ask jenny > Thoughts on age and starting a career?

Jenny, I just adore your blog; what fun it is to read about your adventures! You have such a nice combination of humor and seriousness.

If you don't mind, I wanted to ask you a question about career. I'd love any thoughts you have, whether encouraging or discouraging!

Here goes: How late is too late to start seriously pursuing a classical singing career? I'm 31, and I desperately want to sing, but I know it's a really competitive field, and I'm afraid I won't ever be able to catch up to the kids who started pursuing it straight out of high school.

It's not that I'm a total novice; I've been singing in serious choirs since I was seven, and took voice lessons through both high school and college. I've done early music and contemporary, am a good sight-reader, and have twelve years of piano lessons under my belt, as well as enough music history and theory classes that I could have minored in music if my university hadn't had strict rules about only allowing one minor (I chose political science at the time). And I've felt encouraged by the fact that I've received some very positive feedback from the director of the two high-quality NYC choirs I'm in, and my current voice teacher (a serious professional who had a solid career) has said he thinks I have what it takes.

But it's only in the past year that I've even been willing to admit to myself how much I want to sing. I really, really do: I want it more than anything! But at the same time it's so daunting; I've done enough research to know the field's really competitive, and when I see blog after blog documenting singers who've done Masters programs and succeeded in YAPs I feel sure I'll never catch up, and I get daunted.

I know there are stories out there about singers who started late (Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, right?) and I try to encourage myself that way. And I know what I'd say if a friend came to me in this situation: "Work hard," I'd say. "If you want it that badly, you'll love what happens. Even if you never achieve professional success" (I'd say, to my hypothetical friend) "you'll have great adventures and you'll never have to regret not pursuing your dream." But I think this is one of those situations where it's easier to give advice than to take it! I think hearing from someone else might be good for me, so do you have any thoughts on this question?

Many, many thanks!

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM.

I am also interested in the answer to this question. I'll be 30 in August and after about 10 years of soul seaching, I am now pursuing my Bachelor's in Music. I think that you are never too old to start and as you said, if you want it badly enough you will love what happens. I hope all that it true. Good Luck!

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAyrice

Yes, I second this. I was advanced in my studies. Developed an unknown illness, became disillusioned with opera after an exceptionally abusive teacher, had children, now am back studying at an advanced level. I'm 32, but I still model and i recently played an opera singer in a Chinese film that will travel festivals across the world. Your article on huffington post about being a mother brought me to tears and to your blog. My children are highly musical and they sing my rep with me as I practice. Singing opera is what drives my soul.

May 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEngelStimme