Classical Music with Shining Eyes

In the video below, Ben Zander (conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and author of the wonderful book The Art of Possibility) presents an engaging talk/performance to a crowd of 1600.  Very few in the audience are experienced classical music enthusiasts, yet he is celebrated with an enthusiastic standing ovationby the end of this 20...

Would You Trade 4 Hours for One Million Dollars?

“Would you trade four hours for $100,000?”  That’s a question I recently asked a class of musicians.  Most raised their hand.  A few wanted to know what they’d have to do.  “Nothing hard or illegal,” I assured.  Then the ante was upped.  “What about for a million dollars?”  Suddenly all hands were reaching high in...

Marketing Is Everything (And Everything is Marketing)

Many musicians incorrectly believe that marketing is synonymous with advertising. Therefore, when trying to increase sales of a (hopefully outstanding) product or service, they focus disproportionate attention on this promotional method. Consider the following scenarios:           An ensemble wants to attract bigger crowds to their...

The Rule of Five

Many musicians despair routinely about how hard it is to succeed in this business: Things have really dried up since the economy went south.  The phone stopped ringing.  There are 500 unsold CDs in the basement collecting dust, and the damned record label fails to advertize it adequately.  A competitor adopted a gimmick, and now unfairly...

The A Capella Auto

It may seem strange for us to feature a singing car on The Savvy Musician Blog.  But this commercial, by Honda, features a 60-person a capella choir performing the soundtrack.  And instead of singing, they make all kinds of wonderful and bizarre sound effects that really “drive” home the experience of this motor vehicle.  In...

Choosing the Perfect Grad School: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at faulty assumptions that many musicians make when seeking a graduate school. So, if you decide to pursue an advanced degree in music, what question should you ask above all others?  In my opinion, this is the most important one: How will this next degree advance my life goals?    Many musicians never...

Choosing the Perfect Grad School: Part 1

The process of choosing the perfect graduate school can be both exhilarating and scary, as you consider the next phase of your life.  But many musicians approach this challenge with a faulty set of assumptions, while failing to explore the most important question.  Assumption #1: Grad school is non-negotiable In the music world, and especially...

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

In this video, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.  Some powerful points he argues include: Creativity is as important as literacy. People don’t grow into creativity, they grow out of it (or are educated out of it).  If you are not...

Isn’t it Time You Became a Savvy Musician?

It’s clear. The evidence is indisputable.  You’re a talented musician.  Really talented.  And accomplished.  You work hard, and have a top notch education.  Heck, you’re even good looking!  A prosperous life in music is nearly guaranteed, no?    Unfortunately, no.  Not by a long shot.  But you surely realize this already.  Being...

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