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TEM Blog

The Entrepreneurial Musician Blog by Andrew Hitz featuring articles on being an entrepreneur in the music business. Show notes for The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast.

Show Notes for Episode 11: Jim Stephenson, Composer and Head of Stephenson Music

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


You can help offset the ongoing costs of producing the show by making a small donation at Your support is greatly appreciated!

Produced by Austin Boyer and Buddy Deshler of FredBrass