After 23 years in the ballet industry, our guest today, Michael Scolamiero, offers a plethora of advice for those who are looking to enter the Arts Industry.
Currently, Michael is the Executive Director of Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to this appointment, he served as Executive Director of The Miami City Ballet for 3 years, and The Pennsylvania Ballet for 17 years.
While growing up, Michael excelled at all things musical. During high school he was active in the orchestra, the choir, the drama department, as well as taking private vocal and instrumental lessons. It was a natural progression for him to major in music at Lebanon Valley University. Upon graduation he was qualified to teach music at the K-12 level, but his desire was to become a conductor, which is a fiercely competitive field. He then attended Penn State University, which is one of the few schools to offer a Masters Degree in instrumental conducting. It was at Penn State that he was introduced to Arts Administration.
Here’s a few of the things that Michael found helpful:
- Keep an open mind.
- Be willing to do anything. Remember nothing is beneath you.
- Be willing to volunteer. My first position after my Penn State graduation was volunteering for a small production company in New Jersey. Between stuffing envelopes and setting up music stands, I learned invaluable practical skills such as grant writing and fund raising.
- Develop strong contacts.
- Remember that everything may not happen in sequence. Because things do not happen in the order that you want them to happen does not mean that they are not going to happen.
- Be flexible and clear on what you want to do.
- Always take something you learned from your last position to your new position.
The best piece of advice that Michael shared was not to short cut the process. Your personal brand is at stake. He has worked hard to ensure that he has left favorable impressions with everyone that he has worked with. Because of his hard work and dedication to his craft, he can honestly say, that he looks forward to going to work every day.