Creating Sustainability as an Entrepreneurial Musician

Jon Silpayamanant as a Klingon Cellist at the Joliet Public Library Annual Star Wars Day in the Chicago-land area.

Jon Silpayamanant as a Klingon Cellist at the Joliet Public Library Annual Star Wars Day in the Chicago-land area.

“An educated person is one who has learned that information almost always turns out to be at best incomplete and very often false, misleading, fictitious, mendacious – just dead wrong.”
~ Russell Baker

I’ve been blogging about the economics of large scale organizations a lot lately and must confess that it’s related to research I’ve been doing with my wife in the service of figuring out how and why things work in the field(s) of performance.  One of our future goals is to have a side business consulting for performers and we believe that understanding what works and what doesn’t work is going to be far more useful than just accepting untested or unquestioned received wisdom.

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Professional Development for Musicians

The mbira is a thumb piano found in the music of Eastter and Southern Africa

This seems like an odd idea in many respects, but for those of us who are classically trained musicians, it’s really precisely what we do when we go to music school, right?  Also, all those masterclasses and workshops we take on our principal instrument in addition to those rarer occasions when we study with a master musician on our principal instruments who happen to not be a master in the instrument we’re playing–these all count.

And why do we do this anyway?  Obviously there some level of mastery we’d like to reach with our instruments, and if we bother to do these workshops, masterclasses, clinics and lessons then we surely must feel like we still have something to learn about the craft of music.

Then there are those rarer occurrences of musicians who study two or more instruments.  Usually this would include wildly unrelated instruments (e.g. voice/violin; piano/cello) though usually the instruction usually encompasses studying with musicians within one particular (e.g. classical) tradition on both instruments.  We occasionally encounter some of these ‘double majors’ at music schools and in some sense we’ve all had some of this kind of instruction (speaking strictly from the standard classical music training environment) as many of us have gone through the dreaded piano proficiency classes, lessons and test/juries.

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