This question is not about a vocation to the religious life, but rather about a secular career. I am 26 and work a clerical job for a Catholic organization in addition to being a professional classical musician. From the age of 8 the violin was my passion, and I was quite precocious at it. But when I went to college (a Catholic university) I majored in theology, while also keeping up with my music. After college, I took some graduate work in music performance at a music conservatory but did not complete a degree. After almost three years of searching for a steady job (I graduated just as the jobs crisis hit),
I found my present job. I also, after college, found myself getting excellent freelance music work, so that I now perform with one of the most prestigious musical ensembles in my metropolitan area. Moreover I formed a chamber music group with some fellow students, and we are starting to make a name for ourselves. When even many graduates of music conservatories don’t perform music for a living, I am as surprised as anyone with my success in this field.
I like to think of my life as bifurcated into two areas of interest, one musical and the other theological. I never wanted to make my living solely through music (nor am I sure that one can, outside of teaching, which doesn’t interest me). The musical side of my life is secure: I am getting good work and improving my skills. As to the other side, I am not satisfied with my current entry-level job and am looking to find a more intellectually stimulating job in the Catholic world. I want to contribute in some way to the intellectual side of the Church. Still, I’m wondering if I should someday earn a graduate music degree or diploma, if I can afford it. I guess my main question is, should one earn a degree for no other reason that to say that one has it? I don’t technically need a music degree, and yet it still bugs me that I don’t have one when 95% of my colleagues do.