All posts filed under: Blog

Thoughts on launching a successful private lesson studio.

Here’s a question I received last week: Hi Nate, I’m moving to a new city and I’d like to quickly recruit 5-10 students into my private clarinet studio.  What suggestions do you have for getting started? Here is my process for launching a private studio in a new town: Be committed to teaching—The most important part of building a successful studio is that you must be dedicated to teaching. I have seen far too many artists form a studio, only to work half-heartedly with their students because they’re only teaching for the money. Tip, if you’re only building a studio for the money, don’t do it.  There are far better ways to spend your time. If you are committed to building a studio and becoming the best teacher in the city, go all in and commit to improving yourself for every lesson.  Build a website—Your website is your business card and setting up a site is very easy. I like Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace. If you have a good photo, your bio, and teaching philosophy statement, …

Finding Stability as an Artist

Here’s a question that came from one of my readers: As an artist 10 years into my career, I am making things work both financially and artistically, but I continue to be interested in finding artistic work that allows me to be upwardly mobile. Can you give me some advice for finding stability? This question often comes up as I guide artists. On one hand, artists who approach mid-career are often faced with growing financial challenges, including the support of a family, house payments, and continuing to pay off college loans. On the other hand, many artists are truly in pursuit of stability in their art, seeking higher quality and more artistically satisfying opportunities for performance. The pursuit of stability brings up an interesting dichotomy: Search for a financially stable life and risk sacrificing your artistic output; Search for an artistically stable life, and you risk sacrificing financial stability. Like the featured photo on this post, the challenge we all face is how to strike a balance between the two. Here is a three step process …

Thoughts on Why Music Schools Must Embed Context into the Curriculum

Yesterday, I wrote this post, which discusses the role of arts entrepreneurship in higher education. After the post, I started thinking more deeply about the role that context plays in the process of educating our arts students. Higher education helps students go deep in a few subject areas, but mostly, the courses students take provide a big picture overview of many subjects. The odd thing is that the professors teaching the big picture overview courses most likely got their teaching positions because they went incredibly deep in a very specific subject area. Teaching a big picture class is antithetical to the depth of work and research most professors conducted in their studies in order to get the position they have teaching their general studies courses. Instead of big picture classes, our current college students need depth classes with less content so they can take the information learned and connect it to the broader context of our 21st century world. Here are a few additional thoughts on the value of context: We now have unlimited access …

What is the point of Arts Entrepreneurship?

Over the past decade, I think Schools of Music have answered that question in this way: Arts Entrepreneurship helps our students find success in the field. Academia has long placed an emphasis on outcomes based learning that prepares students for success. But what if those proposed outcomes aren’t preparing students for the field, or worse, they’re preparing students for a field that doesn’t exist? Since the economic downturn in the mid-2000’s (and probably longer), defining student success has been plaguing institutions of higher education because the degrees offered don’t necessarily accommodate the available jobs in the field. This is particularly true in the arts, where over-saturation is rampant and even those who manage to find work find themselves underpaid, and often undervalued. In an effort to counterbalance this trend, a large number of institutions have adopted arts entrepreneurship programming, rooted in the idea that if students can use their talents as a force to generate wealth on an individualized basis, they will dramatically improve their chances of landing a job when they graduate. I believe …

Strategies to help Artists take some time for themselves.

As many of you know, I’ve been doing a bit of writing lately in an attempt to help all of you find balance between work and being able to take a breath and enjoy life. Yesterday, I read this amazing post by Eric Perry. The post, titled “How to have healthy alone time,” discusses the value and strategies for taking time to be by yourself, which really resonated with me. I’m a pretty outgoing person and enjoy the company of others. Until recently, I assumed that meant I was an extrovert. Then, I took the Myers Briggs Test, and one of the questions went something like this: “Are you energized by large groups of people, or do you get your energy by being alone.” It took me less than a second to determine that I get my energy by being alone. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that I spent decades of my life alone in a practice room pursuing an unattainable art form, but likely it’s built into my DNA. Since this realization, …