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TEM 73: Jessica Meyer on Not Waiting for the Phone to Ring, Becoming a Professional Composer at Age 40 and Writing a Great Grant Proposal

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.

TEM 73: Jessica Meyer on Not Waiting for the Phone to Ring, Becoming a Professional Composer at Age 40 and Writing a Great Grant Proposal

Andrew Hitz

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Jessica Meyer is a violist, composer, entrepreneur and music business consultant based in New York City. I absolutely love her approach to the music business and to life. Quite inspiring!

Topics Covered:

  • Jessica had two degrees from Juilliard, was living in New York and yet her phone wasn't ringing because she was primarily only hanging out with her husband and not intentionally networking
  • How when missing two notes in the 6th round of the Buffalo Philharmonic audition prevented her from winning an $18,000/year job she realized there was a problem with the traditional orchestral model which inspired her and her husband to start their own ensemble
  • The incredible number of things like grant writing, budgeting, making a website, branding and many other things which they had to suddenly learn how to do (and which their top-notch Juilliard educations didn't prepare them for)
  • How running your own ensemble is like owning a house rather than renting (you get to customize anything you want but any repairs or upkeep are your problem)
  • The very large ensemble they hired (at a large expense) which lead to their first New York Times review which in turn has lead to a review every single year
  • How Jessica became a professional composer at the age of 40 (Spoiler: She relied on her pre-existing network that she had intentionally developed)
  • The importance of her being able to stand in front of people and succinctly tell them about her music
  • The key to writing a great grant proposal (It's easier than you think!)
  • Why she starts her networking seminars off by having people figuring out exactly what makes them them
  • Why it's important to practice stating within a conversation what you do in at most two sentences (and why you should have one of these soundbites for each different thing you do)
  • Why you have to be your own advocate for what you do (and why Jessica prefers the term "advocate for yourself" rather than "selling yourself")
  • How even if you have management you need to be out there "shaking the trees"
  • Why it's important that when you find yourself in a serendipitous moment (career-wise) you need to speak up and get the ball rolling
  • Why solving problems for other people or making random introductions for no reason will serve you well in the long run
  • Gary Vaynerchuck's 51/49 Rule
  • How all relationships are feeding your career (which means more than just liking Facebook posts)


Favorite Quotes:

"You have to spend money to make money. That's how it works."

"(Grant writing) is like networking. It's not about you. It's not about how great your art is. It's not about how great you play. It's not about how great this composer is. How are you making the lives better of the people you are serving."

"How can I advocate for myself and my colleagues?"

"You just keep asking. And there'll be a lot of no's. And you just keep asking anyway."

"The people who are successful...are the ones willing to do the mundane things that other people are not."

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Produced by Joey Santillo