Innovator No. 1 – Katie Ernst
jazz bassist and vocalist
I discovered Katie earlier this spring through a story in the Chicago Reader. Katie is a remarkable young artist who has carved out a diverse and exciting career for herself as a jazz bassist, vocalist, composer, big band director, and teacher. After reading this article, I knew that she needed to be a guest on Contrabass Conversations, so I scheduled an interview with her (coming soon!) and had a blast chatting with her. Her band Twin Talk just released their self-titled album. Here’s a trailer for the album (featuring some great footage of Chicago, where Katie is based):
Katie has also released her own album Little Words, a song cycle based on poems by Dorothy Parker. The Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich covered this release recently. Additionally, she coordinates the Jazz Links Student Council program for high school musicians at the Jazz Institute of Chicago, serves as Jazz Ensemble Director and jazz bass teacher at Wheaton College, and teaches along with Jeff Campbell at the excellent Birch Creek Music Camp up in Door County, Wisconsin.
Katie is on fire creatively—I can’t wait to see what she does in the coming years!
Innovator No. 2 – Sean Perrin
Clarineat podcast host
I met Sean Perrin through Hugh Sung’s A Musical Life Mastermind group, which I have been participating in for the last couple of months. Sean is the host of Clarineat, a podcast devoted to all things clarinet (sound like a familiar model?). Sean’s podcast has really taken off in the clarinet world, and his online store has become a go-to destination for clarinetists looking for instruments, bells, barrels, and accessories. It’s great to meet another instrument-specific podcaster—there still aren’t many of us out there!
Innovator No. 3 – Christine Beamer
Michigan State University Director of Career Services and Music Entrepreneurship
It’s always exciting to me to see more developments in musical entrepreneurship programs—it’s a topic that I’ve written about frequently in the past. Jerry Fuller forwarded me an email featuring Christine Beamer’s article The Rearview Mirror: what I wish I’d known in music school:
When I left undergrad at the University of Michigan with my newly minted degree, I had no idea where I was going in my career. After a series of left turns, I have arrived at a great career that allows me to perform, teach, and work with students – all passions of mine. But it took me a while, and some hard work to get there. Here’s what I wish I had known when I was about to transition from student to professional.
1) Keep pursuing multiple passions.
In the current music market, versatility is the name of the game. The more skills you have — playing alternative styles, improvising, arranging, composing, fundraising, organising concerts and tours, creating significant social impact — the more ways you have to create work opportunities for yourself.
During a recent visit to Running Start, Bulletproof Musician founder Noa Kageyama talked about creating a career by combining various expertise levels. For instance, I may not be in the top 5% of the world’s viola players, but when you include my skills in public presentations, networking, and mentoring, then I start to stand out. In other words, if you can be in the top 25% of several fields, and then find a way to combine those skills, you will start being a unique commodity.
Read the complete article here.
Christine is the director of MSU’s multi-disciplinary program Running Start, which seeks to set up students with skills really needed to be a working musician in the 21st century, providing:
- individual career coaching
- events and workshops
- entrepreneurial opportunities
- performance opportunities
- engagement with faculty and alumni
- online resources for internships, jobs, auditions, etc.
Christine is also featured in this video from Shar Music and her work in their apprentice program for recent graduates.
Check out the complete Musical Innovators series here.