Popz’ Advice

Let what comes out of the bell speak for itself…

My father (Popz) would tell me this all of the time and I use to only attribute this advice to my trumpet playing. I started playing when I was eight years old and I always found myself in musical situations where everyone else were many years older than me. I was obsessed with doing my best and proving that I could handle the challenge in front of me. Well, the obsession of tackling big problems and proving they could work hasn’t stopped. Four years ago I met with one of the principal’s of Wolf Brown and former President of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joseph Kluger, and told him that I had a bug for entrepreneurship. When I met with him, I told him that I wanted to establish/run “something big”, do it in 7 years (before I turned 30), and use music as a way to 1) engage the public and bring them together 2) help people 3) educate.

Joe gave me great advice. He felt that my idea needed to be 1) Specific 2) Measurable 3) Ambitious 4) Realistic 5) Time-Based. I was scratching my head on Nos. 1, 2, and 4 – but I had the ambitious and time-based part down… I knew my first steps to figure this “thing” out was going to be very difficult and I honestly had no idea what I was going to do. A year after my meeting with Joe, I saw a video of Jose Abreu winning the TED Prize and I knew then, this is exactly what would answer Nos. 1, 2, and 4. I had a couple of months left in my education at The Curtis Institute of Music and I knew then, that I wanted to give these new ideas a chance. After completing the Abreu Fellows program at the New England Conservatory, I knew this was going to be a very challenging road ahead…

Think about it… a music program that offers the best teaching artists, instruments, and musical opportunities to the city’s most underserved communities EVERYDAY for the entire year should not exist. Especially in a city where we have the nation’s oldest community music school, some of the world’s best youth orchestras, music conservatories, and professional orchestras. When the economy tells us to reduce and save, how could a program like this ever thrive? Why would one want to support something whose benefits aren’t entirely clear? Aren’t we already doing a great job with educating, performing, and engaging?

This is when Popz’ advice was more crucial than ever… “Let what comes out of the bell speak for itself”. I knew that I would have to let the work speak for itself because it is unique and needed:

The next series of blog posts will examine the process that I took and the ideas that are driving Play On, Philly! and all of the people that make it happen!

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  1. Linda Davenport says

    Stanford, is your group a nonprofit ? It is so exciting to hear about what you are doing. I belong to a company that specializes in developing a perpetual fundraising program for nonprofits. Love to talk to you about it and see if you think it would work for your group? Excited to have you join with us for the Messiah Dec 18th. Linda Davenport

  2. Cheryl T. Hampton says

    Stanford, this is absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!! Bravo in fulfilling your dream and call. This is inspirational to all who have a desire to make a difference simply by doing what they love. God bless you! Keep doing what you are doing.

    Min Cheryl T. Hampton (Cousin from Mississippi)

  3. says

    Beautifully executed video. I’m taking notes. How do you create materials that educate your community and get them past their objections to the high musical expectations you have for them? How do we enlarge the vision they have for them selves.

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