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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: music business

Who Should You Partner With?

Andrew Hitz

"Find like-minded, bright, hard-working people that you think share a core set of values and a core vision of what you are trying to do and where you're trying to go.  That makes it substantially easier to realize whatever that vision may be."


-Kevin Browning, Creative and Business Development Manager for Umprhrey's McGee


If you are a musician looking to form a chamber ensemble, don't simply go for the best players.  Find the best players who also fit the description above and great things will happen.

Chamber groups, whether they be brass quintets, string quartets, jazz trios, barbershop quartets, or rock bands, rarely fail to stick around because the music making isn't good enough.  It is almost always a result of visions not lining up or of people not working equally towards attaining that vision.

This two sentence quote can save you a whole lot of time and money if you start there and then worry about the rest of it.

Are You Taking Enough Risks?

Andrew Hitz

"People with a low tolerance for risk, whose behavior is guided by fear, have a low propensity for success." -Keith Ferrazzi from Never Eat Alone

Whether trying to become a band director or start a new chamber ensemble, the music business, like every other business, generally rewards those who take risks. And taking risks involves getting out of your comfort zone.

Are you taking enough risks today to succeed?

20140715-112538-41138443.jpg The sunsetting over Sebec Lake in Maine. © 2014 Andrew Hitz

Perfect Advice on Starting Any Arts Initiative in One Sentence

Andrew Hitz

"You need to know what you know and you don't know and how to partner with people with different strengths." -David Cutler (The Savvy Musician)

You will never read a sentence that sums up how to proceed on any new business venture better than that one above.  When starting any kind of an arts initiative, don't simply go for the most talented players, dancers, singers, or actors. Read the above sentence until you have it memorized and then go from there.

Trust me.  You'll thank Dr. Cutler later if you do.

(This quote was from the fabulous 2013 Savvy Musician In Action Retreat at the University of South Carolina.)


Links That Make Me Think - April Edition

Andrew Hitz

Here are April's links that make me think.  Some are recent and some are not,  but all have proved thought-provoking. ---------

Yet again Seth Godin nails it right on the head (and in only 57 words!) In asking the question "How do I get rid of fear?" he explains that fear is not the enemy, paralysis is. This is a MUST READ for anyone in music.

Not surprisingly, children who learn music from a young age find it easier to learn languages even in adulthood, research has found.

Here's a fantastic article about 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently which includes failing up and asking the big questions.

Forbes compiled a list of 16 Leadership Quotes To Inspire You To Greatness including quotes from JFK and Andrew Carnegie.

This article in Scientific American talks about using psychological distance as an easy way to increase creativity. (I didn't know what the heck that was either until I read it!)

Filed as Exhibit A under Always Be Ready For The Call: The lead in the Metropolitan Opera's Wozzeck fell ill just hours before the show.  in came Matthias Goerne to save the day, with virtually no time to prepare at all. How did it go? Placido Domingo leaped to his feet applauding at the curtain. What a great lesson for all players and conductors to always be ready for absolutely anything!

You can not go to a Joe Alessi master class without hearing him mention the Amazing Slow Downer. It is a powerful tool for any performer or music educator. Here is one music teacher talking about how indispensable it is for her.

Finally, a fascinating article titled Why We Love Repetition In Music which talks all about brain function.

Bonus Link: If this guy with nothing but a trombone, his hands, and a digital loop doesn't make you happy you should probably get off the internet and get some fresh air.

Most links are best enjoyed with a bowl of ramen. © 2014 Andrew Hitz

Making Your Own Opportunities

Andrew Hitz

"The man who grasps an opportunity as it is paraded before him, nine times out of ten makes a success; but the man who makes his own opportunities is, barring an accident, a sure-fire success!" -Dale Carnegie

These words were uttered many decades ago and had nothing to do with the music business but could not be more true today.  Most music schools are churning out graduates without teaching them how to make their own opportunities in the music business.  And if you take a look around, the vast majority of people "making it" in the music business these days are the ones that are doing just that.

What have you done today in an attempt to create an opportunity for yourself?

An aerial shot of my alma mater, Northwestern University, where fortunately I was taught how to make my own opportunities. © 2013 Andrew Hitz

Abraham Lincoln's Insights into the Music Business

Andrew Hitz

"I'll study and get ready and be prepared for my opportunity when it comes." -Abraham Lincoln

Whether you are an aspiring band director or trying to earn a living as a player, real opportunities don't come around all that often.  And when one does, you must be ready to pounce.

Sam Pilafian Student Abraham Lincoln

Ask yourself this question: if your dream job were to come calling today, are you ready? The key word is today.  If the answer to that question is in any way no, ask yourself what exactly you are not ready for and plan a course of action to address it immediately.

The Chicago Symphony doesn't call you two weeks ahead of time to let you know that someone will be sick and need a sub.  Your ideal school district you've been trying break into won't necessarily call you a month in advance to let you know they need someone to fill in for the rest of the year.  You need to be ready for opportunities like that right now since they don't come around very often.

When I was 14 years old, Sam Pilafian told me that to make it in the music business you need three things: a lot of talent, a lot of hard work, and a lot of luck.  He explained luck as being in the right place at the right time.  You have to get that call in the first place to show people what you can do.  But he stressed that the hard work part of that equation tended to create a lot of that "luck" and made you prepared when the time came to show your skills.

It sounds like maybe Abraham Lincoln studied with Sam Pilafian at some point in time...

The Power of Showing Up

Andrew Hitz

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." - Woody Allen

The close of a calendar year is always a great time to reflect on any aspects of our career where we failed to show up in the previous year.  If you planned to learn to improvise, did you start? If you hoped to start a new recruitment initiative for your band, did you get past the brainstorming phase?

Showing up is the key to improvement and innovation.  And constant improvement and innovation are the keys to the music business and all business.

Where do you need to show up in 2014?

© 2013 Andrew Hitz