Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Until Next Year

2014-08-07What a whirlwind of a conference! With a record of more than 1400 registrants, this has been said to be the largest ClarinetFest to date. Bravo to Mr. Robert DiLutis and his team on an extremely successful conference, and bravo for choosing such a relevant topic. With workshops on navigating social media, marketing, and creating your own business along with traditional classes on reeds, masterclasses, and excerpts, clarinetists were given a wealth of information to help make them more well-rounded and prepared professionals of today. In today’s musical marketplace, musicians are not only expected to play styles from jazz to classical, but they must be able to create a concert series, build an audience, and function as an educator in order to remain relevant. Does this seem daunting? Of course it does, but none of these things in and of themselves are impossible, it’s about finding your voice, and with the tools from this year’s ClarinetFest, young and established professionals alike are more prepared for the changing face of our field.
All that being said, in addition to navigating a “business model,” we have to have the goods. The best marketing strategy, most inventive ideas, and attractive personalities are meaningless if you do not have the artistic skills and technique as a foundation for your musical endeavors. With inspiring concerts and recitals throughout each day and closing each evening, we were constantly reminded of the fierce dedication we must have to our craft and the level of excellence we must strive for.
For more details about entrepreneurship and the world of clarinet, search this blog. Each blog is tagged with topics such as entrepreneurship, bass clarinet, jazz, the names of specific artists performing and presenting, etc. See you at ClarinetFest 2015 in Madrid, Spain hosted by Pedro Rubio and Justo Sanz!

–Notes by Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales is a master’s student at DePaul University studying with Julie DeRoche and Larry Combs. She currently teaches at The People’s Music School and performs witThe Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.

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Building the Audiences of the Future: Creating Educational Concerts for the Very Young with Barbara Hankins and The Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet

Canadian clarinetist Barbara Hankins and her quartet the Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet (Cathy Erskine, Lynne Milnes and Carla Perrotta) presented a lecture about building audiences and creating educational programming. This presentation was one of the single most practical and worthwhile demonstrations of the entire conference. Hankins and her group played excerpts from programs of their own creation, developed for elementary-aged children. These original “mini music dramas” contained text, poetry, costumes, singing, motions, imagery, and carefully selected musical excerpts delightfully arranged for the quartet.  The incredible effort that went in to creating these programs seems overwhelming.

My favorite story that the group presented during this lecture was “The Three Musical Pigs and the Wolf.” Connecting with a well-known children’s story, the three little pigs in this version each had a favorite composer: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. The quartet performed an excerpt from famous music from each composer whenever each individual pig was referenced in the story (e.g. Rondo Alla Turca, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony). The performers sang, used props (piggy ears on headbands, fuzzy brown gloves for the wolf), and encouraged audience participation through hand motions allowing the children to play a part in the drama (students were asked to help by blowing each time they heard the well-known phrase “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down”). The performers kept up fast-paced action by incorporating variety in short snippets: playing their instruments, singing, acting, and allowing the audience to participate; no giant chunks of narration allow boredom to creep in for young children with their short attention spans.

There is a huge educational push these days for student engagement, and lecturing from the front of the classroom is no longer acceptable. Teachers must plan interactive activities to encourage active participation in learning. This impressive presentation by Barbara Hankins and the Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet should be a model presented to elementary teachers of all subjects, as it incorporates almost every identified learning style: auditory, visual, kinesthetic and linguistic. Ladies, have you thought of publishing/copyrighting your programs? Teachers everywhere would line up to buy a copy!

–Notes by Melissa Bowles Snavely
Melissa Bowles Snavely holds degrees in performance and music education from The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins, Shenandoah Conservatory, and James Madison University. She currently teaches and performs in the Washington DC area.

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The 21st Century Musician: A Lecture with Kip Franklin and Jessica Harrie Holden

As performers, we all know how difficult it can be to fill concert venues with warm bodies. Kip Franklin and Jessica Harrie Holden presented a lecture, “The 21st Century Musician: Recruiting and Sustaining an Audience Through Social Media, Outreach, and Versatile Programming,” that shows musicians how to use social media and other similar platforms to create a strong following. However, aside from using the normal forms of outreach, it is important for today’s musicians to consider thinking outside of the traditional concert venues. By making performances more accessible to your local community, performers can build a strong following. By taking performances outside the concert halls and into uncharted territory, musicians can ensure that that their art is presented to a wider audience. –Notes By Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr. Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr. teaches at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville as Lecturer in Clarinet and currently performs with the Tri-Cities Opera Company in Binghamton, New York.

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Conversations with Weber: A lecture with Jenny Maclay

In a short yet informative presentation, Jenny Maclay provided a brief outline of the life of Carl Maria von Weber.  Her lecture was dense with information including career highlights, legacy, lesser known history, and professional affiliations.  Taking great pains to uncover details and truths about Weber, her curiosity and intrigue led her to a rare find, a living descendant of Weber in her home state of Alabama.

The bulk of her research focused on tracking Weber’s lineage as told through Weber’s great-great-great granddaughter, Patricia Grover.  Not a musician herself, Grover was thrilled when a member of the music community reached out to her to learn more about her family tree.  Offering her resources freely, Maclay and Grover have forged an unlikely friendship that is sure to benefit the community as a whole.  Most recently, Grover spoke about an old family trunk filled with generations of memorabilia and history.  Maclay hopes to make a visit soon to see the trunk firsthand and examine its contents.  Attendees immediately requested she compile her findings in a book in hopes that she finds rare Weber manuscripts and other historical pieces.

A large portion of Weber’s history was lost  as a result of their immigration from Switzerland.  It is Maclay’s belief that in order to better understand the future of the clarinet community, we must better understand our past.  Traditions from the past influence our present and future, so it is the obligation of the performer and entrepreneur to make the past relevant to today’s musician.

–Notes by Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales is a master’s student at DePaul University studying with Julie DeRoche and Larry Combs.  She currently teaches at The People’s Music School and performs with The Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.

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Think Outside the Concert Hall: Building your Musical Enterprise with Kliment Krylovskiy

Kliment Krylovskiy of the Zodiac Trio and Zodiac Music Academy & Festival led an evocative class on entrepreneurship.  With a background in PR and marketing, his thoughts on building an artistic presence were especially compelling.  “Every performance, no matter how big or small, should be seen as an opportunity to remind the musical community that you exist.”  Krylovskiy personally does this with visually appealing  newsletter that he sends to an extensive mailing list he’s built over the years.  He also recommended maintaining a regular website, using social media, and using traditional press releases with media outlets. These forms of communication should be used to inform your audience anytime something beneficial happens for you (aside from a press release).  This will keep you constantly in the mind of others, exactly where you want to be.

Another important aspect is your performance reputation.  To expand a performance schedule musicians should seek out venues (churches, community centers, libraries, unique spaces, etc), apply to perform at showcases (such as CMA), contact presenters using the Musical America database, contact presenters from other artists’ schedules, and self-produce concerts.  One way this can be done is through collaboration.  Collaborating with composers can be an artistically fulfilling experience as well as leading to artistic residencies.  Setting a long-term goal or project for yourself could also be another tactic to expand your schedule.  This could include anything from having a concert series to hosting a summer festival.

As your organization grows, Krylovskiy highly encouraged developing educational programming.  Many grants are offered for community programming, and in his experience, often times groups with at least some educational initiative will be  chosen to perform at a festival or showcase over an ensemble who focuses solely on artistic endeavors.  In a very practical sense, educational programming is a way to insure you have a future audience, add income, and make yourself more marketable to presenters.

–Notes by Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales is a master’s student at DePaul University studying with Julie DeRoche and Larry Combs.  She currently teaches at The People’s Music School and performs with The Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.

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Breathing Life into the Clarinet – Dr. Shawn Copeland

Dr. Copeland led a workshop on breathing and the body with the audience up on their feet, participating in awareness exercises.  The first exercise focused on awareness of the body and how change of focus and attention affected breathing.  At first, Dr. Copeland had the audience stand with closed eyes and focus only on breathing, reminding the audience to be aware of “the space above your head, and the space behind your back.”  Gradually, he had the audience open their eyes and transition from focusing on one person, to several, to widening their attention to the entire room.  Through this exercise, he demonstrated that breathing is easily and dramatically changed through lessened focus on the space of the self.  He encouraged the audience to always remember that “I have space”– space to move in, space to breathe in, space simply to exist!

Following the first exercise, Dr. Copeland gave a detailed lecture on the anatomy from a Body Mapping standpoint.   Dr. Copeland explained the body map as a physical and literal map of locations and interactions within the body.  These maps influence all body motion, and are continually evolving and changing as the body develops. Occasionally, however, the maps don’t “update,” which leads to injuries.  Dr. Copeland stressed that “the quality of the map influences the quality of the movement.  The quality of the movement affects the quality of the sound.”

Dr. Copeland shared a multitude of helpful anatomical and diagnostic information about the body, specifically related to posture (spine/arm/clavicle curvature and alignment) and breathing (shape, length, and function of the lungs).  Throughout this discussion he consistently advocated getting the mind out of the way and allowing the body to do what it is built to do, stating that “if the intention is clear, the breathing will automatically regulate.”

For more information, clarinetists can look for Dr. Shawn Copeland’s soon-to-be-published book, What Every Clarinetist Needs to Know About the Body (GIA).

–Notes by Nora Shaffer
 Nora Shaffer,  a recent DePaul University graduate (CER ‘14, MM ‘12), is a passionate performer and dedicated teacher in the ChicagoLand area. Additionally, she is Principal and E-flat Clarinetist with the Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet.

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Shared Recital: Stephan Vermeersch and Jacques Merrer

MerrerRecitalIt appears bass clarinet is the new black when it comes to new music. Stephan Vermeersch performed four very different yet very new and exciting works featuring the instrument during his shared recital at 4:00 p.m. in Shaver Theatre, Saturday. The first, Eric Honour’s Quirk for Bass Clarinet and Computer, made audiences want to get up and dance, wondering  if DJs would soon begin lugging basses to their gigs, along with turntables and other electronica.

Vermeersch played along with a click track, executing slap tonguing passages and other extended techniques as the piece jived through a catchy prerecorded hip hop beat, along with a bevy of distortions and computer-generated sound effects. Audience members recognized the sound of a record scratching on the prerecorded track, whereas the distorted bass clarinet sound was reminiscent of the Mario Brothers Nintendo game circa 1992 or alien-esque sounds à la The X-Files. At other times, it was hard to tell which sounds were acoustic, which were distortions and which were prerecorded. Vermeersch was truly in his element, executing a flawless rendition.

When introducing the next two pieces, Vermeersch charmed the audience by divulging that the two men to be performing with him were his soul mates. He played Dan Becker’s Better Late for Two Bass Clarinets with Richard Nunemaker, which started out in perfect unison, gradually broke apart into a telegraphing, minimalist riff resembling a skipping record, and culminated in a warmhearted high five and hug between the two friends. Rocco Parisi joined Vermeersch for Marc Mellits’s bluesy Black for Two Bass Clarinets next.

Vermeersch ended with the U.S. premier of his own composition, WE for Bass Clarinet and 5 Desk Bells, published just this year. Flying through harmonics, slap tonguing and other extended techniques with circular breathing to keep up the momentum, Vermeersch tapped the five desk bells—each one a different color, like a child’s glockenspiel—with his left foot. A true test of coordination on top of the skill it took to simply play the bass clarinet the way Vermeersch did, WE held the audience captivated.

The second half of the recital showcased the other auxiliary instrument we all know and love, the E-flat (and D) clarinet. Jacques Merrer played three baroque transcriptions of works by Vivaldi, Albinoni and Johann Melchior Molter with a sweet sound as his faithful collaborator, Dianne Frazer, kept steady time on the harpsichord. The music was a welcome change from the newer, albeit beautiful, music that audience members had been enjoying the rest of the week up to that point. With performances of works hot off the presses and classics predating the clarinet, this recital proved to be an interesting look at the chronological bookends of music.

–Notes by Alaina Pritz
Alaina Pritz is a recent graduate from The University of Maryland and currently plays with The United State Air Force Band – Band of the Golden West.

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Anderson Lecture: How to Reach 100,000 People With Your Clarinet-Related Business in One Year

Ms. Anderson, founder of the company Clarinet Mentors, gave a highly informative lecture on creating a clarinet-related business. First, decide what services you can offer, such as lessons in your own studio, online lessons (Skype), your own online musical course, your clarinet gadget, your recordings, compositions, book, or musical services for weddings and events. Once you have a product or service, you need to reach your ideal audience. She says “You want people to find you. You owe it to the world to be found!” YouTube is great for this. Ms. Anderson gives several tips on how to make a video that is easy to find. For example, you can upload a transcript of your video to YouTube, which along with tags and phrases in the video description, will make the video more readily available. There are so many ways to reach people now that weren’t available even 10 years ago, another of which is targeted Facebook ads. She also gives some sound business advice: have a full money-back guarantee, but also offer something extra in case of customer dissatisfaction, such as a free stay at a bed and breakfast. This will inspire confidence and boost your business. A great lecture with useful advice for creating a business to share your ideas with the world!

–Notes by Sam Davies
Sam Davies recently completed his first year of DMA study with Dr. Guy Yehuda at Michigan State University. At MSU Davies can be heard performing with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, chamber ensembles, and new student compositions.

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Denise Gainey/Diane Barger Lecture: Collabora​tive Teaching and Learning in the Studio

In 2009, Dr. Diane Barger began a unique teaching experience in her studio at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During their lessons, Barger would record a short clip of the student’s playing. The clip was then uploaded to a private Facebook group where all of the students made comments, including on their own lesson’s video. In the fall of 2013 the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Alabama Birmingham studio (of Dr. Denise Gainey) started the same exercise of recording weekly lessons, and then four times throughout the semester the two studios would have lesson videos uploaded onto a collaborative Facebook group where students would posts comments on the other studio’s lesson videos. This new collaborative approach has several advantages for both students and teachers. The teachers are better able to see how their students are learning through the students’ own comments. The students find their own voice and open up to becoming future teachers, and are exposed to peers outside of their own institution with instant collaboration among people their own age. The students’ learning continues past the lesson for a better experience, and gives them something to go back to later. Students also learn to model their comments from their teacher’s comments during these virtual masterclasses.  A cross-pollination opportunity for the two professors emerges to share pedagogical ideas between themselves and their studios. An interesting and effective use of technology to create a collaborative and interactive learning experience!

–Notes by Sam Davies
Sam Davies recently completed his first year of DMA study with Dr. Guy Yehuda at Michigan State University. At MSU Davies can be heard performing with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, chamber ensembles, and new student compositions.

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The Entrepreneur with Lisa Canning

Canning

Lisa Canning presented a heartfelt lecture on entrepreneurship that left everyone inspired. She shared personal experiences that led her throughout her varied career from aspiring clarinet performer, to retail shop owner, to educator.

The interactive presentation began with Canning asking the audience if they consider themselves to be 21st-century artists. The answers that were provided by the audience sparked a discussion that led to many definitions of a “21st century artist,” which was defined as someone who does many things that could include innovator, performer, teacher, composer, arranger, or sales person.

Canning shared several stories of her home life as a child that shaped her as a person, musician, and helped her decide her direction in life. These stories demonstrated great emotion, which followed with a challenge to each audience member to ask themselves “Why do we do what we do?” and explore ourselves to put our respective motivation into words.

Examples of entrepreneurship in different fields were given to show the imaginative ways to create a career. Another factor that was stressed was healthy self-esteem, which is necessary to become an entrepreneur. Canning goes on to discuss how we, as musicians and artists, can take what we are passionate about and create a new direction in our careers.

This presentation was very effective and challenged everyone to think how we can change the future of the arts by being creative and innovative.

–Notes by Dr. Jackie McIlwain
Dr. Jackie McIlwain is the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Southern Mississippi. She currently plays with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Meridian Symphony Orchestra.

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