21 Inspirational Quotes for the 21st Century Musician

21 Inspirational Quotes for the 21st Century Musician

What does it mean to be a musician in the 21st century?

SD and I talk about this often. From where we stand, the 21st century requires musicians to be flexible, creative, and versatile, possessing a wide variety of skills that can be used in a wide variety of settings. Instead of doing just one thing, we (and many of our friends) have built careers doing many different things - teaching, performing, writing/blogging, presenting, directing, and working in arts administration.Some call it freelancing, others call it "music entrepreneurship," or being a "portfolio musician."

Regardless of the label, we feel being a musician in the 21st century means you are your own business. It's more than just playing your instrument or landing a dream job. It's more than just "being the best." Being my own business means curating great opportunities, managing my time well, and adding value through several types of work. This gives me creative liberty to use my unique skills and experiences in meaningful ways.

Whether you're just getting started or you've built a successful music career, here are 21 inspirational quotes for you, the 21st century musician:

On Being an Entrepreneur

Do your best. Hold fast to your core values. Create something that matters. Do good work. Help others. Be kind. Add value to those around you.

These statements are very much in line with my core values as a teacher and business owner.

I want to encourage creativity in others, share learning experiences, and inspire those who have a passion for making music.  The words above remind me to focus on the things that add value, promote excellence, and make a difference to someone.

It was never about how to make money or be "successful" (as others define it).  Those of you who consider yourself entrepreneurs or creatives know what I'm talking about.  We do what we do because our heart and soul demand it.  It's not about power or prestige, it's about creating a legacy that you can be proud of.

It's about holding on to your values and the things that make you YOU.  It's about being honest and authentic in the work you do and the relationships you build.  These things are at the heart of our passion, aren't they?  It's that desire to do something meaningful, make something beautiful, and see things from new perspectives.

I find an immense amount of hope and inspiration and possibility in these words - I hope you do, too.

Free Webinar: Presenting Concerts in Your Local Community



Ever wondered how musicians can afford to give concerts for free? Interested in learning more about how Steve and I built the Westminster Chamber Music Workshop (WCMW)? Want an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the chamber music series? Join us for an exciting presentation and live Q&A on Monday, March 19 from 8:00-9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time presented by the popular young musician initiative, Polyphonic On-Campus. It's free!

PRESENTING CONCERTS IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY Creative Ideas for Making Concerts Happen Anywhere Presented by WCMW Artistic Directors, Ashley and Steve Danyew

As musicians, we love to put on concerts, perform for others, showcase our friends, and share our passion for music with all kinds of audiences.  Organizing a concert or a series of events can seem daunting, and we often make excuses why it's not possible or won't be successful.  In this webinar, we will discuss how we made music happen in our community – from finding sources of funding, to finding performers and venues, to building a local audience base, and more!  We will use the Westminster Chamber Music Workshop (WCMW), a chamber music series based in a small New England town as a case study for thinking about creative ways to make music happen in any community – large or small.  This webinar will give you the tools to create your own opportunities for music-making and presenting.  There is always a way to make it happen - we just need to be creative!



Location: Your computer.  With the power of the wonderful world-wide web, you can join us from the comforts of your living room, fuzzy slippers and all!  Platform details to follow once you are registered.  Click here to sign up for the free webinar.

Making Opportunities Happen

I’ve often been advised to “make the most of opportunities” – I’m sure you’ve been there, too.  Sometimes an opportunity presents itself out of nowhere – maybe it’s an extra time commitment, maybe it’s out of your comfort zone and just when you’ve convinced yourself to pass it by, suddenly the opposing voice in your head says, “Wouldn’t this be a great experience?”  In my case, the opposing voice usually wins.

I recently had a conversation with my dad about this very thing.  In fact, he even quoted my opening statement.  As we continued our conversation, we talked about the importance of making opportunities happen.  It’s great when opportunities just pop up in front of you (Hi!  I’m Mr. Opportunity!) but let’s face it – sometimes the opportunities just aren’t there.  The economy struggles, organizations lose funding, no one is hiring.  Have you experienced this?  How do you respond?

It starts with a problem.  Problems are everywhere!  Pick one and figure out how you can solve it with your given skillset.

Problem: I moved to a town with no community music programs. Solution: open a piano studio (I have nine students after four months) and start two children’s choirs (I have fourteen enrolled this year).  I had to think beyond my comfort zone (i.e. teaching in an established organization where marketing and administration is taken care of by someone else) but as a result of thinking entrepreneurially, I now have the flexibility to set my own schedule and create my own teaching environment.

Problem: there are no opportunities for amateur musicians to come together to play or listen to chamber music in town. Solution: start a summer chamber music workshop.  I give you the Westminster Chamber Music Workshop – a week-long series of coachings, rehearsals, and special events for amateur players and choral singers in the area to come together to network, learn, and make music.  Special events each night will feature guest artists in performance and lecture – free and open to the public!

It’s not always about making the most of opportunities… sometimes it’s just about making the opportunities happen.