Of all of the fun, awesome, “pinch me moment” kind of things I have done in my career–exotic travel, fancy-pants concert halls, getting to meet and hang out with top performers, composers, and conductors, running chamber music programs, and having recordings I was a part of win Grammys–the thing I am most proud of is the contribution I have made to the online music teaching spaces.
It was terrifying to put myself out there so visibly (and at such a vulnerable time when tensions were HIGH due to Covid). I was putting my professional reputation at stake when I launched the first completely online international festival (The Virtual Summer Cello Festival) and then I created Bridge–an online cello studio for advanced students.
Until then, online learning was for amateurs and people who were just dabbling. They didn’t want to commit to ‘actual lessons” so they bought a cheap and simple pre-recorded online course that would teach beginners how to be Horowitz in 6 months.
Due to the pandemic, online programs became the only way forward. Dozens of colleagues asked me to help them get set up to teach their lessons online, and the texts they would send after they successfully got through their very first zoom lesson made me so happy. I felt like I was using my actual skills and experience to help my industry cope a little bit better.
Even though life has now returned us all to IRL events, students are still loving the options that online lessons afford them. I have a former student in London who still plays for me over zoom before big auditions or competitions, and I have students in Spain, South Africa, Venezuela, Indonesia, and all over the US in my Bridge Online Cello Studio.
They love that they get to know each other in this way too.
And teachers like it as well. Even my colleagues who have local, in-person studios are thrilled at the ease of having an online lesson if they have to be out of town for a gig, or if one of them isn’t feeling 100%, or if “car is in the shop” and the student can’t get to their lesson. The teachers are needing to reschedule fewer lessons, the students are missing fewer lessons, and everyone is thriving.
(6 years ago, when I was teaching my students over skype whenever I was out of town, those same colleagues thought I was CRAZY and wondered how that would ever work! Oh, I laugh…)
But I’m not saying all of this to brag. My point of all of this is to tell you:
In getting over my own fears, in answering the “what will people think?” question with “Who cares?” in pushing past the hesitation to hit “send” on that first VSCF announcement email (and I can thank my coach for the needed encouragement at that moment!) I was allowing myself to contribute something unique.
At a time when we were all standing around asking what the hell we were supposed to do as artists when the world was shutting down, I chose to raise my hand and say (meekly at first, and then a bit louder)
I bet you have an idea or two yourself. And I bet you’ve had several over the years. And I would also bet that, like me, you have felt a bit too terrified to raise your hand, put your professional reputation on the line and speak up.
But what if you did? What if you decided to stop playing it safe, stop selling yourself short, and stop playing small?
What if you found the inspiration, the confidence, and the tools to allow your unique voice to be heard? To do something small, or biggish, or maybe even enormous that would have ripple effects on your industry for years to come.
What if, by taking a small risk, you ended up making a major contribution to your colleagues and to future generations? What if you ended up leaving an important artistic legacy?
If you’re reading this post in real(ish) time–Late August/Early September of 2022, I invite you to join me for a free masterclass that I’m doing on September 7th, 8th, and 10th that will address how to do this.
It’s called “Choosing the Legacy Path” and it’s part of the other contribution I aim to make in my little corner of the world: Helping other artists and creatives do what I did–raise their hand, take a risk, and allow their voice to be heard.
It’s for Musicians, Dancers, Visual Artists, Actors….Creatives of ALL colors and fashions. Because can you even imagine what this world would look like if all of the smart, talented creative people out there stopped waiting to be called on to lead the way, and just stood up?
Come to the Masterclass and we can figure it out together. It’s free, and it might just be one of the most important hours of your career.
P.S. Interested in a 2nd weekly dose of creative motivation and inspiration? Grab a copy of my free workbook “10 Habits of Successful Artists” and sign up for my weekly Friday newsletter: The Weekend List.