Road of Creativity Blog page 2

Making It in the Music World

making it in music

Do you have what it takes to make it in the music world?
Do you know what it takes to make it?
What is “making it,” anyway? Read More

Mind the Gap

mind the gap

You know, the one that exists between that which you know and do not know.  This has been a focus of our discussions lately in my saxophone studio at the University of Georgia.  This gap produces discomfort of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of lack of productivity.  It unglues the familiar, the foundation upon which past accomplishments have been achieved.  The fear of releasing the familiar for the unfamiliar produces resistance, confusion and frustration.  And questions.  Lots of questions. Read More

Invest in Yourself


I can say with honesty that the first time I spent money that felt like an investment with a tangible return was when I commissioned Dutch composer JacobTV in 2002 to write a new work for alto saxophone and boombox, entitled Billie.   The tangible return was the obvious: a new piece of music that I owned rights to for one year and was going to premiere at the 2003 World Saxophone Conference in Minneapolis.  Despite the commissioning fee that was beyond my means at the time, the investment felt right; I was sure about that because Jacob’s music set my thoughts on fire. Read More

“Get Taken In”: ROC Ensemble Debut

ROC Ensemble Silly

Road of Creativity welcomes guest blogger Brittney Saline of ThePossibleFeat, who attended the debut concert of the Road of Creativity Ensemble (ROC Ensemble) on January 7, 2012 at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in SW, Washington D.C.   A gifted writer, thinker and classically-trained musician, Brittney asked if she could contribute a guest blog of her reaction to our premier concert.  A heartfelt thank you, Brittney, from the ROC Ensemble for “getting taken in” and feeling compelled to share it. Read More

Music Entrepreneurship Retreat

entrepreneur mind

Musicians from all disciplines (winds, strings, percussion, piano, voice, composition), established and aspiring, who desire to gain essential career skills and attitudes for success in today’s music world
College music faculty interested in the pedagogy of music entrepreneurship in order to train today’s music students for success.
Full chamber ensembles welcome and encouraged to attend! Read More

What’s Your Game-Changer?

game changer hat

Even though I dislike shopping, I’m remembering Black Friday 2008 with fondness and a huge smile.  That day was a game-changing day for me. I bought new kitchen appliances that day (saved $2000!) because I was putting my condo on the market the following month, leaving a secure, full-time university teaching job for a part-time one, and moving where I wanted to live even though the cost of living was triple.  For two years, my income would be cut in half and I was losing health and retirement benefits.  I took a sabbatical from the professional chamber music group I was in.  I reduced my public performances by over 90%.  Little did I know the depth of discovery, richness and clarity that would come from those choices. Read More

Going Public with Process vs. Product

going public

We go public with our product or service all the time.  Musicians perform concerts and record albums.  Composers publish music.  Writers publish articles or books or blog posts.  New buildings have ribbon cuttings when they open.  People in sales ring bells when they make their quotas.  Painters exhibit their paintings. Chefs and mixologists make available their creations via menus.  Corporations post their earnings.  Website designers make websites for clients who seek to go public with their products.   Producers make documentaries and movies. Read More

Your Relationship With Your Art


Relationships take work.  They also take time, commitment, honesty and trust.  They cause some of life’s highest and lowest experiences, and create questions and subsequent struggles to find answers to those questions.  They require proactive attention and give-and-take, that is if those in the relationship desire it to strengthen and grow.  Sometimes the work feels organic, sometimes it feels forced.   Sometimes they need space.  Relationships cause us to look inward.  They teach us about ourselves and what we seek from life.

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Mirrors in the Mirror


My students at the U. of Georgia recently had a pass/fail cumulative scale test.  Many desired to know how many notes they were allowed to miss before failing; some were afraid they would blank out and not remember the patterns, asking how many restarts they were allowed.  When their nerves got the best of them during the practice tests, nobody thought to ask for permission to turn off the metronome, diagnose the exact problem, reconnect to the key signature, spell the scale in note names, play the scale at least five times in a row slowly with different rhythms at the point of the mistake, and then work their way back to the assigned tempo with the metronome.   Perplexing considering we use these steps consistently in weekly lessons, always with productive results that boost their control and confidence. Read More

Meet Greg Sandow and Learn How to Build an Audience

barbados 1

Greg Sandow and I met in Feb. 2010. We were told that we had similar philosophies on where musicians should focus their attention to create thriving and sustainable careers.  That was the understatement of the year!  Greg and I had an explosive connection that has not slowed down since.   In fact, our conversations led to my inspiration to launch the Music Entrepreneurship Retreat, with Greg as the first person I invited to be a part of ROC’s team.  He’ll be at the retreat the whole week as a presenter, consultant, workshop leader and storyteller. Read More