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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

The Smart People Imperative

Andrew Hitz

"Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you." - John Wooden

If there is any one piece of advice that I could give to a young person trying to make it in the music business or any other business, it is to surround yourself with smart people.  You limit the potential of any endeavor when you are clearly the smartest person involved.

Unfortunately in music, our first instinct when forming something like a chamber ensemble is to find not the smartest people, but the best players and go from there.  This is a really bad idea.

I joke with my students that there are only three chamber groups in the world who actually get along.  I might be exaggerating just a little bit but the point is still valid.  Most successful business ventures are not started by buddies who have similar strengths and approach things in the same manner.

When starting a chamber ensemble or any other business endeavor, surround yourself with smart people who will question your ideas and tell you when they think those ideas aren't any good.  Be sure those are the kind of people who will counter an idea they don't like with one of their own.  Smart people don't just criticize, they offer their own possible solutions.

Surrounding yourself with smart people has never been more important in the music business than it is right now.  Use that as a starting point for forming business partnerships within music and you'll start out way ahead of the game.  It's not just a good idea, it's an imperative.

And yes, this is the 2nd time I've posted about this.  It's important!

© 2012 Andrew Hitz