As I hinted in my last blog post I have made some rather dramatic new decisions.
I have turned down my singing contracts for next year.
Wow, I have actually written it down, it is actually happening.
So what has prompted this decision? Well I don't need to tell you all that I have been struggling a lot with the constant going away, I moved my life here from London but kept my working life based in London which is a very hard, nigh on impossible thing to do (unless you have an income to afford such life-style). I felt that the time has come to put that right and let go of 'the South' altogether. Add to that the almost impossible cuts the arts are getting in the UK at the moment. We hear much about establishments losing arts funding, but what is rarely mentioned is the knock on effect these slashed figures has on people like me, let me tell you my income this year was only two thirds what it has been before and the proposal was to cut it in half again.
Sometimes it just isn't worth it.
Now, for those of you who are saying a horrified 'no don't give up singing' let me assure you that I will never give that up entirely, it is what I am, what I do, and I'm good at it, when all said and done. Let's just say I am diversifying.
Here are some of my plans.
I am writing to all the local choral societies. Plenty of choral societies have professional singers doing the solos in their concerts and it will keep me singing, but it will not require long, long rehearsal periods, in fact most of these just rehearse on the day and so can easily fit in with other things.
I have, in the past, been a competition adjudicator for music festivals, and on a word of mouth basis have yet again been booked for 2 more in 2014. I have the application forms to apply officially for a position as an official adjudicator. It will never give me a full income but there are many music festivals and once you on the list more will come my way and it is a great supplement for your income.
I have set up a recital duo with a friend of mine, another baritone. He will sing and I will play the piano. We have no bookings yet and we need to get our details to anywhere we can think of that puts on classical recitals. So if anyone knows of anywhere, let me know!!! Of course I am available for recitals, with me singing too.
Thirdly I am setting myself up as a singing teacher and piano teacher. I am very highly qualified to do this and have taught off and on for years (I had my first piano students when I was 15!)
So I have been working on my CV, which I will send to some sixth form colleges and universities that offer music lessons. I will also be teaching from home and have set up a new website which you can check out should you be interested :-)) on http://danielhowardmusicteacher.yolasite.com
I am also having some flyers printed that I will send to local choral societies and Churches advertising as a singing teacher. There are lots of people who sing in amateur choirs and some may want singing lessons. When all said and done I am good at this stuff and have rather hidden my light under a bushel and I only need a few pupils to keep my head above water.
It is a daunting prospect and after Thursday I will officially be self-employed with an empty diary and we all know what that means - no income. But I have been preparing for this (some may say that frugal living has been preparing me for this for years) and I can probably survive (on little) until May if nothing comes my way from all these plans.
So wish me luck. I have to go to London for the last time at the end of this week, for my final performance there.