Elite-level coaching for composers who want to
- Work with greater energy and ease
- Get more commissions and performances
- Show up with greater authenticity and confidence
- Nurture a community and make a lasting impact
The Challenge of a Composition Career
Making art is hard. Making a career in art is harder. And—as typically the least collaborative of all artists—composers often struggle the most to fulfill their dreams.
We’ve all been there:
- Staring at a blank screen or page in frustration.
- Worrying about what other people think about our music.
- Feeling daunted about how to get more performances or commissions.
- Overcommitting to projects and then procrastinating our work
And, in overcoming these problems, we often stand in our own way.
We obstruct our own progress despite what we know. Many of us have read all the books on creative processes and careers. We follow the websites and Twitter accounts.
We know what we “should” be doing: reaching out to people, setting a daily routine, sharing on social media, etc. But knowing these things only seems to make it harder. With all those inputs, being the creative people we are, we often come up with too many ideas of how we can do these things.
Thus, before we even get started on any of these tasks, we feel overwhelmed, guilty, and burnt out. And when we do try to execute our career goals, we too often get confused and discouraged, leaving a trail of abandoned, half-completed efforts in our wake.
The Biggest Mistake
The biggest mistake we make is thinking that, if only our music were “good enough,” people would notice and give us all the awards, recognition, and commissions that we dream of.
Composers often cast “good enough” in technical terms and refer to it as their artistic “voice,” the unique blend of stylistic traits in the their music. That view about voice is wrong—or, at best, self-defeatingly myopic.
In fact, Your Voice consists of much more than style or technique. It is composed of four dimensions—stories, process, technique, and relationships—that interact like the four parts of a chorale.
When one of those parts is out of harmony or missing, it creates a confusing sound that turns people off what you have to share. When all four parts are in harmony, Your Voice sings out clearly and powerfully—enabling you most fully to create the artistic life and impact you envision.
Becoming an Empowered Composer requires a process of, first, Owning Your Voice—that is, bringing the four parts of Your Artistic Chorale in tune—and then, Honing Your Voice—adding greater nuance and counterpoint.
How Harmonized is Your Voice?
Take the “Own Your Voice” self-assessment and find out!
My Journey to Owning My Voice
For the longest time, I fell into that very trap. Despite my getting accepted to competitive programs like Brandeis’s PhD program and the Brevard Music Festival, my music never got the traction that I hoped it would.
I thought the problem could be solved by throwing more technique at it. It never did—and it never would.
Instead, in completing my PhD, I found answers to all my technical questions. I learned the creative processes and thought processes for making technical decisions I could stand behind. This understanding clicked into place as I was writing my dissertation. Only then did I realize, “I’ve been working so hard on climbing this ladder, but I’ve been leaning my ladder against the wrong wall this whole time!”
I realized that myopically focusing on technique is actually a way of hiding artistically. If I wanted career success, I had to own my voice, and that only happens by nurturing my stories, relationships, and processes in tandem with my technique.
It took me almost two decades as a composer to come to this realization. I don’t want you to struggle with this. You don’t have to struggle with it.
“Own Your Voice” Coaching
As a coach for composers, I can help you accomplish in months what it took me years and decades to see.
I work with clients on all aspects of their voice:
- We begin with a 2-hour, deep assessment and goal-setting call, based on your initial self-assessment.
- Over a 3-, 6-, or 12-month period, we work on all aspects of Your Voice, including
- Seeing one or more creative projects through to completion, including digging into its artistic and technical details (Technique)
- Identifying and documenting your best creative practices (Process)
- Exploring and honing your “behind the scenes” stories and also refining or replacing your “worldview” stories (Stories)
- Developing an action plan for you to distribute your work, leading to future performances and commissions (Relationships)
- I provide supportive accountability throughout to help you stay on track and evaluate your progress.
Together, we can take your career to the next level:
- You can own your “behind the scenes” stories, using them more fully to inspire your work and nurture your relationships.
- You can transform your “worldview” stories and come to see how you, too, can make a national- or even international-level impact.
- You can put in place the processes for composing, collaborating, networking, and distribution that enable that impact to happen without becoming overwhelmed and with minimal stress.
- You can find your technical confidence that will allow all stages of composing to be fun and joyful. And when you get stuck, you’ll have an arsenal of tried-and-true processes to move forward with minimal anxiety.
- You can develop personal relationships and a public persona that inspire people and create the kind of communities of which people want to be a part.
These changes are not for everyone. They take steady dedication over time and an enormous amount of courage. If this is for you, I want to help you achieve your dreams. Let me show you want we can accomplish together.