As musicians we spend as much time as possible working with our craft but can struggle with the business side of our careers. I think of business as the complete chain of events that brings the music out of our imaginations into the world. Money is fuel, but is only one piece of the equation. Bringing music to life requires the skills and attention of many smart people; musicians, presenters, managers, agents, marketers, labels, publishers and fundraisers. Composers and performers are musical CEOs, managing each step and partnership along the way.
Organizations like Chamber Music America (CMA) are making a huge contribution to classical, jazz, and world music by providing grants and the business education that musicians need. On January 24, 2013, Jeanette Vuocolo, Program Director for CMA Jazz led a well-attended workshop at The Blue Whale jazz club in downtown Los Angeles. Ms. Vuocolo’s presentation focused on the New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble grant application process and featured panelists, Bennie Maupin and Remy La Boeuf.
The New Jazz Works grant, which is made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, provides funding and music business guidance to professional US jazz ensembles of 2–10 musicians in three phases:
1. CORE: Creation and Performance
The creation of a new work, the work’s world premiere, and one additional performance. Both performances must take place within the United States. This phase must be completed within eighteen months.
2. Continued Life
The second phase supports additional concerts, touring, open rehearsals, master classes, clinics, school and community visits, residencies, conference showcasing, promotion, self-presenting and recording. Activities can take place in the US or abroad.
3. Better Business
Phase three supports the ensemble leader, funding business related activities; attending conferences, meeting prospective presenters, taking classes, and working with mentors and consultants.
Both musician-panelists described what they have learned. Besides the opportunity to compose and perform a new extended work, they found that the application process itself was educational, helping them to articulate their goals and musical vision. Both Mr. Maupin and Mr. La Boeuf described the many new opportunities and business relationships that have emerged from their involvement with CMA. The program also encourages musicians to give back to their communities, mentoring others and sharing their experiences in panels and conferences.
For more information and application materials please visit: http://www.chamber-music.org/