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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Publishing

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

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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!