We had the good fortune of connecting with Caitlin Moore and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caitlin, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Often in business, academia, and music, “hustle” at the expense of all else is glorified. As academics and private business owners, we feel the pressure to answer emails all hours of the day. In music, there’s this mentality that you must give everything else up for the good of your craft. In all of these roles, we may feel the need to constantly improve. And of course, this can be a good thing! But not at the expense of living life.
When I became active as a private online voice teacher and performer on social media during the pandemic, one of the “content pillars” for my Instagram account was #singersnotsinging where I encouraged singers to think of themselves as more than singers and celebrate all the facets of their lives whether enjoying a hobby, raising a family, or working another job. I think it’s important that we see ourselves as more than our careers.
I haven’t always been good at work life balance. I am a typical overachiever and loved to bring my work home with me. I felt guilty if I wasn’t constantly working. But, marrying my partner was one of the best anecdotes for this. He encouraged me to set working hours and when I was off, to really be off. I was amazed that I got the same amount or more done when I set these boundaries, not to mention my quality of life skyrocketed. When I went back to school for my doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado, I consciously made the choice to guard my time. Because of this choice, when we moved to Colorado, we got to hike, ski, camp, and trail run together on the weekends and I felt energized when I came back to my work. I just completed my first year in a full-time academic position at Colorado Mesa University and have tried to live by this same philosophy. I don’t always do it perfectly, but I think it’s an area I have grown in thanks to some accountability.
One of my mentors, Michelle Markwart Deveaux, says, it’s not about balance, it’s about priorities. I think this is an excellent way to look at it. Determining priorities helps us say no when we need to say no and yes when we need to say yes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a professional singer and a voice teacher. Currently, I sing mostly classical and operatic music throughout the region and teach voice at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. I also run a private online voice studio that was created during the pandemic and continues to thrive. If you’re into personality tests, I’m an ESTJ, 1w9, Libra. I enjoy hiking, camping, running, snow skiing, puzzles, and making meals for friends. My personal goal is to be compassionate, curious, and present. My career goal is to be a knowledgeable, effective, evidence-based voice teacher and performer who brings hope to the world by helping others connect with themselves and reach their potential. I am excited by the community and connection that music fosters. I live with my husband, John, and our cat, Lettuce, in Grand Junction, CO.
I grew up singing in school and church, but it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I discovered classical music. I entered a classical voice competition mostly as a joke because I could do a really good opera impression according to my friends. I decided to enroll in a few voice lessons beforehand and quickly fell in love with studying voice. I loved that it involved the kinesthetic act of singing along with languages, poetry, and music theory. I felt like singing in this way lit up my whole brain. I ended up winning the competition (it must have been a fluke) and decided that pursuing music in college might not be such a bad idea after all. I attended Lee University for my bachelors where I realized I also wanted to teach. I attended McGill University for my masters, took a break to cut my teeth performing and teaching, and am currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Northern Colorado studying voice and pedagogy.
Being a musician comes with its challenges, and I try to be open and honest about these so that others know they’re not alone. I have been fortunate to have an incredible support system in my family, so in that respect, I am lucky. However, the year after my masters (my first time out of school), came with extreme identity crisis. I remember dreading the inevitable question at parties, “so, what do you do?” I had just spent a glorious two years in Montreal earning a masters degree in opera performance surrounded by music, colleagues, and mentors. After I graduated, I was dismayed to learn I wasn’t automatically a sought-after opera singer. Instead, I moved back in with my parents in Chattanooga, TN, worked at Ann Taylor Loft, and continued auditioning. Thankfully, during this time, I also started teaching voice and again confirmed that I wanted teaching to be part of my life. However, compared to others, I felt “behind.” I’ve heard over and over again that comparison is the thief of joy, and perhaps one day I’ll listen. Eventually, I started speaking about this to others and realized I wasn’t alone. Many people my age felt behind. If we all shared this suspicion, what were we comparing ourselves to? An imaginary ideal. What a freeing realization. As I’ve continued my career, I’ve worked to remember that we’re all struggling with these internal battles, and we’re all here to run our own race, not anyone else’s. I’ve found that if I’m vulnerable about these things with others, it’s more often than not followed with “you too?,” and it opens a door for us to support and encourage each other. I’ve also found it’s extremely helpful in fostering a sense of community rather than competitiveness in my industry. Most recently, following the pandemic, my internal battle was performance anxiety that made me feel broken in my career. With professional support and others around me, I was eventually able to heal. When I was comfortable enough to share about my struggles, I was amazed at how many performers, especially post-pandemic, felt the same way. Many comments sounded like, “YOU struggle with that? I had no idea! Me too!” I am surprisingly thankful for the experience because it has helped me practice self-compassion, compassion toward others, and given me tools to help my voice students through similar challenges.
I am proud of where I am. I still have days where I’m tempted to compare my journey to others’, but one practice that’s helped me is thinking through the eyes of past Caitlin. If past Caitlin saw my life now, she would be elated. I’m a voice teacher working at a university in gorgeous Colorado who gets to spend my weekends either performing or outdoors with a wonderful partner. May we all take a step back and recognize the everyday beauty of our own paths.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a fun question since we’ve only lived in Grand Junction for a year! Here are some highlights so far: -Hike: Rattlesnake Arches
-Drive: Colorado National Monument
-Weeknight run: Pollack Bench
-Brews and pub food: Handlebar Tap House
-Fancy meal: 262 on Rood
-Best weekend we’ve had so far: Driving Kebler Pass followed by an epic night of karaoke at Big B’s Delicious Orchards in Hotchkiss
-Thing we still need to do: bike tour of Palisade wineries
-Thing everyone else does that we don’t do yet: mountain bike
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate this Shoutout to my husband, John. Not only is living with him a ceaseless adventure, he’s taught me what it means to sacrifice for the sake of others, to never stop wondering, and to have a little fun every once in a while!