Posts tagged entrepreneurship
Does Music Matter? A 60-second lecture at the New School

Does Music Matter?

Around age 14, I decided wanted to be a professional musician. My mother warned me it wasn’t a stable path. To some extent, Mom, you were right. (There. I said it.) Since I graduated from Juilliard in 1992, the music profession has suffered debilitating changes.

These days, we blame two familiar culprits – technology, and the economy – but to me, it’s really the same old story: telling us that music belongs at the margins. That music doesn’t really matter, at least not as much as the stock market does.

 I teach entrepreneurship classes at Mannes, and in these classes we challenge this story. I argue that we need new language to talk about what music is and what music does in the world.

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Letter to my students: Kevin Spacey says "There is no prize out there" and other thoughts on finding work and finding your path.

Hi All,

Apropos of class discussions at Mannes and NEC this past week, here's a clip of actor Kevin Spacey giving advice to a younger actor on Inside the Actors Studio in 2000:

"There is no prize out there. The only prize is this one [points to self], and what you feel, and what you want to accomplish... I mean, to want and to be ambitious, and to want to be successful is not enough. That's just desire. To know what you want; to understand why you're doing it; to dedicate every breath in your body, to achieve... If you feel you have something to give, if you feel your particular talent is worth developing, is worth caring for, then there's nothing you can't achieve. You're going to grow up with your colleagues. You're going to watch them have success and watch them have failure, and you're going to watch how they deal with it. And they can be as much a teacher for you as anyone here, or anyone who's privileged enough to come here and speak to you."

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Music and Entrepreneurship at the IASJ Meeting in Graz

Last week I was in Graz, Austria to present at the 2012 meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz. Both presentations concerned the future of the professional musician — from the standpoint of schools preparing musicians for professional careers, and from the standpoint of young musicians seeking to build the foundations for sustainable musical careers.

In these talks, I drew heavily upon work being done at New England Conservatory’s Department of Entrepreneurial Musicianship, under the leadership of Rachel Roberts. I’m happy to have played a key role in developing curriculum for undergraduate and graduate classes, but the success of these classes rests in is large part thanks to Rachel, Eva Heinstein and Dan Swenson who work together to create  and sustain a warm, dynamic, and supportive environment from which students (and faculty) can envision their musical futures.

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Parting Letter: Making a Life in Music

December 13, 2011

The conservatory is like an incubator for your music. Transitioning to the outside world can be scary and complicated. To complicate things further, not one of us has been handed the same deck of cards. But I know that each of you can survive as a musician. And I you can expect more than survival: you can set up a life that allows you to thrive as an artist. With that goal in mind, here are some essential tools.

1. Untangle money from music. While you’re in school, the relationship between music and money is suspended. When you get out, it can get complicated, fast. Without oversimplifying things, remember that money is simply a tool that allows you the time and materials to pursue your art to the fullest extent. Other than that, it has little to do with music itself.

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Parting Letter: Sunrise, Sunset

I wrote this letter with Eva Heinstein for the students in my section of The Entrepreneurial Musician course at New England Conservatory. Eva is the Program Manager of Entrepreneurial Musicianship, and our writing together is an organic outcome of our regular post-class conversations. The Entrepreneurial Musician is a survey of important professional skills and resources, but it’s also a space for students to consider what they want the fabric of their work and artistic life to be. In writing this letter, Eva and I tried capture some of the principles we hope students will take away as they continue their studies and begin to lay the foundation for a life in music.

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