ask jenny > Career possible for an introvert? No stage fright but shy in-person?

Hey Jenny,

I'm a college sophomore right now, I did music in high school, and now sing in the university choir and this semester I'm actually in the B cast as Giannetta in Elixir of Love. Performing is super fun and emotionally fulfilling, and I think that this is something that I could be happy doing for the rest of my life. The only thing is that I'm a super shy person when it comes talking to people who I don't know well. If I were to go after a career, performing itself wouldn't be a problem (I can manage my stage fright pretty well), but the before and after parts are what get me worried. Whether it's small-talk/socializing with the castmates you just met, asking for directions, or whatever I get super nervous. Reading your blog, it seems like an aspiring opera singer needs to be pretty independent and open to new people and situations.
Any hope for an introvert, or should I change my major to something more practical while I still can?

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

So, I'm not Jennifer, but I love her singing and her blog a lot and she just had a baby, and I happened to see this... I'm an aspiring opera singer too and get where you're coming from. Don't change your major if you are passionate about singing and performing is the only career that could make you happy (that's what my opera singer cousin tells me ;). Also, you should seriously consider reading Renee Fleming's book "The Inner Voice." Fleming actually struggled with the exact thing you are talking about, but she got through it. You can too! :)

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElaine L

Hi there, Sarah!

Practical majors will not make you happy! Life is different nowadays and most people have several jobs/professions. Go for what makes you happy and if you like you can change later. Singing is where your heart is, follow that direction, practical aspects will make themselves heard and you can deal with them later.

I agree with Elaine L, if Renee Flemming could overcome her shyness, you can too! :-)

Much luck,
Stella Scott

May 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella Scott

I'm really glad you guys are reaching out to each other and offering each other help! It's true, I've been very busy with the baby and performing, but I'm finally getting around to answering some of these questions now.

I would say this - if you are having doubts about it, you should probably consider every aspect of the situation. A shy person or introvert can certainly be a performer if they can set their shyness aside - plus the performing is likely to make you come out of your shell in other aspects of your life. However, doing this as a career can be very difficult, and one of the only ways that sometimes makes it easier is finding close relationships immediately with the people you are working with. Otherwise it can get really lonely! And you are right to wonder whether all the travel and inconsistency in your lifestyle is something you want to deal with. I don't think you need to change your major just because you are shy, but I do think that not enough young student singers think about what lies ahead for them in terms of how their life will actually look, so I'm glad you are considering that now. But the thing to keep in mind is that people major in all sorts of things in college and go on to have many different careers. It sounds to me like you have a good head on your shoulders, and so I think whatever you major in, you will find the right path for yourself. All the best to you!

June 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterJenny