Law of Attraction

Catching up on the last couple Strings mag issues. Is it because of where my mind is focused? Dunno – but the normally staid, conservative, traditional, stuffy mag devoted to classical music seems to be getting a shakeup.

Articles covering alternative styles. Shocking, right? 

Among the traditional articles about technique, auctions, notable recordings of old music, instrument care, are these:

Jazz violinist Sara Caswell on the art of being yourself. And:

How well do US conservatories prepare music students? Many are catching up to the 21st century, starting to teach students things like technology, running your music biz, the need to have more than one paying job after graduation, helping graduates have viable careers considering there are far more musicians than orchestra openings -, and alternative careers for musicians.

The new initiatives at conservatories come as the classical music industry is becoming tougher and students need to be fully prepared for what lies ahead.

Then there’s the San Francisco Conservatory of Music – beginning in the Fall of 2015, a new curriculum – new tech lab, courses in improv, MBA – based business studies, studies on the creation of music for film, games, video, and other multimedia.

The Frost School of Music in Miami is collaborating with record label Universal Music Classics to reinvigorate both. This joint effort covers:

concert programming, new recording paradigms, audience development, entrepreneurship, touring, stage presence, long-term career development, and business management

Wow – and up till recently, conservatories taught performance and theory. Which today is largely impractical if that’s all there is.

Then there’s the story about cellist Maya Beiser embracing classic rock:

People should be able to embrace who they are, and the classical world needs to get less uptight.

An article about California violinist Gabi Holzwarth. While a fantastic musician, she never wanted to play professionally because it just wasn’t cool. She graduated as a history major. Started playing her violin on the street to make money, better pay than any “real” jobs. She did it for two months. Popular tunes and improv. Played along to tracks she downloaded to her iPhone on Spotify.

She got the attention of a prominent Silicon Valley investor. Which lead her to gigs with Samsung, LinkedIn, Google, art museums, and private jets. Point is, she was first a “classical” violinist but branched way the heck out.

Her motto? Never ask permission. You just go, and then you ask forgiveness.

High school string player? There has never been a more exciting time to be one.

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