Defining Success in 2015

We are delighted to welcome soprano Anne Wieben as a HELLO STAGE Blogger :) Anne will be sharing her thoughts about life as a musician, opera and much more!

Recently a fellow singer friend of mine posted this on Facebook: “Just finished a church gig and yet again someone asked me what my “real” job is. #livingthedream."

Sadly this type of comment, though well-intended, can strike anger and even doubt into a musician's mind. What we must not forget when faced such moments is that success is relative. A career in music is completely possible as long as we figure out our own criteria for success. We are lead to believe that a career in music is intricately tied to performances in the biggest, most glamorous venues, multi-record deals ala Lang Lang, your face plastered on billboards like Anna Netrebko, a lifetime contract with the London Philharmonic with the occasional solo gig. However, after our studies are completed and we enter into the “real” world, we find that those types of career are not the norm. What we also see, though, is that there are so very many working musicians; even those among us who are not soloing with the Vienna Philharmonic are still “making it”.

So what is it that makes one a “professional musician”?

Is it a bank account full money earned exclusively from performing? Is it a successful teaching studio? Is it two or three high profile projects a year stacked on top of teaching, gigging, and the occasional odd job? Is it a tenured chorus job with the Vienna State Opera? Is it an position in the first violin section of the Berlin Philharmonic? Is it teaching music to children in the morning and singing concerts in the evening? My answer to all of those questions is a resounding “Yes!”. Each of us must define success for ourselves and ourselves alone. It may be difficult for family and friends to understand that singing Le Nozze di Figaro at the Met is an absolute requirement for your personal success. For you, it can be as simple as paying your rent, a concert where you make new contacts, or those beautiful evenings of true, honest music-making.

In this New Year, I challenge you to take time to sit and create or redefine your personal definition of success. Let it be whatever it must be in order for you to keep your passion alive. Let it inspire you to practice longer, work harder, and grow as an artist. Let it challenge you to greater heights. Let it lead you down roads you’ve never seen or even imagined. Above all else, let it be yours.

Anne Wieben is a freelance operatic soprano, currently residing in Vienna, Austria. For more information, check out her HELLOSTAGE profile Anne Wieben or visit her website: www.annewieben.com!
Author: Anne Wieben / edited by Nina HELLO STAGE
Comments [2]
Bernhard Kerres - 2015-01-23 15:40
Thanks, Anne for these personal thoughts which put a new perspective on the meaning of success not only for musicians but for people in general.
Johannes Beck - 2015-01-24 20:06
Thank you for your article! You are so right! Many of us musicians are constantly waiting for the big success and for their "career" to start, including myself, but we don't see, that it is already happening in one way or another and we are in the very midst of it! Music is our life and there are many different ways to go!
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