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




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Crushing Classical: Redefining A Thriving Music Career

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.

Mar 31, 2017

As a musician you may relate to being super busy doing a ton of different things and pulled in a lot of different directions. Today's Hot Seat guest has this going on in his career- Andrew Sehmann, Master's student and freelancer on horn, plays in a woodwind quintet and freelances all over South Carolina and Georgia. Today we dive in with him on his career goals and what he really wants along with some strategy on how to get it.

Mar 28, 2017

Besides symphony orchestras and church gigs here and there, how many people are CREATING JOBS for classical musicians? Not many- but CMH Label Group in Los Angeles has created a series of projects that they named Vitamin String Quartet. This project started with a tribute album to Led Zeppelin and continued with many more tribute albums and eventually expanded to sheet music sales. These two guys have even more great ideas coming down the pike, and I got to hear all about how this project got started on today's podcast.

Crushing Classical brought to you by


Mar 26, 2017

Fireside Chat #3 is here! On this episode we get right down to it- the attitudes that exist in classical music and what is needed to evolve classical and cause real change. Also we dive into the nitty gritty of the story behind a real side-hustle that we did recently. All the details are on this episode!

Mar 19, 2017

On this second Fireside Chat, Eileen and I begin the conversation about money. Specifically, we start to talk about how I wasn't always living in reality when making career decisions regarding money, and later in the talk, Eileen tells us about the five subject areas where people spend their money, and what that means for you as a musician and an income creator.

Mar 19, 2017

Musicians with the tenacity and determination to do things THEIR WAY... Kev Marcus and Will B. of Black Violin come on Crushing Classical and share the story of their unique career path like no other- classical music to hip hop.

Black Violin is on tour NOW! Their next performances are in Charlotte, NC on 3/21/17 at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and in Durham, NC on 3/23/17. Check out their website for more details!


Mar 17, 2017

On this FIRST EPISODE of the HOT SEAT series, Eileen dives in with two musicians on their career goals. Hear Eileen's take on the next steps for these two musicians with big plans.

Rocky's vlog:


Mar 12, 2017

Welcome to the NEW series- Fireside Chats- where my new partner at Crushing Classical, musician turned business person Eileen Gordon and I sit down and talk about a whole bunch of stuff about building your career. We dive into the concept of being STRATEGIC when navigating your music career... and what that ACTUALLY means with examples from my life! I can tell you- many "ah-ha" moments happened in this conversation for me. Being strategic in the way she talks about could be the missing link in the actions you are taking toward your goals... Are you being strategic?

Mar 8, 2017

I've heard of musicians switching their careers to something else pretty often but it's not too common to hear about someone who becomes a comedian. It takes a special talent and skill to be able to be funny on the spot in front of people sitting there waiting to laugh! On this episode Mary tells lots of funny stories about her Klezmer band gigs and what it was like to be on the Conan O'Brien show. Mary mistakenly thought that I spend a lot of time editing- which I don't. These are "real, raw interviews" which means what is said goes on the show! So that led to some hysterical moments. Mary has a new comedy album out now, available on iTunes and called Pig Woman, and her next appearances will be in Grand Rapids, MI at the LaughFest on March 18th and 19th


Feb 24, 2017

Do you ever wonder how musicians feel when they leave their assumed path to an orchestra job? Sometimes you might think that this could be a bittersweet decision. After all, mostly a classically trained musician will be thinking of a job in an orchestra as the IT thing to do. I asked Peter Seymour about this, bassist and co-founder of the cool, hip group Project Trio, made up of flute, bass, and cello, and I just loved his answer! These three friends who met at music school decided to create their OWN impact on the music world, and boy have they EVER. The positivity of Peter just exudes through this conversation- he is one of the most inspiring musicians out there. Have a listen!

Also from the show, the links to what we talked about: Project Trio's website and their new upcoming program called The Studio. More information about that in the link below:

Feb 14, 2017

Josephine Lee has had an extraordinary career. The job that she got conducting a small children's choir nearly 20 years ago in Chicago has become her life's work and passion. She is now the President and Artistic Director of the group that has grown enormously under her guidance. This was a really fun interview for me, getting back in touch with an old friend, and finding out just how much the choir has grown in the last decade with numerous international tours and collaborations with amazing artists. On this episode Josephine shared with me what it was like to make her career decisions at crucial points in her career and why she ultimately stayed on her path to grow the children's choir.

Feb 4, 2017

Do you ever wonder if you're doing the right thing for you in your career? What about all the uncertainty of being a musician as a career- how does that relate to the business world? It turns out there are a lot of parallels to being a musician and a business person. On this episode I talked with entrepreneur and amateur horn player Tom Cowan. This episode is packed with great advice from this veteran entrepreneur. 

Jan 25, 2017

Join me for this interview with Denise Tryon, Fourth Horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where we talk about auditions, her vast orchestral experience, and her endeavors with a horn audition workshop Audition Mode, as well as a sought-after teacher around the world for her expertise and abilities as a low horn player.

Jan 15, 2017

On this episode I talk to Colin Jacobsen of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, the orchestra The Knights, and the Silk Road Ensemble. I loved hearing about how Colin started his ensembles Brooklyn Rider and The Knights with his brother in a collaborative way with friends and grew his ensembles to create the career he wanted.

Jan 5, 2017

Justin Locke, bass player for 18 years with the Boston Pops, and author of several books including Real Men Don't Rehearse, Principles of Applied Stupidity, and Getting In Touch With Your Inner Rich Kid, joins me on this podcast. He shares how his freelance career got started and what he learned about the music business, as well as what being in business has shown him about the music business and how the orchestral world is run. 

You can find his books on Amazon. For more about Justin Locke visit his website:


Dec 25, 2016

Join me on this special Christmas episode where I interview Chloe Trevor. Find out what she's been up to recently and what got her started on Instagram, where she has over 90 THOUSAND followers!

Dec 15, 2016

On this podcast hear about a new company called Groupmuse, which connects musicians to hosts for in-home chamber music concerts.

Find them at

Dec 5, 2016

If you haven't seen videos from these two comedians yet, you simply must watch one immediately.  These two violinists from Australia create hysterical videos making fun of life as a musician.  In this interview I get to find out how they got started, what practice has helped them in their career, and their favorite feedback from fans, along with lots of laughs!

Check them out:

Also find them on YouTube:

and Instagram:


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