Innovator No. 1 – Brandon Pearce
Music Teacher’s Helper founder
I discovered Brandon Pearce through Hugh Sung’s excellent podcast A Musical Life. Brandon is the founder of Music Teacher’s Helper, a website that allows teachers to schedule lessons, accept payments, and track income and expenses. The system even sends out automatic lesson reminders!
Influenced by The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, Brandon and his family travel the world in minimalist fashion, operating the business remotely and exploring all sorts of interesting corners of the world. They’re an inspiring example of people who have found success in the music world on their own terms and have opened up new opportunities for themselves. Check out Music Teacher’s Helper and follow along with Brandon and his family on their blog.
Innovator No. 2 – Donovan Stokes
composer, educator, performer
I’ve enjoyed following along with Donovan’s iconoclastic musical path ever since interviewing him for my podcast back in 2007. When he’s not spending time teaching bass at Shenandoah University-Conservatory, he can be found touring the world and performing his own unique compositions.
Donovan blends a wide range of musical styles into his compositions, and they have really caught on in the bass world. One of my particular favorites is 43, a piece that he co-wrote with Andrés Martín (a former Contrabass Conversations guest) for the Latin American Bass Festival (which I’ll be on faculty for this year). It was written for a small orchestra, two bass soloists, and 43 (!) double bassists.
Donovan also operates the Bass Coalition along with his wife Inez Wyrick (another recent Contrabass Conversations guest). This organization is designed to foster bass education and “bass up front” performances. They operate a summer workshop and other events throughout the year.
Innovator No. 3 – USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy
The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy at the University of Southern California is designed to inspire innovative, entrepreneurial thought in business, design, marketing and the arts. Their mission is to empower the next generation of creative minds to be truly disruptive through bringing together multidisciplinary students, teachers, and professionals.
Academy field trips take advantage of the city of Los Angeles as an educational playground, touring the heart of the city and meeting the people who make it beat. In a town that merges arts and technology like no other—from interactive media startups to avant-garde advertising firms—these field trips allow students to encounter the people and places that are changing the world right now.
This video (from 2013) covers the announcement of this new academy offers more details about what it offers. Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are featured in the video along with USC administration.
If you’re in a mood for more Jimmy Iovine, his USC commencement speech from 2014 is worth a viewing.
(hat tip: Jerry Fuller)
Check out the complete Musical Innovators series here.