and a lot of them are one or two credits.

I remember having either a theory or a sight-singing class. And it was one credit and it was twice or three times a week.

And it was so much work, so much behind-the-scenes work, and you’re like how is this one credit? And then some of the people that I knew that were not music majors at all, they were just like oh yeah ok.

And it just seemed like they had a little bit more of a chance to relax. And I know that there are a lot of vocations or paths that you can go into that are stressful as well.

And so I’m not saying that everything else is not stressful, but I just remember as a music major being like how do I have 10 classes and 18 credits.

And then these other people have like four classes and 18 credits. It’s kind of crazy in a way. So just be aware of that like you’re gonna be busy you’re gonna be very busy.

And although structure can be kind of built-in for you, this is when your class time is, this is when your lunch break is all of that. This is when the deadline is. There’s still an element of providing that structure and those deadlines for yourself.

And know that you might have a little bit of peer pressure. And yes that goes without saying, but it’s also not in the way that you might think. It also can be in a very friendly way like you’re hanging out with your roommates, or your friends.

And even though you’re like oh yeah I really should be studying for that exam or yeah I really could be practicing right now or doing something, everyone’s like oh yeah we’re gonna go to Taco Bell like who wants to come. Or we’re gonna go to the cafe later who wants to come, or Starbucks or wherever.

And so there’s a little bit of like oh well I’m here so I guess I’ll go. And I don’t want to be like oh I have to stay back and practice. So just know that there might be a little bit of pressure in that way. Not necessarily that other people put on you, but that you feel for yourself.

Transitions & Your Personal Life

Another thing is you spend less time with your family. If you’re living on campus, and more time with your friends. And so just remember that your family loves you. They’re always there for you and to just check in with them every now and then.

But if you find yourself being like well at first I really wanted to go home on the weekends and see my family, and now I kind of want to stay with my friends. Is that bad?- No. That’s just normal, it’s part of this transition. And going through everything.

Present Yourself the Way You Want to Be Seen

And then how do you want people to see you? What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want to show up as? What is important to you? What are your priorities? What are your values in life?

What are things that are like no way I would not stand for this no matter what? And really make those decisions. And think about how you want to show up in that way.

How does your social media affect your values or who you are or your dress? What do you wear? How does that show who you are? But you could just realize that how we show up to the world, that’s how people see us.

So if you want people to see you in a certain way, make sure that you’re showing up and presenting yourself in that way.

That’s really important. 

Learn to Say No

The last tip that I’m going to leave with you today, is to learn the power of no. 

If something goes against your values, or priorities really feel like you can say no. I am a people pleaser.

So there’s a lot of times in my life where there have been certain situations, and I felt like oh well I always have to put these other people first. Everyone else comes before me. Everyone. Their needs come before mine.

I don’t like tension, I don’t like conflict. So whatever they want, I’m just going to go along with that because that’ll make them happy, which will make me happy. Because that’s the kind of person that I am.

So being a people pleaser can definitely have its benefits. But also it can get in the way because it can be dangerous.

Where you might get involved in something that you originally wouldn’t have been, just because you’re a people pleaser and not because you truly want that. And so just start working with that.

You can start saying no to little things. And it will build up your confidence to say no to the bigger things.

I really wish that I had somebody say these things to me earlier on. And so hopefully they can be helpful to you in your life and how you’re presenting yourself, and when you’re thinking about your priorities. 

So that’s all for today, but it was so nice to meet you. And please let me know anything that I can do or talk about that is helpful to you, or that gives you inspiration, or that gives you structure, or that gives you clarity because I am here to help you.

I care about you. I accept you. And I truly appreciate that you’re here, and you’re spending this time with me so thank you.

Thank you so much for tuning in this week. I hope that you enjoyed it and learned something don’t forget to like it and subscribe to the channel. I post new videos every Wednesday and a new podcast every Friday thanks.

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