Ben Redwine gave a wonderful lecture recital about his approach to entrepreneurship. Lisa Canning conducted a brief interview with Ben in which he shared that he was inspired to play clarinet by his grandfather, a clarinetist in one of the WPA bands. He spent the hour creating a wonderful narrative about the various avenues that musicians can pursue while interspersing examples of his own compositions. The central theme in Ben’s lecture was to cultivate as many diverse opportunities as possible, and then develop any avenues that gain traction. He encouraged his audience to view themselves as products which need marketing, development, and business savvy to sell to audiences. Ben did a wonderful job reviewing the many opportunities for diversifying a musician’s career including: teaching, recording, composing and copyriting, having a secondary career, and developing and selling products. For each of these topics, he gave examples from his own life to illustrate how musicians can maximize their earning potential. Using technology to create business opportunities for yourself was something that Ben advocated. This may take the form of a professional website, social media presence, recording yourself to sell CDs, or electronically promoting your concerts for audiences. As a player, he encouraged his listeners to create versatility by playing multiple styles of music in order to increase the size of their potential playing opportunities. Interspersed with the talking portions of the lecture, Tom Mitchell (guitar) and John Previti (bass), joined Ben to play three of his own compositions. In his introductory interview with Lisa, Ben had mentioned that he likes to incorporate classical and jazz into his programs, and talk a small bit about the history or context of a particular piece. His performance delivered exactly those things which created a wonderful opportunity to understand each piece as you listened. Each of the four pieces he performed were charming, balanced, and engaging for the audience. His Jazz Cat transforms easily recognizable themes from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf into beautiful jazz melodies that the three musicians executed beautifully. This piece particularly encapsulated the diversity that Ben Redwine is able to achieve in his own career. He is obviously a master at absorbing his surroundings and turning them in musically satisfying, yet financially viable ventures.
–Notes by Kate Young
Kate Young is a doctoral candidate at Louisiana State University and professor at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana.