An inspiration bomb exploded in my head last night at the first meeting for NYFA's (New York Foundation for the Arts) Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. I'm honored to have been asked to serve as a mentor this year. For the next few months, I'll be mentoring a very talented Australian theatre artist, Tina Mitchell, who wants to put up her company's work in NYC. For the first meeting, the mentors and mentees all got a chance to meet each other à la speed-dating format. It was really cool to see so much intensely creative and original work from the mentees. After the jump, I've included samples from visual artists that really stood out to me including street art using plants, portraits using blueprints and shadow photography, and conceptual art inspired by belonging to three cultures. There were so many wonderful, talented mentees I met- I'm sorry that I didn't include everyone!
FAQ Friday: Would it be better for me to be a more established performer (website/touring/CDs,etc.) before commissioning new works?
Q: Would it be better for me to be a more established performer (website/touring/CDs,etc.) before commissioning new works? Will it drastically make it harder to obtain funding if I'm not already some kind of established new music performer?
I received this question via e-mail shortly after attending the glorious new music "unconference," New Music Gathering, where I served on a panel about commissioning new music. I was inspired afterwards to continue the discussion by hosting an upcoming Musochat, a weekly open conversation on twitter about new music. To learn more about Musochat and how to join the conversation, read below or follow this link. Read my answer to this week's FAQ after the jump.
Seth Godin is a marketing guru, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of books such as "Purple Cow" and "Linchpin" (my personal faves) where he writes on post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, and leadership. You're probably wondering what this marketing guy could possibly teach you about being a better musician or artist. Because of Godin, I've learned how to do work that matters, create real value, and face the fear (plus a lot more than I can write in one post). He frequently gives talks to music students- here is a recent one he gave at Carnegie Hall. These are my three favorite Seth Godin quotes and lessons after the jump.
Q: How do you book your own performances?
In the last several years, I've booked my own concerts at recital halls like Symphony Space and Kennedy Center, clubs like le poisson rouge, cultural centers like Asia Society Texas Center and Korean Cultural Service NY, multiple universities, and house concerts (you can read more here). I think the most important thing when trying to create performance opportunities is to 1) consider what stage you're at in your career, 2) what kind of music you're performing and its potential audience, and 3) lastly, figuring out where you have the most chance of bringing and creating value.
Earlier in the fall, I was invited by The Center for Music Entrepreneurship to speak at one of their Setting the Stage workshops called "Booking and Promoting Your Own Performances." The night before, I remember thinking, "How did I book these things?" I went back to try to remember how I sent a proposal, why I approached a certain venue, through whom I got invited to perform, etc. I offer a few tips and advice from my personal experience after the jump.
Q: What suggestions could you give somebody who just moved into the city and wants to open a piano studio?
I have been teaching independently for the last 10 years. I enjoy teaching and love being around children, and I do enough to have the balance and flexibility to allow me to work on my performance projects.
There are benefits to both teaching independently through starting your own studio and also working through a school program, which is why I do both. I started my own teaching studio in DC and then again in New York City after moving- it's taken me about three years to have 30 students with a waiting list here. This is by far the most frequently asked question, so I've answered with an outline after the jump.