Matt Vashlishan, Musician
Education Update has launched a new section called Careers to provide insight and guidance to recent college graduates. Several graduates share their responses to the questions below.
1. Can you share both your professional and personal struggles and triumphs? What are you currently doing?
I am currently working aboard the Crystal Serenity cruise ship as a woodwind musician. This consists of playing alto sax, tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, and clarinet for a variety of guest entertainers and production (Broadway-style) shows seven days a week.
2. Which college did you attend, and what was your major?
Undergraduate — Eastman School of Music; Masters — William Patterson University; Doctorate (DMA) — University of Miami
3. What year did you graduate?
Undergrad 2005, Masters 2008, DMA 2010
4. What do you think your career goals will be five years from now
To be grounded in or near a major city and become a functional independent artist in several different areas of my expertise (saxophone/woodwind performance). This involves not only performing but teaching (clinics, workshops, conferences and private students), music engraving, computer music, or anything that deals with music that I can do well.
5. How did your major, if at all, determine the course of your current career?
It had everything to do with it, because without the training or the influence of that training, I wouldn’t be equipped or even knowledgeable of the possibilities in performance.
6. Was the career guidance office at your college helpful in your job search?
A little, however music tends to drift off the beaten path of job placement for a number of reasons.
7. Did you have internships, and were they helpful?
8. Were there mentors who helped you achieve your goals?
There were a few, however I feel I was much more fortunate to have mentors before and after going to school from my home town that have always helped me and encouraged me to achieve my goals.
9. How did the economic situation in the country influence your career decisions?
Luckily the economy hardly affected my decisions because there was always money available from private institutions that funded my graduate work through a graduate assistantship program.
10. What motivated you to pick your current career?
Starting music at a relatively early age, I feel that there was something I saw or felt in playing music that I didn’t get anywhere else. Something about working on an instrument, practicing, seeing results and then sharing them with a larger group of people was very appealing to me. Also, I found that musicians are a certain type of people with certain personalities. I was drawn to musicians even in junior high school instead of the people who played sports. Since music is available in higher education, I felt it was a very obvious and tangible option to pursue, and everything began to fall into place after I made that decision. The more time I spent with music, the more rewarding it became, and I feel that’s a very large part of what keeps me going and optimistic about the future. #