TAG: Yale School of Music

Playing to Strengths Part 2: What do I do about my weaknesses?

I’m working away at some great pieces on the piano—Shostakovich Piano Trio, Bach Toccata in E Minor, Brahms Intermezzo Op. 117 No. 2.   Yes, I play challenging repertoire and eventually do it well.  And when I put my time and focus on learning and mastering these pieces, the results are wonderful.  Yet it takes me a LOT of time to …

Playing To Strengths Part 1: Do I Have To Be Good At Everything In Order To Succeed?

My class at Yale this semester is my most diverse group to date, mixing opera singers, early music voice majors, composers, string and orchestra players, one guitar major and a conducting student.  The result is a rich sharing experience from many points of view.  And they are highly motivated to find out what it takes to create success in today’s …

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 …

Fighting Your Way To The Top: 5 Ways to Manage Inner Conflicts

We live in a complicated, interesting world today where many in the classical music world are wringing their hands because of perceived lack of opportunities for making a successful career, while others (myself included) view our world today as one of tremendous possibility and opportunity.

This is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about teaching musicians how to look at the world as one of opportunity.  One of my objectives is to help my students adopt a positive attitude towards their lives and their careers since I believe very strongly that happiness and optimism breed success and not vice-versa!
Optimism is also essential to the mindset of the music entrepreneur of the 21st Century.

In my class, we start by examining the different attitudes that one can bring to a music career. This attitude is formed by past experiences and perceptions and it translates into energy:

•    stressful energy for things that make you feel hopeless, fearful, angry, or conflicted or

•    motivating energy that makes you feel that you can manage your life, inspires you to keep moving forward, be of service and find opportunity.

The Great New World of Opportunity: Classical Music in the 21st Century

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale School of Music about the state of classical music in the 21st century with a focus on the opportunities for today’s musicians to create successful careers.  Yes, my friends, we are living in a world full of possibilities and great opportunities for classical musicians! So let’s look at what the nay-sayers are saying and then view our world through the lens of opportunity.

Confidence vs. Arrogance: Know Your Gift to Boost Your Personal Power

We have all been there:  you meet someone at a competition or a reception or a class who dominates the conversation, talks only about himself, projects an aura of knowing it all and could care less about you or other people around him. What’s your reaction? “Boy, am I intimidated! Why can’t I be that confident?” Or perhaps “What a …

Entrepreneurial Projects: Translating Vision and Mission into Action

One of the most thrilling aspects of my class this semester was how my students incorporated a huge volume of information and applied it to their semester projects.  The objective was to experience first-hand the entrepreneurial skills that we learned in class and to experiment with something that they had never done before.  The students were encouraged to take risks and use their ingenuity and creativity to produce something new, looking for opportunities and adopting the positive can-do mindset of an entrepreneur.

The results were magnificent! 

I was deeply impressed with how hard my students worked.  They tapped into their passions and sense of mission to generate these projects.  The projects also aligned with their long-term goals and vision.  In fact, I am delighted that so many of these projects are the springboard for future activities. No wonder they were so motivated to work these projects!

Here’s a run-down of what these music entrepreneurs accomplished.