All posts filed under: education

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 …

Everyone Should Major In Music!

For decades, we have been told not to major in music. We’ve been told that there aren’t any jobs, and the jobs that do exist have job satisfaction rates in the gutter. When are institutions of higher learning going to widen their definition of success when it comes to majoring in music? The path of an artist is often set when they are 10 or 11 years old and someone realizes that the student has a talent or proclivity for the art form. This sets up a traditional path in the arts, which is binary in nature: Option One: Listen to your teacher and keep improving so you can continue being an artist. Option Two: Don’t meet expectations and do something else. To be clear, this path towards artistry makes sense. In order to pursue your art as a career path, you have to be shockingly good at your craft and beat out all your competition. However, with so few jobs to go around for the number of graduates pursuing the dream, something needs to …

Finding your pot of gold: 5 factors to consider when choosing a place to attend college

Congratulations! You are months away from graduation and well on your way to the dream of starting your collegiate career or graduate work! You have received — or are about to receive — letters of acceptance, and now all you need to do is make that all important decision about where you will attend school in the fall.  Here are 5 factors, followed by advice to consider as you choose a place to attend college:

The Real Reasons New Business Generation is Shrinking

Tim Askew’s recent post about the state of entrepreneurship in the US was filled with interesting statistics and a provocative, editorialized rationale for the reason people aren’t launching small businesses.  While nobody would challenge the diminishing  numbers, I think they have less to do with government overreach and more to do with our children not being adequately prepared to creatively lead businesses. In 10+ years of advising students in entrepreneurial endeavors, I have not once heard a student say “I was going to start that business, but overreach by the US government is holding me back.”  For me, it is the constraints our education system has placed on student development that I find most troubling.  Here are three reasons I believe new venture creation is shrinking in America: 1. No Child Left Behind In 2002, I began my career as an elementary school music teacher.  Unfortunately, that was also the first year of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Over two years I witnessed, first-hand, the deconstruction of the arts in the public schools. We are …

The Classical Music Fiscal Cliff—Part I

Our country is quickly approaching another fiscal cliff.  Yikes.  When I hear those words, I always imagine a movie from the 1930’s, the hero—dangling by mere fingertips—tries to avoid her imminent demise, all while the villain laughs mercilessly as the scene plays out.  Fortunately, 100% of the time, the hero miraculously claws her way out of the situation, completely averting danger.  Translate that to our current situation in congress and I think we might actually have a dialogue in the coming weeks that’s productive. (This coming from the eternal optimist.) I’ve been thinking about our nation’s financial situation and, more importantly, about those of us trying to carve out a living in the arts.  While it’s disappointing, I’m not surprised to see the number of 52 week orchestras shrinking, or facing contract negotiations that greatly reduce base salaries.  In the world of classical music, I think it’s safe to say that we’re in the middle of a edge-of-our-seat fiscal cliffhanger. Here is the classical music fiscal cliff as I see it.  We have an over-saturation …