Music Major’s Job Offer – What Would You Do?

This music major’s job offer created a dilemma for him. What would you do if you were offered a job in your field before you finished your degree?

That’s exactly the challenge that faced Anthony McCain, voice performance major, now in his sophomore year at Oberlin Conservatory Of Music. Remember him? He was the gutsy, talented freshman who wrote Building a Music Career… One Cookie at a Time, about how he funded the one crucial part of his education not covered by scholarships.

Seems McCain’s YouTube videos may have caught the eye of a five-star cruise line. Shortly before school started, a recruiter offered him a contract that would cover travel to places like Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean, with all expenses paid plus a salary. McCain’s job? Perform nightly.

The too-good-to-be-true offer proved to be daunting for McCain. As a student on full scholarship who worked so hard just to physically get to his school 2,200 miles from his home in Washington state, the decision was a tough one. As he says, “I didn’t want to make any decision that I might regret…I really gave it a whole lot of thought. I gathered my own thoughts and weighed the options, the pros, the cons.”

McCain then sought the assistance of his voice teacher at Oberlin as well as others. Their opinions coincided with his. “Everyone I asked –– teachers, coaches, etc. –– agreed that I should stick with school for now. If I had accepted this contract, I might have a job, an income, and performance time, but I wouldn’t be at my best. Each year I improve so much that it would be silly to stop now. I want to give my best and be my best.  I’m perfecting my craft, which is more important to me right now.”

Wisely, McCain declined the cruise line offer with the caveat that, once he graduates, he may be interested. He’ll also talk with the recruiter about the possibility of a summer gig.

McCain’s advice to any student facing a similar dilemma? “Sleep on it first! There shouldn’t ever be a rush because that’s when you might make decisions you later regret. After you sleep on it, then take some time to think about it, its possibilities and effects on your future versus where you are right now in your life. Once you have your own opinion, ask teachers, mentors and those who have your best interest at heart for advice.”


  1. AZMbaritone

    Thank you So much, everyone for your comments and support/advice. I really appreciate it and there’s no better feeling than getting reassurance that I made the right decision!

    I plan to continue my education at Oberlin for now and I will work hard and keep you all posted with any exciting news. ~Anthony McCain

  2. agatha

    oh my!!! what an amazing story and voice!! it does my heart good nowadays to know that there are still young people out there who set high goals and do what they can to acheive them. great job anthony you definitly made the right choice and i see wonderful things in your future!!!!!!

  3. Nancy

    We all agree you made the right choice, Anthony. Your voice and your technique grew so much in your first year at Oberlin…we know there is much more to come. You will have many exciting opportunities when you are ready for them!

  4. Mom & Dad

    Son! We are sooooo very proud of you. To see all of your hard work paying off for you already. Very impressed with the story as well as your wise insights for your student peers. Keep doing what you do best. Love u so much!!!
    Congratulations Son!
    Mom & Dad

  5. Viva

    That is a wonderful opportunity, but staying in school is the best choice! You will go far with this kind of guidance from your teachers! I can’t wait to see your career launch off! Good Luck!

  6. I do not think the teachers were speaking on behalf of the student’s best interest. With dwindling job prospects, for even Juilliard graduates, his teachers should have encouraged him to accept the job offer. There are other options for continuing ones education. (online programs, distance-learning, etc.)

  7. Dave

    Wow, still. Having an opportunity like that. This guy is very valuable at such a young age! Im excited to see his career bloom. Best of luck Anthony!

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