From Hearing the Blues to Singing the High Notes

The decision was not an easy one.
My career as a credit and collections professional had been long and eventful. I got to see the world, meet people from all walks of life, and learn about different cultures and ways of thinking.
And I heard literally every excuse imaginable for not paying one’s bills. Every. Excuse. Imaginable.
The profession, however, is a dying one. Models and projections are taking the place of intuition and experience. I finally determined this portion of my life was at an end — time to take another path.
I had always been a musician. From the earliest days of elementary school, music has been part of my life. While my wallet was in the business world, my heart was in music.
After college, I began studying voice privately with two incredible musicians who facilitated my “avocation” into something a bit more lucrative. I became a chorister, active with several major opera companies and a church musician. Eventually, I opened a studio of my own. I never had more than a few students at any one time, but I always enjoyed it.
Over the last few years, I began to experience some changes that take place in an aging voice. Due to fortuitous proximity to the University of North Texas (UNT), a prominent music school, I have interacted with many high-level voice students and faculty.
It occurred to me that, while we spend considerable energy training the young voice for a career in vocal music, we virtually ignore the voice at the other end of that career. The changes to the voice that occur later in life are as difficult to traverse as those at the beginning of adulthood.
I decided to shift gears in my professional career. I was done with credit and collections.
From now on, I would combine my interest and talent. I would help older adults continue to sing. I would make music — and help others make music, too.
With a new goal in mind, I worked up a game plan.
Step one: RETIRE!
Step two: Gain the education necessary to learn what I needed to teach this specialized student body. I am now in the master’s program at UNT.
Step three: Understand how this change affects my finances and family. I am not quite 64, so health insurance and some form of income are significant considerations.
My wife and I ran the numbers and consulted with our financial planner. We determined all this was doable!
The last several months have provided enough change to make one’s head spin. But the result is that I set foot on a new path, one I’ve sometimes trodden but only now have fully committed to.
With all the pieces in place, I am ready to launch into Career 2.0!

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