Career counselling. Musically talented children wishing to study music seriously usually receive counselling from their music teachers, both private and school. There are no sufficiently valid musical aptitude tests, despite widespread efforts to develop them, and few are used consistently in Canada. Written evaluations and comments by conservatory examiners and festival adjudicators are often an important factor to help influence children - and their parents - in choosing music as a vocation.
Professional music schools in Canada (universities, conservatories, and community colleges) offer couses in classical, popular, and jazz performance; theory and composition; musicology; and music education. Students can elect these courses by passing entrance examinations. However little is done to inform them of the supply and demand for specialists in these subjects in the musical and educational marketplace.
Few schools prepare students for fields such as popular music arranging; music publishing; musical instrument manufacture; radio, record, television, and film production, direction and engineering; music criticism; music therapy; music librarianship; archival and museum curating; concert managing; and musical publicity, marketing and musical media work, none of which require concert-calibre performance skills, although courses in some of these areas are available at some of thecommunity colleges. Music students are often ill-prepared to seek out these alternative careers, despite the growing number of positions in these fields. Rather, they enter traditional careers, eg, teach in a school or a private studio, play in an orchestra, sing in an opera company, play and conduct in a church, or teach in post-secondary schools. Music graduates in general tend to lack the awareness and flexibility necessary in a highly competetive musical marketplace.
On occasion courses have been given in Canada to young classical professional performing musicians to develop communication skills, musical and non-musical, in order to help them to be more employable and to build new audiences (eg, in the Music Performance and Communcation program held 1987-90 at the University of Toronto). Such courses have included workshops in improvisation, special programming, stagecraft, acting, movement, speech, neurolinguistics, and music therapy, and seminars in contracting, publicity and other aspects of business and music. Practical texts have also been published to aid musicians to prepare for auditions for orchestra posts and, once attained, to keep them.
The supply of traditionally-trained musicians has continued to increase while the demand for them has decreased. Music educators have given insufficient attention to the growing influence of technology and the outlets it provides in a changing and complex musical world. In order to rectify this situation appropriate career counselling should be more readily available to music students.