All posts filed under: Blog

Climbing the Ladder: Majoring in Music As A Pathway To College and Upward Mobility.

A couple of weeks ago, I published this post, which encourages applied university teachers to broaden the definition of success for their students. It is our responsibility to redefine success for all of our students at the earliest age. If you are part of a middle or high school based music program, an El Sistema inspired program or have a private studio, you have likely been approached by students or their parents about whether or not majoring in music is a good idea. I believe we should encourage any student who is interested in dedicating themselves deeply to the art form to major in music. The value of their degree is not necessarily in earning a specific major, it’s in earning a degree itself.  My argument is that ANY degree helps a student become upwardly mobile in our society. Here’s a quick video that discusses upward mobility in this country. The entire video is mind-blowing but in particular check out the 2:52 mark. Who goes to college: I did some quick (Google) research on our population …

Advice on how Artists can live on a small income when moving to a new city.

Today’s post comes from a question I recently received from a reader: Do you have any written tips or advice for how to live on a very small income when moving into a new city? This is an excellent question that many of us don’t think about when moving to a new city in pursuit of our art. Settling into a new city can be challenging, but also one of the most exciting experiences of our life. Here are some tips to consider when calling a new place home: Live with multiple roommates–Sharing the cost of living expenses with others when you move into a city. Having multiple roommates greatly reduces your expenses and gives you more flexibility to build some stability. Advice: Find people in which to live before you move. If that’s not possible, check in with your network to see if anyone you know has a room available. Set a deadline for when you will move out to find your own place.  My suggestion is to wait to move out until you …

Are you an artist looking for a way to find balance? Stop letting EMAIL run your life!

Often, I find myself buried in email with no end in site. I set aside time to dig out, only to be inundated by more emails. Email has been one of the biggest challenges to finding balance in my life. Here are some suggestions about how to handle your email: Tackle email after you get your big thing out of the way–Practicing, having time to think, or planning a new project are WAY more important and energizing. If you start with the black hole of email, chances are, you could spend your entire allotted time for big picture things responding to email. Action: Look at your calendar and block off a two hour block each day before you open your email in order to tackle big things you’d like to accomplish.  Schedule a time to check email–Check your email only AFTER you tackle your big thing for the day and keep yourself to a tight schedule for reading and responding. Generally, I check my email in late morning and mid-afternoon. Otherwise, I try to stay away. Action: Block …

Using the 80-20 rule to help Artists find balance.

This is a picture of me hiking with my daughter. I have the photo sitting on my desk as a reminder of why finding balance is so important. A question I often get as I advise artists goes something like this: As an artist, I’m finding it almost impossible to find a work/life balance. What strategies can you offer to help me find a better mix between work, family and space to create? It can be difficult for artists to find a work/life balance. I’m no exception. Lately, it seems that I’m on a conveyor belt, running from one place to the next, doing the best I can with the work and trying desperately to be there for my family. Our inter-connected–and over-connected–society constantly reminds us of this mantra: Work hard, Play hard/Be with family and you will love your life. The challenge I find with this hyper-intensive mindset is that the hustle doesn’t necessarily help artists get ahead and often cuts deeply into the thing that may just be more important than money…..time. I’ve been …

Broadening the definition of success for music students.

This is me in fifth grade. At the age of 12, I remember my teachers telling me that if I continued to work, I could get a scholarship to study the instrument in college. Many began to tell me that I should pursue a career on the instrument. When I was barely in middle school, my path was already being set for me. The traditional path for a classical musician that has talent, interest and proclivity is straight and prescribed. In order to reach a high level of excellence on the instrument, proper setup and a deep pursuit of excellence is essential. This type of training sets up an interesting situation: Practice and listen to what your teacher says and live to see another day or, don’t, and leave the art form all together. As I mentioned in this post, I believe that students have many pathways to success and our job is to help them find their pathway. All of this has gotten me thinking: What can teachers do to help students find their path. As …