Crushing Classical

Crushing Classical podcast is an ongoing series of provocative interviews with musicians who are pioneering a new path in the classical music genre. I dig into musician's lives who have made an often risky move towards forging a unique path and creating a different kind of music career for themselves. This is particularly challenging in a field where the conventional approach is seeking employment in an orchestra. Join me and learn how others are redefining a thriving classical music career.
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Crushing Classical: Redefining A Thriving Music Career

Jul 2, 2017

Phil Snedecor, a trumpet player with a lucrative and varied career came on to share his insights on creating a classical career design on your OWN terms.


Here's what we covered on the show:


- How to *quickly* establish yourself as a freelancer in a brand new (to you) area...even if you don't know a you can get some gigs and get paid!


- What it *actually* means to "take ownership" of your career NOW (and from the moment you step out of undergrad)


- How to know if the ensemble or group you want to start has a better than average chance of being successful in your community or city (most people don't consider this before launching one!)


- What your day should ACTUALLY consist of if you want to build a personally satisfying and financially successful career


...and much more

For more about Phil Snedecor:

Thank you to FICKS MUSIC for providing the hosting for the show. When you need great sheet music at an affordable price, look NO FURTHER than FICKS MUSIC. Order NOW and get 10% off your order for being a Crushing Classical listener by using the code CRUSH


Jun 28, 2017

David Taylor is a cellist and founder of Yorkshire Young Sinfonia, a youth orchestra program in England. What began with a modest audience of around 200 has grown to 550 within two years.

Here's what you'll learn from my interview with this very ambitious, forward thinking music director:

- What *actually* goes into starting a youth orchestra program (some aspects might surprise you)
- How he "modernized" the symphony to create a totally unique experience for the players (and therefore the audience)
- Why he thinks classical music may no longer have a right to exist...and what that means for you and your career

David's blog:

For more information about the Yorkshire Young Strings program:

Thank you to Ficks Music for supporting the podcast! Use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order on high quality sheet music at affordable prices!



Jun 25, 2017

 Here is what we covered today:


- Why the ever popular saying "You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with" is actually BACKWARDS


- Why people whine about their social media feeds (Hint: it's their own fault)


- Why swearing off Facebook is one of the LEAST intelligent things you can do (and no, being on Instagram isn't the same...or enough)


- The "two headed" approach you need to develop if your desire is to be financially successful


- Why the Social Media Selfie revolution isn't (and will never) build your career


- And so much more!


Thank you to our sponsor Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show. If you're looking for high quality sheet music at great prices, look no further!

Use the code CRUSH now for 10% off your order!

Jun 20, 2017

Have you ever thought about starting a chamber group...and wondering what it could lead to?

Kara LaMoure pursued chamber music in college "just for fun"....and spun it into a vibrant career. She is bassoonist of the wind quintet, Windsync, and a founding member of The Breaking Winds, a bassoon quartet.

Find out why taking the first step is the ONLY way to see "what's next" - and why it's a requirement for navigating a career as a chamber musician.


Thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show! If you're looking for affordable sheet music look no further than 

Use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order now!

Jun 18, 2017

Has the sentence "I didn't become a musician to be rich" or "I do this because I love music and money doesn't matter" ever come out of your mouth? Or, are you unhappy with the amount of money that you make as a musician? There's a lot of ways you can think about money that can be detrimental to your success as a musician. Most of these conversations are inherited both from your childhood and the existing conversation about money held by musicians and artists everywhere.

Today on the Fireside Chat, Eileen and I talked MONEY with Jonathan Fink, professional freelance cellist and successful real estate agent in the Philadelphia area. Jon shared how HIS approach and relationship with money has changed since evolving his career to include real estate and we dove into what you can do to change the way you think about money.


To find out more about Jonathan Fink, check out his website and social media:

Twitter: @finkj 


Thank you to my sponsor Ficks Music- use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order:
Jun 13, 2017

On today's Hot Seat episode we had saxophone player and music education major Isaiah Jackson. Isaiah came on the show today to explore career options for himself. He told us that he has so many likes in the music field that he doesn't know what to do, and doesn't even know where to start. This Hot Seat helped Isaiah organize all those thoughts and set him up to make a move in one direction. Often the hardest part is to just start, and this episode was a great starting point.


Thank you to my sponsor Ficks Music- use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order:
Jun 11, 2017
Are you in a bit of a rut walking into the summer?
Didn't get into that festival you wanted?
Are you taking lessons...yet not feeling particularly motivated about it?
Haven't identified a particular goal worthy of your time and energy?

Say no more! We've got a fantastic game for you to play...WITH US. :)

On Fireside Chat #14 (coming out THIS SUNDAY), we discussed how to reinvigorate your music career starting immediately.

We also publicly announced a game we're playing - and we invite you to play with us.

What you’ll hear on this Sunday's Fireside Chat:

- The exact reason why most people (musicians included) aren't winning in life (you'll be surprised at the simple concept this is)

- Why you don't need to be "famous" before you start a unique career (it's actually better if you're not - and you'll see why)

- Why playing this game with us could SIGNIFICANTLY change your life and career in the next several months

This episode is for classical music students, music teachers, college/univ professors, freelance musicians, chamber musicians, tenured orchestra players, soloists - EVERYONE.

Tune in!
Join for the discussion after the show:
Set to SEE IT FIRST, don't miss a post:
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Jun 9, 2017

On this episode I had Allan Santos, a bass player who I was introduced to through our mutual friend and fellow podcaster Jason Heath (who we talk about on the episode- see link to the post we talked about below) and when I heard about his interesting career evolution, I had to have him on the show… Allan is a bass player who went into teaching yoga and afterwards became a life coach. He tells the story about how a big change in his personal life was the tipping point for him to start exploring other options in his career. Often times that’s how it happens, and Allan shares his whole story. After yoga he went into life coaching, and we talked all about what that was like to change gears in his career and all that goes into starting a new business. We dove into finding meaning in your life as a musician, as well as commonly held beliefs about money by musicians and artists and how it affects your life--- and how your comfort zone can actually be not such a great place to hang out in for too long… and a lot more! Stay tuned.

The post we talked about on the podcast:

Allan's Facebook page:

Join the conversation about this episode on the CC Facebook Group page:

Thank you to my sponsor Ficks Music- use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order:


Jun 4, 2017

On today's Fireside Chat we dive into a topic that I wrote about earlier in the week that I dubbed Old School Abuse- when a teacher's style is abusive, which includes yelling and a demeaning tone. It is truly an unacceptable approach and we aim to out it here at Crushing Classical with hopes that it no longer continues. If more students can recognize in the moment that they do not have to endure this kind of treatment, it can stop. And going through it can teach you something about how you handle situations- it certainly did for me, and we talk about it in-depth on this episode. Later in the episode we discuss branding and also what it means to really stand up for something (or yourself) and how that actually looks on a day-to-day basis.

Thank you to my sponsor Ficks Music- use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order:
May 29, 2017

On this episode I interviewed Anni Hochhalter and Garrett Hudson of the woodwind quintet WindSync. If you ever considered a career as a chamber musician of your OWN group, going on tours and creating unique concerts, you're in the right place. Listen to this episode to hear the full report from two musicians who have been doing it for the bulk of their professional music careers. This is certainly a challenging yet rewarding style of classical music career. On this episode Anni and Garret get into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to create a chamber music group and build a career out of it.


Don't forget to order music from! 10% off using the code: CRUSH


May 28, 2017

On today's FIRESIDE CHAT, Eileen and I dive into personal branding, what it means, and what it can mean for classical musicians. Certainly in your life you have developed opinions about various topics and experiences you have had through your career. You may have even become an expert on something related- or not related- to your instrument. What is more than likely is that you have something to say other than through musical phrases on your instrument. And that's a whole other side of the coin that MOST musicians have not considered when building their career.

On this chat we talked about:


  • Personal branding for musicians: SO much more than ‘tooting your own horn’ on social media
  • Reframing how you think of Facebook… take it from an annoying time-waster to an informative, educational, and useful tool
  • And HOW you can USE it to BUILD your online persona, who you are, essentially YOUR BRAND… and why starting this as soon as possible is of utmost importance.

And so much more. Join us for this important chat!


Thank you to my sponsor Ficks Music- use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order:
May 21, 2017

Ever wonder why some people have all the luck? And some people always have shit happening to them... they never seem to catch a break, they never get what they want. There's a trick to this... and it has to do your choices and what you tell yourself about your current circumstances. I saw it big time in my own life- especially during this talk! This is a conversation was pretty real... digging into my own unconscious spending behavior at the beginning of my career that shaped the way I thought about what was possible for me financially in my life... interesting, huh? We talked about other examples too that we see in the world of musicians... Kinda crazy... check it out and see what you get for yourself.


Thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show! Check them out for high quality sheet music shipped to you quickly at affordable prices!  Use the code CRUSH for 10% off your order:


May 18, 2017

On this episode I had Peter Askim, bass player, composer, and conductor. I had him on the show to hear all about the festival for string players that he created, which he calls The “anti-festival”. On the show he explains all about what makes his festival unique.

We talked about his mission and reason for creating the festival, and we talked about moneyWhat it’s like to make money as a musician who composes, performs, and conducts, and his approach with musicians and the fees associated with attending this festival.

The Next Festival is definitely a festival that considers musicians in that time when they're JUST finishing school and heading out into the real world... that time when you just need time to process the stuff you've learned in school and have some time to figure out what you'll do next. I really think that this festival is so supportive for that time in a musicians' life.


To find out more about the festival to attend or donate, go to:


Thank you to Crushing Classical's sponsor Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show! If you're looking for a great selection of quality sheet music at affordable prices, check out

For 10% off use the code CRUSH


May 14, 2017

This week’s Fireside Chat is about LIMITS - where they come from and why they exist. You'll be amazed by how and where they show up - and they put a ceiling on what is possible for you in your life and music career.


Here's what's in store for you on this episode:


- How the path to what you truly want has historically been limited (and why)


- How the simple act of choosing a career in classical music opens up a can of worms (hint: unsolicited advice from people around you can make or break your choice!)


- The traps you're falling into right now (unknowingly in most cases) and how it slows your momentum and keeps you stuck


- How this exact topic personally prevented me from seeing alternatives in my own education (and how it prevents YOU from standing up for yourself when it comes to your education)


- A shocking idea for orchestras that will boggle your mind (and will likely be rejected by most of you)

This was a great chat! I can't wait for you to hear it.


A big thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show! Use the code CRUSH to receive 10% off your order:


May 8, 2017

On today's episode I had Katie Wyatt, Executive Director and founder of a very successful program called Kidznotes, a youth orchestra program based on the famous El Sistema program of Venezuela. On the chat I got to hear all about her career path and how she ended up going from the audition path to running her own nonprofit. Some things we talked about on the show:

- How Katie’s path toward an orchestra job shifted and she found herself on a totally different kind of career path
- How organizing events around world events that had an impact on her and planted a seed on what is possible for her career
- How a trip to Venezuela for a youth orchestra trip created the foundation for a different kind of priority for her career
- How she started a very successful El Sistema program locally in North Carolina called Kidznotes (yes, the same El Sistema program that LA Phil conductor Gustavo Dudamel has made famous!) 
- Her experience with making that career goal change from orchestra audition focused to starting and growing a nonprofit organization
- She gives Information and advice about starting an El Sistema program in your area if this sounds like something you’d want to do!
- How her teacher reacted to her leaving the orchestra audition path- it was definitely a surprising AND INSPIRING answer.
Thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show!
May 7, 2017

On today's Fireside Chat we had Sheree Allison, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters/Boys & Girls Club in Miramichi, an eastern Canadian community of 32,000 people. Sheree has done amazing work within her own nonprofit to take it from nearly shutting its doors and closing shop to a thriving nonprofit, doubling its annual budget in just over 2 years.

Why does this matter to classical musicians? Well for one, when you work for a nonprofit (which is nearly every orchestra), how they're doing financially directly affects your income. So it matters a lot. Here are some key points from the chat:

- How to know if the orchestra you're working for (or want to work for) is at risk financially - which could lead to strikes and lockouts as the worse case scenario (or pay cuts and pay freezes in the meantime)
- The one question every orchestra should be asking themselves in order to get to the root of the problems, financial or otherwise
- How to know if an orchestra's management is failing (and what to do about it)
- The significance of an orchestra's mission statement and why should it matter to you
- How to declare yourself a catalyst for change in your own orchestra if it really matters to you.
I know that you'll get a lot out of this episode, because I certainly did! It was very enlightening!
If you enjoy this episode and are enjoying Crushing Classical, please write a review on iTunes!

A big thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show! Use the code CRUSH to receive 10% off your order:

Apr 30, 2017

HOW can you take care of yourself FIRST AND FOREMOST when navigating things like CAREER MOVES or when you run into inevitable money problems? What are some common beliefs or RULES that people follow that they COULD BE BREAKING to make things better for them? Tune in and hear this conversation on exploring what it was like for us when we either did or did not break the rules. 

A big thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show! Use the code CRUSH to receive 10% off your order:

Apr 28, 2017

On today's episode I interviewed Jessie Montgomery, violinist of the Catalyst Quartet and composer. We talked about her unique career as a composer, member of a string quartet, and all that she has done to design her unique career as a chamber musician and composer in New York City. It was fascinating to hear about her early influences- a child of artists, she was bound to have a career that was outside the box. It is interesting to hear about her influences and the teaching she was exposed to throughout her education that helped mold and shape the career she has created now. From studying with a teacher who developed a way to teach children how to improvise, to working in program called Community Music Works where she played and taught and had to work on all the administrative things, she created a unique skill set that enabled her to run her own string quartet. 

To learn more about Jessie and her work: 


Thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show: 

Apr 23, 2017

The funny thing about JUST STARTING is nothing is in place for you... YET. It's up to you to do it all. You can't just show up and start working like you would at any job. This is a big challenge in creating your own career, and we talked about it on today's episode. We also talked about *conversation*- the importance of TALKING to people in the age of emails, texts and social media.


Thank you to Ficks Music for providing the hosting for the show:


Apr 19, 2017

On this episode I had Jeremy Preston, a friend and fabulous violinist who I know from the North Carolina Symphony. Jeremy's story is interesting, because at the point he realized he wanted something else in his life, he decided to leave his tenured job and move where he wanted to live without a new job in place. He took the leap; and with strategy and a priority to live where he wanted with people that he loved, he created a new career with that as the foundation. I think it's an inspiring story for musicians to hear how he did it, and know that as a musician, you really can create the LIFE you want.

Apr 16, 2017

Did you read that title right? Yes, you did. Did you think the only musicians who made six-figures were top tier orchestra players? Think again... Ken Preuss, former trombone player, middle school chorus director and musical theater aficionado who I went to Indiana with went on to create a six-figure business out of grad school. When I heard this, I HAD to have him on the show. Listen now to hear WHAT he did and HOW he created it! 

Apr 14, 2017

Horn player Andrew Sehmann came back on the show to tell us the direction he wants to take his career. Andrew had been grappling with whether or not he wanted to go in the direction of teaching at the university level and freelancing, auditioning for jobs in an orchestra, or soloing. Right now he's doing a little bit of everything and on the last Hot Seat realized that doing a little of everything wasn't going to get him exactly what he wanted. Check out today's episode where he reveals what he truly wants- I was really surprised by this chat, it was very enlightening!

Apr 9, 2017

On today's Fireside Chat we discussed inner workings of the orchestra. After a discussion with Eileen about how I really didn't know much about how an orchestra business is run (yeah, it's still a business!) and admitting that what I know NOW is vastly more than I knew going into this business, we discussed what it means to take responsibility for what it is and what it isn't, and what musicians can DO if there are things they see that they don't like in the day to day orchestra business doings. I'd say from a musician perspective, the overarching attitude is *shrug* "there's not a lot I can do!"... a sort of "I just work here" attitude. Which can feel frustrating for musicians at times. So what CAN musicians do? This is what we talked about today.

Apr 7, 2017

Everyone knows that classical musicians can have trouble from time to time with money... on today's episode I talked with Jeremiah Johnson, who on his own path to becoming a professional musician ran into money problems and student loan debt. At a certain point he decided to step up and learn how to get it fixed... and simultaneously discovered a real need for money talk among his fellow musicians. This ended up becoming a big part of his career. It was a great talk money with Jeremiah and it's high time all musicians start paying attention to this all-important issue that everyone has to face!

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Apr 2, 2017

Staying in the place of "I don't know" doesn't work... listen and find out why, and more insights on choosing a path, creating your own thing and what it takes. In this Fireside Chat, Eileen brings up some points about interacting with other people and conversations and how that leads to bigger and better things.

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