Astrid Baumgardner – Photo Adrian Kinloch

5 questions to Astrid Baumgardner (lawyer, professional certified career coach)

Some realizations about one’s true calling can happen late. How do you help people who don’t see themselves fit for a career in music after graduating?

The first thing that I do is to validate anyone who feels that he or she is not cut out to be a musician. If he or she genuinely believes that this is not the right career fit, I help them to see that they have other alternatives and that they should honor their feeling to pursue something else. That said, this feeling sometime arises because of a narrow view of what a musician should do. I engage in a dialogue with such people to make them aware of the many different ways that musicians can create success outside of the traditional jobs like orchestra and tenured teaching. I also have them look at the many skills that they have developed as musicians, including:

  • Passion
  • Excellence
  • Focus
  • Discipline
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Planning/Event Planning
  • Promotion
  • Customer Service
  • Communication Skills
  • Recording and Video Skills
  • Booking Tours

I remind them that as musicians, they are following a passion and that a passion can fuel success. Accordingly, we explore what other ways that individual can use his or her passion in a career.

And finally, I have them discover their values and their strengths. This involves taking some assessments, including the excellent StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment which identifies your 5 top strengths and provides tools for how to develop and work with your strengths.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job at Yale?

The reason I love teaching career entrepreneurship is that it involves a series of skills that can be taught. I am able to help our students change their mindset and attitude so that they can embrace growth and opportunity. I also teach them how to increase their emotional intelligence, since I subscribe to the notion that people who are high in emotional intelligence have a better chance of being successful. In addition, they can learn the skills of the music entrepreneur, ranging from planning (career planning, financial planning, project planning), branding, networking, marketing and public speaking.

It is a joy for me to see students learn these skills and apply them to their careers. I see for myself how much more confident they are when they can embrace a more positive mindset, honor their values and play to their strengths. I also am thrilled when they explore new areas and discover new things about themselves. I feel very fortunate to be in touch with many of my former students, who regularly email me to tell me how much they learned and how much more confident and successful they feel.

In my class, the students have to undertake a semester-long project in order to practice the entrepreneurial skills that we learn in class. At the end of the semester, the students make an in-class presentation about their projects. I am consistently amazed at how much they learn over the course of the semester. In addition, many of the students continue their projects after the semester and even after they graduate. I love receiving emails from former students who tell me about their projects.

Last, being at Yale is personally rewarding for me because I am surrounded by brilliant and talented students and colleagues both within the School of Music and in other schools around the university, who feed my creativity. Because I am such an avid learner, I take advantage of lectures and meetings with people outside my field and I feel so lucky to be able to continue my own growth and learning.

What will your first post for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN be about?

Flow and the Mindset of Success. Success starts with having the right mindset so this is where I propose to begin!