TAG: Yale School of Music

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.

The TED Commandments: 10 Rules for a Great Speech

What makes for a great speech?

These days, one need only log onto Ted.com to see examples of the leading lights in our culture speaking with passion on everything from art to business to science to you name it!   In fact, in my class, I assigned my students to watch Ben Zander’s TED Talk on Music and Passion to show them the excitement that music can generate to tap into new possibilities, new experiences and new connections.

TED talks are wildly popular.  According to TED’s own records, TEDTalks have been viewed more than 500 million times by people around the world (as of July 2011).

Is it merely an accident that these speeches are so good?  Or is there some method to guide these talented people?

It turns out that TED’s organizer’s indeed issue guidelines, called the TED Commandments, which are apparently engraved on a stone tablet and sent to their invited speakers!  I am indebted to Tim Longhurst for transcribing the engraved  commandments from a photograph and typing then up.  Here they are:

Public Speaking for Music Entrepreneurs: 4 Ways to Engage Your Audience

All semester, my students have been working on projects that have given them the opportunity to practice their newly honed entrepreneurial skills.  In our last class, they had a chance to share their projects and showcase their public speaking abilities that we learned about in our public speaking class. The goal was to deliver an interesting, engaging speech that conveyed …

Your Marketing Message: How to Telegraph the Emotional Benefits of Your Music

This week, I spent a lot of time in my car and therefore had a wonderful opportunity to listen to music. My selections ranged from a lecture series on late Beethoven Quartets to Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8, to Steve Reich to Chopin Nocturnes and then to the Beethoven late quartets, particularly the Grosse Fugue.  These choices depended on what mood I was in:

  • Did I want to be stimulated or provoked or soothed? 
  • Did I want to relax and feel restored? 
  • Did I need something to contemplate or to help me ponder the meaning of life? 
  • And what about staying alert on a long drive?

Music is a powerful way of tapping into one’s emotions and that is why people love to listen to music.

Interestingly, my thoughts dovetailed perfectly with my most recent class at Yale on marketing for musicians.  Admittedly a huge topic, marketing is essential in this day and age since most musicians just starting their careers are not likely to have the money to hire professional publicists or managers for marketing help.

Speaking About Music: How to Be Confident and Powerful

If you happened to wander by my classroom at Yale recently, you would have seen and heard my students and their professor (that would be me!) moving their arms, doing knee bends, rolling their lip, singing scales to the tune of “mi mi mi” and reciting tongue twisters under the tutelage of Professor Brian Lewis who came to my class to help us learn more about public speaking and overcome “glossophobia”(the fear of public speaking).

In fact, in some surveys, fear of public speaking is the number one common phobia, ranking even higher than the fear of death!  So Professor Lewis was there to give us some valuable tips on how to get comfortable with public speaking since he adn I both believe that this is an essential skill for today’s musicians.  Here is a summary of his remarks, together with my own observations on how to speak in public with power and confidence.