So many of us remember how as children we trooped off to dance classes or piano lessons and spent many joyous hours appearing in school or community theatre productions. But, never got paid a dime for our efforts. It was strictly a wonderful hobby if we were lucky enough to have parents who supported us.

So, after graduating from high school/college it’s time to actually make a Living. Was all of that time and money worth learning how to sing, act or dance? It depends. College students pursuing a degree in the performing arts really have to be creative in forging their own paths to full time employment in the industry. It is one of the hardest careers to break into, but it can certainly be done if being a celebrity is not the end goal. Voice over work, teaching, church gigs, independent film work, regional theatre, cruise line entertainment, theme parks, commercial work in television, wedding entertainment, nightclubs are all terrific gigs that often lead to additional opportunities.

But what about those who decide on different priorities for their lives?  Having a family and a reliable income are certainly necessities too.  Every single student of the arts will always be knowledgeable patrons and thus gain increased enjoyment seeing films, television, live theatre, concerts and dance productions. As a hobby, the arts will likely stay with them and be a life-long passion. Most importantly, the skills developed from learning to perform will carry over into successful careers in marketing, journalism, sales, the legal community, communications, management skills, and self promotion.  Shy personalities will have discovered the confidence to speak in front of a group, express themselves and not fear social situations. Being able to be a strong leader or a comfortable team player makes for great success in the corporate world–or in any line of work! Promotions and pay raises will become easier as a result.  Not a bad outcome from an early investment in learning how to perform on the stage!

–Lee