Freelance Music Career

How We Structure Our Freelance Work Retreat (+ a Free Workbook!)

How We Structure Our Freelance Work Retreat (+ a Free Workbook!)

Every spring, my husband Steve and I set aside a few days for a work retreat.

We’re both music freelancers, so this is a time for us to take a step back from our businesses, reflect on the successes and challenges of the past year, evaluate what’s going well and what could be improved, and do some creative planning for the year ahead.

Often, we try to tie this in with a short getaway (because by March or April, we usually have a pretty bad case of cabin fever). In the past, we’ve found affordable rentals on Airbnb (a business expense!) within an hour’s drive and bring our dog Rory, our laptops, a few books, and food and snacks for a few days. 

How to Pursue a Career in Music Ministry

How to Pursue a Career in Music Ministry

Music ministry can be fulfilling, demanding, meaningful, challenging, and deeply rewarding work - sometimes, all at the same time! It’s an opportunity to use your musical skills and experience in service to others; inspire and encourage others in their musical development; help people and nurture them in their faith; and participate in something greater than yourself.

It’s an opportunity to teach, create, inspire, dream, give, grow, and serve.

9 Time-Saving Tools and Tactics for Busy Music Teachers and Directors

9 Time-Saving Tools and Tactics for Busy Music Teachers and Directors

One thing I hear over and over from church musicians and music educators (well, everyone, really) is that there never seems to be enough time to get it all done.

Time to teach
Time to rehearse
Time to write
Time to practice
Time to be with family
Time to be a good friend
Time to read
Time to exercise
Time to learn

Top 10 Résumé Tips for Professional Musicians

Top 10 Résumé Tips for Professional Musicians

A résumé is a professional document representing who you are and what you’ve done in your career.

It shows your qualifications, skills, education, and experience, but it also demonstrates other less-obvious things, like attention to detail, organizational skills, commitment, and even creativity and innovation.

Your résumé tells the story of who you are and what you do.

Now, in terms of look and feel, résumés often follow some sort of template. This varies by industry: some use color blocks and bold fonts, even photos or icons to showcase their work and experience.

7 Things I Didn't Learn in Music School

7 Things I Didn't Learn in Music School

8 a.m. theory classes, 1-credit ensembles, concerts, performances, listening exams, and 10 p.m. practice sessions.

Ah, music school.

I’ve spent my fair share of time in music school: from my undergraduate degree in Piano and Organ Performance to a Master’s and Ph.D. in Music Education, I think it all adds up to 10 years (but who’s really counting?).

And yet, despite all that schooling (and all those recitals and term papers), there were still many things I didn’t know when I started building my career; things I had to figure out on my own and learn with time and practical experience.

7 Insider Tips for Aspiring Music Educators [Video]

7 Insider Tips for Aspiring Music Educators [Video]

Music careers in the 21st century are flexible and diverse, often incorporating more than just one thing. Many of us are freelancers, curating opportunities and crafting a creative career based on our varied skill sets and interests.

We're performers and teachers, writers and creators, collaborators and makers.

I decided to mix things up a bit and offer this post as a mini online workshop.

Today, I'm going to talk about designing and developing your music career, with a focus on music education and ways to incorporate that into the work you do. Because whether or not you pursued or are pursuing a degree in music education, teaching (in one form or another) will invariably be part of your future career, if it isn’t already.

An Inside Look at My Creative Process

An Inside Look at My Creative Process

Creativity is one of those illusive things that’s hard to wrap your mind around sometimes. What is it? Does everyone have it? Can it be developed?

One of the big things I’ve learned about creativity over the past few years is that, more than anything else, creativity is a way of thinking. It’s a way of looking at the world, interacting with it, challenging it; studying things, testing things, and a relentless desire to explore new territory.

Some people naturally tend to think this way, but that doesn’t mean creativity is limited to certain individuals. Creative thinking is a strategy; it’s a skill that can be developed.

Let’s delve into theory for just a minute:

Creative thinking (in any context) has four main components: Flexibility, Fluency, Originality, and Elaboration (source). 

What I'm Working On This Summer

What I'm Working On This Summer

I’ve been a little quiet over here lately, but it’s not for lack of things to say or write about! 

The end of the school/church year is always busy (am I right?!), and this year was no exception (read more about what I've been up to lately below).

I’ve also been hard at work on a few big projects and am right in the middle of planning ahead for some exciting things for the fall.

Today, instead of keeping you all in suspense, I thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes look at exactly what I’m working on this summer.

Enjoy!

How I Use Time-Blocking to Structure My Work Day

How I Use Time-Blocking to Structure My Work Day

Whether you work part-time or full-time, one job or four, in an office or at home, creating a structure for your work day is important to your productivity, creativity, and ultimately, how you feel about your work.

And for those of you who work for yourself and work from home (at least part of the time), boundaries become a necessary part of structuring your day.

Are you prone to burnout? 
Do you work until late at night, on the weekends, and even on vacation?
Do you struggle to follow-through on certain projects?
Do you lose motivation easily?

Setting a few boundaries, blocking your time, and figuring out what time of day you do your best work can help set you up for success each and every day.

Today, I’m walking you through my own process for structuring my work days.

Like many of you, I wear many hats during the week: church musician, worship planner, piano teacher, blogger, small business owner. Sometimes, it feels like I’m just keeping the plates spinning, not necessarily making any progress (how many of you can relate to that?).  

But, with the help of time-blocking and being intentional about how I use my working hours, I’m beginning to reap the rewards of a more focused, productive work-week.

How to Stay Connected As a Music Professional

How to Stay Connected As a Music Professional

The years I spent in music school were some of the most challenging, rewarding, and inspiring years of my career so far.

My technique was in the best shape it's ever been, I knew all the rules of augmented sixth chords (I need to brush up on these!), and I felt very connected to the music world and my network of music peers.

In the months following graduation, I realized the crucial need to stay connected to music as I developed my professional career as a church musician, teacher, and arts administrator.

In music school, we're automatically connected; outside of school, we have to work at it. But, the rewards are great.

By staying connected, you'll continue developing your musicianship throughout your career, have access to more opportunities, grow and change with society, and be better prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century music world. 

Here are a few ways to stay connected - to music, music-making, and the music world, in general - as a music professional: