Classical music in an age of pop

juilliard blog

That's my spring semester Juilliard course, launched last week. The link takes  you to the week by week class schedule and assignments. For a quick overview of the course, go here. And note that I'm happy to teach a version of this course online. Which means that you yourself can take it. Four  90-minute sessions, $300. (Can't do it in three sessions, as I do with my branding workshops, and did last semester with my Juilliard course on how to speak and write about music. There's too much to cover.) Read the rest of the post for more … [Read more...]

Writing tips

tannhauser blog

Juilliard students these days don't seem to be interested in music criticism, or in music critics. I think that's partly because, if they're like most others their age, they may not read newspapers. And thus don't often read critics. But it's also because they don't think critics do a good job. This continues my previous post, about the course on how to talk and write about music that I'm teaching at Juilliard this fall. And about the online version of it I'm eager to teach, as soon as I get five or six people to enroll in it. I'm happy to … [Read more...]

Learn branding with me

branding blog

I'm ready to teach an online workshop on branding for musicians, if six people sign up at $200 each. More below, but here's the backstory. A while ago I blogged about an entrepreneurship retreat -- the Road to Creativity retreat -- where I'd be teaching this workshop in June. But, sadly, the ROC retreat won't be happening this year. ROC's founder, my friend Connie Frigo, knows that there's demand there is for something like this. So she and her cosponors -- D'Addario (the musical instrument company) and Tayloe Harding, dean of the School … [Read more...]

Being creative, learning to brand

roc blog

I'll be teaching a workshop in June, at an entrepreneurship retreat for musicians. This retreat is something new, created by Connie Frigo's under her brand name Road of Creativity, Connie being a saxophonist, sax teacher at the University of Georgia, entrepreneur, and my friend. The dates are June 3 to 9, the place is the University of South Carolina's School of Music, which is the host, and has its own entrepreneurship center, the Carolina Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music. A cosponsor is the D'Addario musical instrument … [Read more...]

More than a haircut

Lang Lang's hair sticks straight up

After I taught my class about branding -- using an Apple-gadget charger and some chocolate -- one of my students gave a branding example: Lang Lang's haircut. You know it's him, as soon as you see his hair. And a few commenters here decried branding as shallow, surface stuff. But remember that the chocolates -- with their varied shapes, and varied-color wrapping -- look different because they're different inside. And that's what branding ought to be about: What you are inside. Which then shows on the outside, and makes people remember … [Read more...]

How do we know it’s you?

ghirardelli mint blog

A brief lesson in branding, as I taught it in my Juilliard class this week. I brought in a Plugbug, and some chocolate. I'd bought the Plugbug in an Apple store, though it's not made by Apple. It's a power adapter for Apple products, and -- unlike anything Apple sells -- can charge two things at once, my MacBook and my iPhone or iPad. Apple's power adapters -- the ones that come with their laptops and i-devices -- are white. And while the Plugbug looks much like an Apple charger, it's red, so we'll know it's different. Now for the … [Read more...]

Why entrepreneurship?

blog change ahead

As I said in my last post, I'm stressing entrepreneurship this semester, in my Juilliard course on the future of classical music. And, of course, entrepreneurship is a major buzzword at music schools right now. But why? What's the purpose of this? Well, here's one useful explanation, which surfaced, very helpfully, in a working group I'm part of, in which we're helping to shape an entrepreneurship curriculum at a particular music school. Entrepreneurship, said one of our members, will help students shape their careers in a variety of … [Read more...]

My Juilliard course, updated

blog entrepreneurial shoot

Spring semester has started, and that means I teach my Juilliard course on the future of classical music. The link takes you to the class schedule for the course, complete with links to most of the assignments. Which means you can read what the students read, and listen to what the students listen to, and watch the videos I've asked the students to watch, if you'd like to do these things. This, amazingly, is the 16th year that I've taught this course. Which among much else means, as I've said, that we've been talking about a classical music … [Read more...]

How I can help you write and speak

taking my course

I've mentioned that I'm thinking I should launch a business, in which I help people to write and talk about music. At the end of this post, I'll offer links to previous posts that touch on this, in various ways. But for now, in advance of any formal launch of the business, let me lay out the outline of what I can offer. First: who might benefit? People who want to be music critics, and would like to work on how to describe what they hear. Musicians, who want to talk more effectively at rehearsals, or talk more effectively to audiences, … [Read more...]

What I’m teaching today

taking my course

Today is the second meeting of my Juilliard graduate course on music criticism. I've blogged about the course before. Follow the link for details. But because there's been so much interest, maybe I'll go week by week, and say what I'm teaching. One thing I do each week is play music, and ask the students to describe what they hear. That's because a big focus of the course, as I've said here before, is learning to talk about music better. For me that means talking more precisely, more evocatively, more accurately, and in a more personal way. … [Read more...]

Talking about music more

Talking about music

Such an endless subject, how to talk about music. But also something we can all make progress on. There are so many things to say about how to do it well. Here's something I wrote to one of my Facebook friends, Ana Cervantes: I think there are four things to emphasize in teaching how to write about music. First, being very clear and honest and personal about what you hear. Second, talking about music -- describing music with speech. Much more direct than writing! Third, reading good writing about music. Which isn't necessarily by music … [Read more...]

Talking about music

Talking about music

Such gratifying response -- here, Facebook, Twitter -- to my thoughts about my music criticism course, and especially the part about learning to talk about music better. Seems to be something many people feel is needed. (If you read my post about the course,  you'll see that talking about music is a big part of it.) So, more thoughts on all of that. I said in my post that it's important to be both objective and subjective. To describe, as accurately and vividly as you can, what you hear. And then to say what you think/feel about … [Read more...]

My music criticism course

George Bernard Shaw

The fall moves onward. I've relaunched my blog, my website (need to do a little work on it!), and my book. And today my Juilliard course started. This is a graduate course about music criticism that I've been teaching for many years. You can read the same course overview the students get, and the same class schedule. On which you'll find all the assignments, with links, so you can sample the reading and listening the students will do. I have to say that the response I got to this on Facebook really warmed my heart. Students who took … [Read more...]