Tag Archives: career

New Notes

I took a risk yesterday, and it paid off in a huge way.

I met with the Dean of the school of music, and we negotiated a big shift in my responsibilities in the School of Music. I am stepping down from my role as Director of Small Groups, and taking on the role of Staff Composer. A big chunk of my job from now on will be to compose new music and do some arranging for the ensembles in our school. In the last year, I’ve had several ensemble directors come ask me to write or arrange something, and I’ve had to say no to some of them because of the time constraints, and because they didn’t have room in their individual budgets to pay for new music. This solves both problems in one glorious swoop. I now get to say “yes!”, they get to have new things written specifically for them, I have time to do it, and they don’t have to decide between paying for new music or paying for scholarships (or whatever else they spend money on).

I have loved my role at APU since day one, and I didn’t think it was possible for it to get even better, but this is like a dream come true.

More Things I Said To My Students In Class Today

part 2 in a 586 part series

Very few people are allowed to define their music careers narrowly. People who make a living in this field have to be good at a lot of things, and you don’t know yet what those things are. We rarely get to define ourselves, we rarely get to say, “I am a violinist, and I’m only interested in playing Stravinsky.” You get defined by opportunity and necessity – what becomes available for you to do, and what other people need you to do.

The irony is that the better musician you are at one specific thing, the more people will ask you to do things that are outside of your expertise and training. If you’re good, you’ll be successful at it, and get asked to do it again, or something kind of like it, and then you’ll start drifting from the musical definition you imposed on yourself early on. That’s a good thing.

Your 30-year-old self shouldn’t be held hostage to the predilections of your 18-year-old self. Don’t define yourself narrowly. Grab every tool you can, because none of us knows what we we might need on the journey ahead.