Preparing for a career in music

I speak with students often about career-related goals and the skills necessary to be successful as a musician. I am still learning about what that means myself, but over the years, I have learned at least a few things about what sets successful musicians apart from those who struggle to make it. Being really good at what you do is an obvious necessity, but I'm talking about skills that go beyond just being a great player or composer or producer or whatever you do. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (photo: indiana.edu) In no particular order, here are some tips geared toward college students that I have learned from my teachers and from my experiences as a musician. These come from a

Setting goals in percussion

I recently had a discussion with the percussion studio at Southeastern University regarding goals. I am asking the students to set some goals for themselves and for the studio as a way to better understand their purpose and direction during their time at SEU -- where they're heading and why. Drifting aimlessly rarely provides any satisfaction in life, and one could argue it is a poor example of stewardship — not using well the gifts and opportunities that God has given us. I also want to make sure that the students are taking ownership of what goes on in the percussion studio. It is not my percussion studio or music department; it’s theirs, and it will be what they choose to make it. As a wa

How marching arts can help shape better percussionists

"What are your plans for this summer?" I was a freshman percussion major at Indiana University, when my teacher, the legendary Tony Cirone, asked me this question. "Well, I'll be marching another season of drum corps with the Glassmen." "Oh, man. Seriously? You shouldn't waste your summer doing that. You need to be going to a music festival or performance camp." My decision had already been made, and I went on to march my second season with the Glassmen as a snare drummer. About a year later, a similar conversation ensued in my lesson with Mr. Cirone. This time, I asked him, "Have you seen a show lately?" He had not seen a drum and bugle corps show for decades. Based on this conversation and

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© 2019 by Brian Blume