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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Category: Entrepreneurial Musician

The Entrepreneurial Musician: Jim Stephenson

Andrew Hitz

Listen via:

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Jim Stephenson is a full-time composer and arranger based out of Chicago. His story is a fascinating one.

Jim was a trumpet player in the Naples Philharmonic before he began to arrange and compose. His writing career eventually took off to the point that he quit his steady job with the orchestra to focus on it full-time. Who does that? People as driven as Jim, that's who.

His career path is reminder after reminder that you never quite know which direction you are about to head in in the music business.

Topics Include:

  • How his first ever arrangement was for a professional brass quintet and that he volunteered in spite of having no experience whatsoever
  • How he backed into becoming a composer by trying to write an intentionally bad piece to fulfill a very creative assignment and failed since it ended up being good
  • How excited he was initially about being a published composer
  • The advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing
  • The value of humility in a sustainable career

The Entrepreneurial Musician: David Vining of Mountain Peak Music

Andrew Hitz

Listen via:

iTunes
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David is one of the people in the music business I look up to. While at the height of the brass profession he overcame dystonia by completely reevaluating how he approached and even conceived of his playing.

He also started the very successful Mountain Peak Music publishing company. I loved hearing his approach to the publishing business and how it applies to all of us in the music business.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Finding a core customer base
  • The advantage of "drilling down" to cater to a specific niche
  • Not assuming different customer bases have the same needs
  • How his battle with dystonia taught him to not always approach problems in a linear and traditional manner
  • Creating an environment where people can create their own improvement rather than follow step-by-step instructions
  • How critical communication skills are to all entrepreneurs

A big thanks to David for joining me on this episode! I learned a lot!

The Entrepreneurial Musician: Jeff Conner of Boston Brass

Andrew Hitz

Listen via:

iTunes
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Jeff Conner was my colleague in Boston Brass for 14 years. He is the only original founding member that remains in the group today. In this interview he talks about how they went from a college group playing small gigs around the Boston area to an internationally touring, full time ensemble.

Topics that Jeff touches on:

  • How he got a powerful Boston businessman to financially support Boston Brass
  • The importance of having mentors that inspire you
  • Perseverance being a key to success
  • Not being afraid of the word no
  • Networking being a longterm process
  • Why developing your own brand is essential

Jeff also talks about the book he wrote with John Laverty, The Porfolio Musician, in which they detail the careers of over 40 different musicians.

I have learned a lot from Jeff's approach to the business and I'm really happy that he joined me for this interview.

Links:

The Portfolio Musician: Case Studies in Success
Boston Brass


The Entrepreneurial Musician: Brian Pertl, Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory

Andrew Hitz

Listen via:

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Brian is the Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and a former ethnomusicologist for Microsoft. After interviewing him for the podcast I was filled with optimism for the future of collegiate music education in this country. I also wanted to high five him.

He is the perfect meld of artist and businessman and I learned a ton from speaking with him for an hour.

Brian touched on a wide range of topics in this episode including:

  • How a $50 gig playing the didgeridoo led to his full-time employment for 16 years at Microsoft which led to him becoming a dean
  • Always saying yes when asked if you are capable of something
  • The importance of pivoting in one's career
  • How giving people autonomy over projects can unleash creativity
  • The value of questioning traditions within music
  • Being ready to seize an opportunity

His passion for combining artistic expression with entrepreneurial skills has him on the cutting edge of what a music education should look like at the collegiate level today.
 

Books Mentioned:

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris

The Savvy Musician by David Cutler

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
 

Links:

Contact Brian: https://www.lawrence.edu/conservatory/faculty/brian_pertl

Brian's TEDx Talk: http://www.tedxlawrenceu.com/speakers/brian-pertl/

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To help support the show to offset the ongoing costs associated with producing and distributing this podcast please visit http://www.pedalnotemedia.com/support-the-entrepreneurial-musician

Next Episode: Jeff Conner of Boston Brass and author of "The Portfolio Musician"

The Entrepreneurial Musician: Jeff Nelsen

Andrew Hitz

Listen via:

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Jeff Nelsen discusses his phenomenal career as a member of Canadian Brass, how he won four orchestral auditions, and how he started Fearless Performance, a method for mastering the mental process of performance.

He is one of the most uplifting people I've ever met and that is reflected in Fearless Performance.  In this interview, he discusses selling yourself as a musician (which he prefers to refer to as sharing), how to get the best out of yourself on stage, and most importantly how he took the idea for this program and made it a product in the form of seminars, lectures, and books.

As with Dr. Tim in the last episode, this will leave you fired up and ready to follow through on any ideas you have kicking around in your head!


Links:

Jeff's Website: http://www.jeffnelsen.com/

Fearless Performance: http://www.jeffnelsen.com/pages/fearless-performance

Jeff's TEDx Talk: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxBloomington-Jeff-Nelsen-Fea


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To help support the show to offset the ongoing costs associated with producing and distributing this podcast please visit http://www.pedalnotemedia.com/support-the-entrepreneurial-musician

Next Episode: Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and former ethnomusicologist for Microsoft, Brian Pertl

The Entrepreneurial Musician: Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser

Andrew Hitz

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For the latest episode of The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast I was honored to have a conversation with one of mentor in the music business, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser.

Dr. Tim has an energy, a genuineness, and a passion for his craft and life that is contagious.  He is one of the most savvy businessmen and entrepreneurs I've ever met and he shared a lot of his secrets in this interview.  I especially liked his comments about the entrepreneurial skills a young band director needs to have to thrive on the job.

If this one doesn't fire you up, you might be in the wrong business!


The Entrepreneurial Musician: Alarm Will Sound's Gavin Chuck & Michael Clayville

Andrew Hitz

Listen via:

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I was very excited to get to interview two people from one of my favorite ensembles for this episode of The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast! Alarm Will Sound is an enormous force in the music business, both as artists and entrepreneurs.

Alarm Will Sound's Gavin Chuck and Michael Clayville discuss all aspects of the group's cutting edge programming and business model.  They cover everything from their innovative partnerships to how they successfully navigate the music business as a performer-led ensemble.

They also share how they did the almost impossible: they took a college group and turned it into a money-making professional ensemble.  They are both passionate about the arts and share how that passion pervades every decision the ensemble makes.