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

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.

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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:


Nov 28, 2016

In this interview I talked to Bernhard Scully, horn player of Canadian Brass.  We dove into his unique career as the horn player of the renowned group, as well as his orchestral experiences and most recently, his new position as professor of horn at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.  As the conversation unfolded, it was fascinating to see how Bernhard's intentional choices in his career and education led him down the path to his unique and unconventional career.

Nov 23, 2016

In this episode I interview Suzy Perelman, violinist in New York City, who left her position in an orchestra for the instability and risk of freelance life in the big city.  She knew that her lifelong obsession to live in New York just had to be realized, and she took her chance and moved there.  We talk about what that career move was like in this fun interview.

Nov 17, 2016

Jason Heath hosts a well-known bass podcast, Contrabass Conversations, where he talks with bass players and other musicians about anything from topics to do with the bass to what it takes to build a creative career in this industry.  Today we talk about how he created his podcast and what it's like to have this be a big part of his music career.  Check out his podcast Contrabass Conversations and his blog

Nov 7, 2016

In this interview we talk to Avi Friedlander, cellist, Suzuki teacher and school owner. Avi tells us all about the process of realizing that he really loved to play rock on the cello, learn to improvise, and had a passion for teaching and figuring out the best methods to teach.  Avi is a business owner, band member, and freelancer on the cello.  Join us as we talk about his process and journey from audition track to music business owner.

Oct 24, 2016

On this podcast I interview Chris Grymes, founder of Open-G records.  Chris left freelancing and a job as a professor at a university for life in New York City as a record producer and innovative project creator.  Today we get to hear about this drastic career move and what it was like for Chris.


Oct 10, 2016

In this episode, I interview Jacomo Bairos, a dynamic young conductor who is taking the world by storm with his new music ensemble Nu Deco.  Jacomo is also the music director of the Amarillo Symphony and a guest conductor in orchestras this season such as National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, and more! I just had to interview Jacomo and find out HOW he went from the back of the orchestra on the tuba to the podium.  We get to the bottom of it in this inspiring interview!

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