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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Entrepreneurship

The Entrepreneurial Musician: Jim Stephenson

Andrew Hitz

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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:

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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: 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
 

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

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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!


Seth Godin: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

"If I fail more than you do I win.  Because built into that is this notion that I get to keep playing.  And if you get to keep playing you get to keep failing and sooner or later you are going to succeed."
-Seth Godin

David Cutler (author of The Savvy Musician) calls Seth Godin "the Steve Jobs of thinking."  I think that's the perfect description of him.  He is the person whom I have most modeled my post-Boston Brass career after and he has absolutely nothing to do with music!

His lessons on the importance of failing until you succeed (which he gets into in this video) are must hear for anyone.

Side Note: His book Linchpin changed my life.  It changed how I approach the tuba, how I approach other people, and how I live my life moment to moment.  More powerful than you can ever imagine.

Enjoy!


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

Andrew Hitz

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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.


My Interview with Seth Haines about a Career in Music

Andrew Hitz

Seth Haines of the great resource, The Musician's Guide to Hustling, was kind enough to interview me on my career to this point.  We discussed a variety of subjects including:

  • How I got the job with Boston Brass
  • How I proactively planned for my career after Boston Brass
  • Keys to freelancing
  • How Lance LaDuke and I came to create Pedal Note Media
  • All of my current projects including working with The Mockingbird Foundation
  • And a lot more!

Seth has a good thing going over there and it was great to chat with him about making a career in music.  You can check out the interview here.

Links That Make Me Think

Andrew Hitz

Here are a few articles I recently crossed paths with that I found interesting:

 

A cloudy pier awaiting a cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska, taken on a Boston Brass trip there to perform with the Enso Quartet in 2013.

A cloudy pier awaiting a cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska, taken on a Boston Brass trip there to perform with the Enso Quartet in 2013.


Surround Yourself With Smart People

Andrew Hitz

In life, when you surround yourself with smart and talented people, their knowledge will slowly seep into you like water into a sponge.  Successful people always seem to seek out others who have previously succeeded in their field as they begin a new journey. Successful people also seek out people have attempted and failed at what they are trying to do, so long as those people are smart enough to have learned from their mistakes and have the ability to articulate what went wrong and what they learned from the experience.

The best thing a young person entering the music profession (or any established musician who is attempting a new phase of their career) can do is surround themselves with people who have both succeeded and failed as entrepreneurs.  More specifically, people who have succeeded and failed both in music and other fields.

Aspiring band directors should hang out with successful band directors.  Aspiring chamber musicians should hang out with successful chamber musicians.  Aspiring composers should hang out with successful composers.  And everyone should hang out with smart people, regardless of their profession.

As musicians, we are used to learning from those who came before us when it comes to how to play high notes or how to play faster.  But we are not as used to learning from the successes and failures of the business men and women who have come before us.  A true sign of intelligence is the ability to learn from other people's mistakes.

Surround yourself with smart people and learn from them.  That's exactly what the successful people we all look up to did.

© Andrew Hitz