Let's Get Together (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah): The Art of Collaboration


Hi from NYC!

SD and I are here for the Chamber Music America conference and Eastman's pre-conference day workshop - "How to Succeed in a Changing Musical World," which SD helped organize.

There's been a lot of talk so far about collaboration, relationship-building, and community - I love that! Today, I wanted to share my notes from a talk Darrell Grant gave on collaboration. Whether you're a chamber musician, church music director, teacher, or arts administrator, we all collaborate in one way or another. I hope you find these notes as encouraging and empowering as I did!

"Don't Go It Alone: Enrich Your Performances Through Collaboration" Darrell Grant Eastman School of Music / Chamber Music America Pre-Conference Day Workshop

As musicians, we're often focused on building our own careers: "my name, my music, my image, my success." Do we focus too much on the "I" in creation?

Collaboration may be defined as "working together on creating solutions and acknowleding shared goals." Darrell added, "It is an intrinsic reality of the artistic process; it expands our community."

Here are five core principles of collaboration:

1. Put sharing your mission front and center
2. Bring your whole self to the collaboration not just your "job" skills
3. Collaboration is people to people not art form to art form
4. Collaborations don't have to be formal; partners don't have to be equal
5. The more you collaborate, the more you will be asked to collaborate

There are a few barriers to collaboration - the first is money. Another is leadership - namely, acknowledging the contributions and co-leadership of others. Collaboration is a give and take - we have to be willing to do both. Other barriers include stubborness - resistance to asking for help (or not knowing when to ask for help) and helplessness - not knowing who to ask for help.

Ready to collaborate? Start with these three questions:

1. What do people need? What do I need?
2. What am I willing to share? (i.e. Where am I willing to let others in?)
3. How can I help?

Projects are a means to serving your mission - as an artist, as an ensemble, or as an organization. Whatever your field, find people that share your mission and tell a story together.

See the slides from this presentation and the rest of the Pre-Conference Day here.