TAG: classical music

Conflict Resolution for Emotionally-Intelligent Musicians: How To Prepare for a Conflict Meeting

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Working successfully with other musicians in an ensemble or another collaborative project involves not only an exquisite blend of musical styles and skills but also a high degree of emotional intelligence to manage the relationships with your fellow musicians. Inevitably, when creative people come together, there will be varying ideas on how to approach the music as well as how …

Engaging Today’s Audience: 3 Things That Can Make A Difference to Classical Music

One of the “buzzwords” in today’s classical music scene is audience engagement:  how to create a meaningful experience in a live performance between the artist and the audience in order to attract new audiences to classical music, especially the elusive “young adult” audience.   This is a challenge in the era of the Internet where people can access music anytime and anywhere.  Therefore, it takes something special to get people to leave the comfort of their homes or unplug their earbuds and venture into the concert space in order to experience live music.  

Herein lies the irony:  as easy as it is to access music 24/7,  it’s lonely out there on the Internet and today’s audiences crave special and unique experiences. Thus, today’s musicians have an opportunity to create that unique and special experience for today’s audiences.

Financial Management for Musicians Part II: How To Create a Financial Plan

In my previous blog post on financial management for musicians, I outlined the basics of acquiring financial literacy.  The next step is to put this information together and to make a financial plan.

When we did this exercise in my class, my students were encouraged by this process since it enabled them to take the amorphous concept of “How do I make money as a musician????” and break it down into manageable action steps that they could begin working on right now. Not only did this seem doable but my students were actually excited about engaging in the process.  Armed with this knowledge, they felt ready to take themselves seriously as professionals by adopting the mindset of a business owner.

So let’s take a look at the process in greater detail.

Case Studies of 4 Yale Music Entrepreneurs: Achieving The Impossible

As I sit in my warm, light-filled apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River, I am filled with enormous gratitude that I was spared the wrath of the hurricane, especially when I look across the river to New Jersey or downtown to Lower Manhattan where so much devastation took place. I couldn’t get to New …

Financial Management for Musicians Part I: How To Take Charge of Your Finances

Financial planning is an essential skill for musicians so for the past few weeks, my class has been focused on helping my students to learn the basics of financial management and create their personal financial plans. Once again my friend Jim Remis, partner in a boutique accounting firm and Chairman of the Board of the Hartford Symphony, visited our class and together we provided my students with the kind of information that they need in order to have a comfort level around their finances:  earning revenue creatively and from a variety of sources, budgeting, saving, avoiding debt and basic tax planning.

Here are some basic pointers in order to get started.

Conflict Management for Musicians Part I: Take Charge by Using the Right Conflict Management Strategy

This week, I had the privilege and the pleasure of leading Professional Development training on conflict management with alumni of The Academy—one of the country’s leading teaching artist program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.

The 9 nine outstanding musicians who participated in the training are serving as Advisors to the current 20 Fellows of the Academy and the training was designed to provide them with skills and processes to help the Fellows manage conflict in the course of their work.

It is not surprising that conflict arises between musicians. Indeed, musician-leaders—the music entrepreneurs of the 21st Century– are passionate about their work and their ideas, have high standards of excellence, and are deeply committed to your cause.  And when they meet up with others who have the same depth and level of commitment to their ideas, it is going to cause friction. 

In essence, that is what conflict is:  a discomforting difference with someone where the two of you have incompatible issues, principles, behaviors or goals.

Conflict management is an essential leadership skill for the music entrepreneur of the 21st Century since it can help you to face challenges and look for opportunities in your conflict situations and our training provided these talented musician leaders with some great skills for handling the inevitable conflicts that arise in the music world.

How Happiness Breeds Success: 5 Tips to Enhance Your Career Success

For those who know me, it should come as no surprise that positivity is one of signature strengths (under the StrengthsFinder 2.0 strengths assessment), something that I am truly grateful for.  So when I learned that there was a branch of study called positive psychology, I was most intrigued to find out more. 

Positive psychology, a field that emerged in the 1980’s, is the scientific study of what makes people thrive and excel.  Simply put, it is the science of what makes us happy.

Happiness is often defined as “subjective well-being”, involving pleasure, engagement and finding meaning in life.   This can include:

•    Realizing that you have the capacity to change
•    Experiencing fulfillment
•    Joy in striving towards your potential

Happiness comes along with a positive mindset that looks at the world through the lens of learning and opportunity. For professional musicians, cultivating a positive mindset is an essential element of music entrepreneurship. Let’s take a closer look at how the science of happiness can help musicians to create greater career success.

Classical Musicians in the 21st Century: How They are Faring and How They Can Make It

I recently wrote about how musicians today are living in a world of opportunity where the many changes that our culture has experienced in the last 50 years has given rise to new possibilities.

As we gear up for the new academic year, this is a great time to check in on how musicians are faring in this new paradigm and what they can do to create sustainable careers. The short answer is that jobs do exist for musicians, both in traditional and new arenas.  However, in order to create sustainable careers, today’s musicians are advised to take charge of their careers, master business and people skills and boldly adopt the entrepreneurial mindset in order to ride the wave of opportunity.

Let’s take a closer look.

“Be good” vs. “Get Better”: Optimizing the Experience of Performing

I have just returned from my summer vacation in California wine country where I learned some valuable lessons about optimal goal setting while improving my piano skills!

Where did all this happen?

At pianoSonoma, a festival that brings together serious adult piano students to study with Juilliard faculty members Michael Shinn and Jessica Chow Shinn, and collaborate and perform chamber music with Young Artists ( current students at or recent graduates of Juilliard), as well attend concerts by the faculty and the Young Artists.  It is a thrilling week where I can indulge in my passion for learning and playing the piano and share the joy of making music with superbly talented musicians.

On the plane ride out to California, I had a chance to catch up on my Kindle backlog and settled into a short book called “9 Things Successful People Do Differently” by psychologist  and goal-setting expert Heidi Grant Halvorson.  Now success is what I teach, coach on and advocate so I was interested in her 9 points.  And the one that resonated most powerfully with me was point #5:

Focus On Getting Better, Rather Than Being Good

What does she mean?