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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Brian Pertl

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

Andrew Hitz

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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


Contact Brian:

Brian's TEDx Talk:


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

Brian Pertl at TEDx: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Brian Pertl is the Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and has an absolutely fascinating bio.  This talk he did for TEDx is titled "Music Education, Improvisational Play and Dancing Between Disciplines: Reimagining a Liberal Arts Education for the 21st Century" and it is fantastic.

"Creativity allows us to dance in between disciplines" is one of the many great lines that Brian has during this TEDx talk.  We could use more creative arts advocates like Brian to fight the good fight.  Every school administrator should be made to watch this video.