Music for me is something that has
always been a part of my life.
Music is in my soul.
I can’t help but dance and sing along when music is playing. This doesn’t mean I’m good at singing… or dancing for that matter; I just do it because it feels good! I’m a pro at car karaoke and shower solos. I finally advanced from banging on piano keys and pots when I was younger, to beginning my training on viola in the third grade. Money was tight when I was younger, and I chose dance classes over piano lessons. Fortunately, my public school district had what I grew to learn one of the best music programs on the East coast of the United States. (I will forever stand by this, because our secondary school programs always swept the music competitions we attended!)
I started my training in the third grade, choosing viola over violin because I’ve always had a tendency to lean in the complete opposite direction of the popular choice. Though, at the time I completely favored singing over playing my instrument. Advancing into middle school, I dropped chorus when I was challenged to take my playing to the next level, and the viola began to bring me joy again. My teacher made it fun, and he supported each of us individually. When I reached the high school, I joined the chamber orchestra extracurricular program after school. I began playing and was immediately tugged to the empty chair in the front. This did something for my ego of course, but I finally had a reason to embrace my talent and strive to work towards being better and better. Maybe I actually had potential?! High school is where I put every other interest to the side so I could dive head first into my music training. Performing NYSSMA solos every year, picking up private music lessons (with my elementary school teacher, which I loved!) and adding music theory to my schedule. I incorporated music into every nook of my life that it could fit into, also adding playing in the pit orchestra (our school put together a different musical production each year), and even joining the sound and lights crew. Being well rounded was always something I supported. I believe that before you can work towards mastering a field, working to understand the ins and outs of all aspects of a trade is a wise move.
Finally being one of two people chosen from my school district to attend the NYSSMA conference in Rochester, NY during my senior year, I had something worthy on my resume to apply for music school! I’ll elaborate on my thoughts regarding choosing a field to focus on in college on another post, but at this point in my life music school was the only thing that made sense because it’s what I loved and was good at! Plus, I was a B average student, so I needed every strength I had to help me get accepted into college.
Attending SUNY Fredonia and the Fredonia
School of Music was probably one of the
best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
I chose this school because it was an affordable state school, but still had a very reputable music program. The rumors were true, and I had such a great experience whether it was within my viola studio, in the College Symphony Orchestra, in the pit orchestra, and even in my music courses. I was fully submerged in music, which was great, but on the flip side it’s all I lived and breathed and it became a chore rather than something I enjoyed doing.
The major I chose when I applied for college was Music Performance, rather than Music Education, because I feared the saturated ratio of teachers compared to available jobs. Each district needs at most ~5-10 string teachers depending on the size of the district, and many districts are not even budgeted for that. Many music programs were being cut between 2009-2015, and I feared a lack of job availability. I took the safe route and changed my major to Business Administration. Fortunately, I had built a relationship with our music department and they allowed me to still be involved in the larger performing groups.
After graduating with a Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Management, I was much more confident I could land any office job I went for. Initially having an interest in working up to be a manager at a smaller-than-corporate company (I didn’t like the idea of my skills getting lost in the mix), but over the years I began to settle for a typical four-wall desk job and play in a community orchestra, with the occasional paying wedding gig.
I decided this wasn’t enough, and I was not
where I pictured I would be in life at that time.
Putting thought into where I WANTED to be, I said to myself, “Sarah. Music is in your life for a reason… figure out why.” Also, I kept reminding myself that I should really incorporate my business savviness into the mix somehow. I had been playing wedding gigs (string quartets) with a friend from college (SUNY Fredonia) for a couple years via a DJ entertainment company as an add-on option. The light switch turned on when we got a schedule for the next year we had only been assigned 3 gigs- for the entire YEAR! I called her and I said… what’s stopping us from starting our own company? We’re the ones who with the instruments and the music. Let's promote ourselves, and get some gigs!!
This was the first time in my life I finally
felt like I was on the way towards finding my path.
My (new) business partner was and is just as organized and driven as I was, this dream was bound for success! Within two months we had chosen a name, created a logo, submit for a corporate license, and voila! Island Exclusive Entertainment, Inc. was born! We began expanding on our initial ideas, helping the company’s services grow even further. We’re still in the beginning stages of building our company, but the point is, if you have skills you should absolutely utilize them so they work with each other instead of against, and eventually something is bound to fall into place for you. I made my two strengths, music and business, work together to beautifully cultivate this brand new future.
Playing my instrument helped me connect deeper to music than simply listening to it on a track. My favorite is playing in an orchestra, or even hearing a group play a piece live in concert, because you become surrounded by the multi-dimensional sound. Music brings out the deepest emotions, and helps hold us in the present moment, even if just for a short while. Music and yoga are very therapeutic for me, and I am so grateful that I've been able to turn my passions into job opportunities.
Visit Island Exclusive Entertainment, Inc. for any of your live entertainment needs! We are Long Island's premier provider of live music for weddings and events. We have 20 years experience and a wide variety of musicians to ensure your event is one-of-a-kind! Options include string ensembles, soloists, pianists, singers, guitarists, full bands, percussion, as well as DJs, photo booths, lighting, and MORE!