Members of NAAC were asked a series of questions regarding their transitions from a career path in music to one outside. In reading these transition stories it is our hope that those of you considering your own transition might find comfort in identifying with our stories and support in our network of alumni.
Charlotte Landrum '05
Associate Director of Marketing & Outreach
Miller Theatre at Columbia University
Transition Questions & Answers
Q: What skills and attributes did you use from your NEC education to enhance your transition to another career?
CL: "The most readily transferable skills I learned were the least specific: a commitment to excellence, self-direction, and willingness to take on unfamiliar challenges head first. The specific musical knowledge was certainly useful, for my job marketing and promoting concerts, and most especially because my NEC education inspired a certain trust with artistic leadership at the organization, and helps me to have a close, mutually respectful relationship with our music director."
Q: How and why did you make this transition? (e.g. returned to school, networking, career counseling/ financial stability, life style of performer, family reasons, etc.)
CL: "I started exploring the transition while still at NEC, through internships. It was primarily inspired by a desire to use my other skills, in addition to my musical ability. Certainly the lifestyle of a performing musician was a factor, but having grown up with a father who has been a working musician all his life, I knew that was possible. It was much more pro-active than reactive, in my case."
Q: What did you find most difficult in making this transition?
CL: "For me, it went very smoothly professionally. Personally, it took some time to adjust to the new reality of not having hours every day to devote to practicing music. Having to rediscover the place music would now have in my life was the primary growing pain, I think."
Q: What are the positive aspects of being in an alternative career?
CL: "There are many: being able to use not only my knowledge of and passion for music but also my ability in writing and communicating, my penchant for some degree of mathematical analysis of data in marketing, my curiosity for learning, fed by a whole new area of knowledge, and my love of working with teams to realize projects that really help increase the visibility of great music. And I think I actually go to more cultural events as an audience member now than I did when singing all day was my job!"
Q: Share one lesson or “tip” that you learned through this transition from a music career into another profession?
CL: "I used to always recoil at the word 'networking,' but developing, shall we say, a 'community' of people to whom you can go with questions and for advice is far and away the most important, and useful, thing. And it feels great to get to a point where you’re able to offer some degree of advice and expertise back to those who helped you."
Q: How do you balance your passion for music with your current vocation?
CL: "I get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to promote concerts and fill halls with audiences, including hopefully some people new to classical music. But certainly this is the magic question. At first, I avoided amateur music-making, but I now do enjoy going to rehearsal after a day of work. I am also a voracious listener, and go to several concerts a week, as well as volunteering on the board of Radius Ensemble and pitching in when I can with communications advice for friends’ musical enterprises."