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.
Stephen Borg '75
Acorn Technical Services
Transition Questions & Responses
Q: What skills and attributes did you use from your NEC education to enhance your transition to another career?
SB: "I have, over the years, observed significant parallels between musical structure and thematic development in a musical work, and the structure and working out of a mechanical design. Also, being an inherently creative person makes me a natural as an 'idea man,' as someone who routinely thinks 'outside the box.'"
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.)
SB: "I perceived myself as having reached something of a glass ceiling as a performer. Various limitations in the mechanics of my playing ability appeared to be limiting factors that would keep me from performing at the level that I wanted, and I didn’t want to make a life of performance at the levels that I saw would be available to me."
Q: What did you find most difficult in making this transition?
SB: "In my case, the transition was not difficult, manifesting as something of a natural outgrowth of other activities. If there was any difficulty, it was that of simply 'finding my shoes.' Ironically, I have ended up in an occupation which, at the time I was at the Conservatory, I would have considered as the one field that I absolutely would not have seen myself in. Now that I am in this field, I almost feel that it was what I was put on this planet to do."
Q: What are the positive aspects of being in an alternative career?
SB: "The so-called alternative career of which you speak is actually another element of total self-realization. In retrospect, it was a good thing that I was focused solely on music at the time that I was at the Conservatory, in that I would not have pursued those studies with the rigor I did, had I been focused on engineering at that time. This would have resulted in a regrettable lack in my overall background."
Q: Share one lesson or “tip” that you learned through this transition from a music career into another profession?
SB: "Maintaining the attitude that your conservatory training does not comprise the completion of your overall education, but is rather just one episode of it. In my case, musical pursuits were a part of what led me ultimately to my current profession. One must be willing to explore possibilities and be open to where life leads one. Finding an alternative career will inevitably involve some time outside of the practice room."
Q: How do you balance your passion for music with your current vocation?
SB: "My passion for music and my musical interests have gone in the direction of music theory, over time, more than performance. I have become something of an 'armchair musician' over time. It is not difficult to find time to study musical scores, in balance with a professional and work schedule."