All posts filed under: strategy

Announcing the Launch of the Colburn Fortissima Project!

On Saturday, the Colburn office of Community Engagement and Career Development will launch the Fortissima Fellowship. Designed and implemented by Jazmín Morales, Fortissima is an artistic and leadership development fellowship for young women of color in classical music. The program provides private instruction and leadership development training to a cohort of young women of color with high ability on their instrument and an interest in pursuing a career in music. The program will bridge gaps in the pipeline of music training by providing critical tools that are otherwise inaccessible to many young women of color studying music — specifically, private instruction, which can be extremely cost prohibitive even for middle class families, and leadership development training, which is often overlooked, yet imperative for young artists of color who have to advocate strongly for themselves in order to succeed — so that they may thrive in a competitive environment like a collegiate conservatory of music, and eventually, a professional orchestra. Fortissima fits well with the programmatic offerings currently offered at Colburn. For the past six years, …

One Big Secret to a Sustainable Arts Organization: Stop trying to take over the universe with your ideas.

  Over the past decade, I have observed the Walmart mentality permeate the zeitgeist of our field. Build a large, national business or organization and you will have a path to sustainability. Many arts leaders, particularly those who are just starting their organizations, come to me with the vision of scaling an idea nationally, or even internationally. The thought is that if they could just scale an artistic project or organization, they would find long-term programmatic and financial stability. There are three large issues that I see passionate arts leaders missing as they build their organizations: They don’t have a strategy for building a staff before pushing forward a vision for a national organization. While there may be potential for an entity to grow and have a real impact nationally, leadership must develop a strategy for building a staff along with the organizational mission and vision. Absent this strategy, leadership is put in a position of taking on more responsibility than they are able, dramatically impacting the organization’s ability to scale. Arts organizations with ambitions to …

How I Think about Programmatic Excellence at Colburn

Last week, I wrote this post about ways to tip the scales towards programmatic excellence. Here are five reflections on how I set up programming at Colburn: Give your program time. I was fortunate to be given a year to identify the needs of the Los Angeles community and see how Colburn was best suited to help. Tip: Start by developing a strategy for your organization. You will move faster when you have an institution-wide vision for your program.   Connect the dots. When I arrived at Colburn, I noticed that we had a few broad-based programs that provided very nice experiences for students and faculty, but didn’t produce the deep engagement present in our other school divisions. The sequential learning necessary for deep engagement simply wasn’t there. There was a lot of pride in preexisting programming (some programs had be going on for decades). I worked to honor those programs by pairing them with new programming that provided deep engagement for interested students. Tip: There is often pride of and sensitivity about preexisting programming when new initiatives start. Instead of cancelling …

5 Tips for Tipping the Scales Towards Excellence

On the left is a photo of me at age three, on the right, my daughter at the same age. I loved the violin and had supportive parents to guide me. Both artists, they had the cultural affluence to make certain I practiced every day and they expected excellence from the start. Now, 37 years later, my wife and I have the same expectations for our children as they start their lives as artists. It is through this personal lens that I think about the way many organizations serve high-need students as many programs are set up with an eye towards

8 Tips for a Successful Arts Based Community Engagement Program

The nation’s top arts organizations are increasingly thinking about how to better serve their community. At Colburn, we are in a unique position. Our mission is to provide music education at the highest level, but we are also a presenting organization, providing countless professional level performances for the greater Los Angeles Community. The Colburn Community Engagement office was formed five years ago to deepen our relationship with the surrounding community and I’d like to share with you eight tips to consider as you develop your own engagement programs.