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.
Jill Silverstein '81 M.M.
National Industry Learning Director
Deloitte Services LP
Transition Questions & Responses
Q: What skills and attributes did you use from your NEC education to enhance your transition to another career?
JS: "Presenting myself in public (ability to handle public speaking, group facilitation, meeting management).
Managing 'performance anxiety.'
Collaboration – collective activities in organizations require the same kinds of listening, testing, trial-and-error, and interdependence skills as being part of a performance group."
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.)
JS: "I worked in HR at a retailer during my Master's program and that experience was a steppingstone into corporate work and environments in which I now work. Teaching at the university level (what I thought I wanted to do) required a terminal degree. I was not ready/interested in pursuing that at the time and did not have ambition to be a performer because of the lifestyle and financial limitations."
Q: What did you find most difficult in making this transition?
JS: "The fact that I had spent 6 years of college/conservatory on something that would not be my vocation. I wished I had gotten better counsel and guidance during both my undergraduate and graduate studies about career planning and management."
Q: What are the positive aspects of being in an alternative career?
JS: "Opportunity to be 'creative' in corporate contexts; working with a rich array of professionals with varied backgrounds and experiences.
Meaningful compensation and benefits.
Stability week-to-week/year-to-year (in spite of having been laid off a couple of time over the past 25 years).
Having been able to go back to school twice on my employers’ tuition program(s)."
Q: Share one lesson or “tip” that you learned through this transition from a music career into another profession?
JS: "Being able to examine the skills and experiences from my undergraduate/graduate studies and find how they translate in the objective skills required in a corporate setting (e.g. performance skills and experiences provided me with strong public presence/speaking skills required in all types of corporate roles; being able to tap into one’s creative reservoir has equal benefit in the performing arts as well as in the workplace, especially when it comes to creative problem solving and working with clients to come up with alternatives and solutions to business challenges)."
Q: How do you balance your passion for music with your current vocation?
JS: "I spent 12 years as the Music Director for a Unitarian Church (before going back to school in 1995). I also serve on the Board of Trustees for Opera Boston."