February 17, 2021

In the classroom, on the stage or behind the scenes, music degrees have opened doors to a range of possibilities for recent graduates. Each of the five music alumni who appeared as panelists for the Break Through panel, The Possibilities of a Music Degree, pursued their music careers in very different ways.

Jake Stamatis ’13 described his post-graduate career path as coming in waves, eventually leading him to become a resident artist at Opera Memphis.

“I never thought I’d end up in Memphis, Tennessee, but you just ride the waves,” he said.

Lauren Flynn ’14 graduated with her degree in music and a concentration in piano having no intention of performing. “I didn’t have this clear idea heading out or at any step along the way, I just took one step at a time,” Flynn said.

After several years as a program coordinator at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Flynn joined the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., in a similar role. At the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts program, Flynn manages professional development programming for teachers.

Tim Accurso ’13 always knew he wanted a career in music. After earning his SU degree in vocal and piano performance, Accurso received his master’s degree in vocal coaching and accompanying from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. What followed were various stints with opera companies all over the country. He credits Susquehanna with supplying the strong foundation he needed. At SU, Accurso supplemented his music requirements with courses in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

After earning his degree in music performance, Parker Adel ’15 eventually joined Creator Marketplace at Spotify as a sales insights analyst.

“My story is kind of interesting because I was a performance major, but I branched out to the busines side of things,” Adel said. “At Spotify, I work on a side focused on artists and building tools for artists to promote themselves on our platform.”

Though he no longer performs, he said the skills he gained as a music major at Susquehanna have served him in his career.

“I strove to be the best performer I could be, so although I’m no longer in performance, I think that dedication and drive to succeed has translated into industries that aren’t music,” he said. “I might not be the best, but I know I can work just as hard as anyone.”

Their tips for Susquehanna’s undergraduate music students:

Take advantage of performance and teaching opportunities, said Annie Luebke ’14 Mills, now a choral music teacher at Stone Hill Middle School, Virginia. “What was really valuable about Susquehanna was the opportunity to teach from a pretty early point in my time there,” she said. “I was able to develop my personal musician skills as well as my teaching skills.”

Make the most of your summers off. “I was fortunate that I was able to afford a low-paying internship after graduation, but I wish I had interned or volunteered over the summer instead of working at the snack bar. I could have also helped my local symphony.”