Singer/Songwriter, Tom Cochrane is right – Life is a highway. My music career has been a highway filled with hills, sharp curves, potholes (ugh!), and many detours. All in all, it was (and is) still worth the ride. Let me share my ride so far.
I was born in Miami, FL and am proud daughter of hard-working blue collar Hispanic immigrants. I went to low-income urban public schools and quickly learned that I would need to take charge of my own life if I wanted to get anywhere. I learned what it meant to hustle. My music career path started being paved when I was 12 years old, and I didn’t even know it. I wanted to play the drums.
Here was my first detour.
My middle-school band director required all students to learn another instrument first before we could even audition for the percussion section. My brother played trumpet so I picked the trumpet and worked as hard as I could for months. I ended up getting the audition and became a percussionist. The detour was finally over, and the ride continued.
High school was filled with many hours of practicing, concerts, all-state and honor bands, and competitions. By the time I was 16, I realized that I had to live in the world of music for the rest of my life. I didn’t know specifically what I wanted to do with music, but I knew I could not see myself doing anything else.
Fast forward to college.
I was accepted to the Frost School of Music on a scholarship to study percussion performance. The skills I learned there allowed me to perform on four different continents with phenomenal musicians throughout my career, and it also instilled in me a passion for composition. At that time however, I felt lost after graduation, with no clear direction for three years. Not to mention, the Great Recession was happening at the same time. Finding a full-time job was difficult. I bounced around from temporary teaching in public schools, to private lessons, to no music jobs at all. I thought my music career came to a complete stop. I thought I had wasted my time pursuing one altogether. Yet, the more I thought about giving it all up, the more depressed I would become. I had to find a way to make this work.
Unsure what to do next, I told myself that going back to school was the only solution...or so I thought.
I decided to go to grad school at the Vermont College of Fine Arts where I studied composition with scoring for media and jazz emphases. It was a memorable time in my life. The program was incredible, but once again, I still felt lost upon graduation. I now have two degrees, and still no clear sense of direction. Yes, I’ve added music technology and composition to my skill set, but I was still missing key components that would lead me to a steady income or gainful employment.
Throughout my decade journey, I discovered the importance of having a wide range of skills to keep up with the ever changing music industry. For every job I didn’t get, I decided to learn the skill that kept me from getting the job. It was a long and arduous process, but then something great started to happen. The road with bumps and curves was finally smoothing out. The gaps were filled and I was making a steady income.
Now, 13 years into my professional music career and equipped with the necessary skills, here’s what’s happened so far:
Noticed I said “so far.” I’m now approaching a new turn on my music career highway which involves something I’m very passionate about: giving the “lost” musician a sense of direction. I truly believe that having a successful music career is very possible.
For this reason, I’ve taken a decade of my positive and negative experiences and developed the NIZCO Music Roadmap Program. This 4-month program is designed to help musicians build a roadmap to new ways of acquiring employment/income opportunities in both music and music-related industries.
If you are a music professional seeking to add a new direction to your music career, this program is designed to help you. Schedule your FREE discovery call HERE to learn more.
Thanks for letting me share my story. If it resonated with you, please let me know your thoughts below, or if you know of someone who can benefit from this, please share this post and let them know that NIZCO Music wants to help them compose their music career.
“Life’s like a road that you travel on when there’s one day here and the next day gone. Sometimes you bend. Sometimes you stand. Sometimes you turn your back to the wind. There’s a world outside every darkened door, where blues won’t haunt you anymore.” -Tom Cochrane