Chris Van Hof lent me a copy of the book "Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music" by Angela Myles Beeching. Violinist Philip Ying calls it “the ultimate Swiss army knife for the young musician,” and the more I pour over it, the more I think it contains a lot of good advice for anyone working in a creative field.
Beeching oversees the career center at New England Conservatory of Music, and in this volume she summarizes the counsel she offers aspiring musicians, including tips on practical matters such as web-site design, managing money, and using social networking tools. As a professional church musician, I found this tip helpful; “Avoid playing more than twenty-five minutes without a five- minute break.” (Okay, I can do this if that five minute break includes chocolate!) Beeching also extends this advice to any physical activity: gardening, typing, sports, etc. Take breaks, she urges. She recommends daily exercise, soaking in the beauty of nature, and carving out time for non-musical activities.
Here’s some general advice she gives career counselors working with musicians: “Look for the light in the eyes.” Your eyes reflect your true passions.
Finally, this gem. Israeli composer Lio Navok’s compares the artist’s creative internal fire to a small, gold box. “It’s something absolutely personal and irreplaceable in each of us that we need to safeguard,” he says. I have a gold box. You have one, too. Hold it close.