Published: Feb. 8, 2012
Paul Miller on starting your own ensemble

Ever thought of starting your own performing ensemble? What are the ins and outs? How does one begin? Come chat with our own Paul Miller and gain valuable, first-hand insights into the process!

This Wednesday, 5:00-6:30, C-113 <

As always, free pizza and soda.

For just $20 you can get a professional headshot made. This is a great opportunity, and spaces are limited! Sign up on the ECM door today!

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•    Tips for negotiating performance fees from Ask Edna:

•    “Real” vs. “Fake” failure: an interesting perspective on the topic…



CU voice student Julie Silver, along with alum Alex Sierra and two of their colleagues have formed a Denver area chapter of Opera on Tap, the NY-based group that brings opera to unconventional venues such as bars and pubs. Check out their article in the Daily Camera ( and come to their first Boulder event Wed. Feb. 22 at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place (2027 13th St.).

Wondering how to make YOUR idea a reality? The ECM has the tools you need!

Got a success story of your own? Share it with us!


ENTREPRENEURIAL THOUGHT OF THE WEEK: Failure and Innovation go hand-in-hand

Let me start by quoting an interesting Blog by R. Keith Sawyer of the University of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:

In 1949, the comedian Sid Caesar brought together a legendary group of comedy writers and created one of the biggest television hits of the 1950s, Your Show of Shows. Caesar’s team included Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and Neil Simon. It may have been the greatest writing staff in the history of television. Caesar created a fun and improvisational environment, where the team would riff on each other’s ideas. The writers felt like they belonged to something greater than themselves. I call it “group flow.”

To understand the roots of group flow, it helps to understand a bit more about how individuals find flow. Famed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found that people are more likely to get into flow when their environment has four important characteristics:

First, they’re doing something where their skills match the challenge of the task.
Second, flow occurs when the goal is clear.
Third, when there’s constant, immediate feedback about how close you are to that goal.
Fourth, flow occurs when you’re free to fully concentrate on the task.

Jazz ensembles rarely experience flow during rehearsal; group flow seems to require an audience, and the accompanying risk of real, meaningful failure. Jazz musicians and improv theater ensembles never know how successful a performance will be, and they learn not to ignore the feeling of stage fright but to harness it, using it as a powerful force to push them toward flow. Research shows us over and over again that the twin sibling of innovation is frequent failure. There’s no creativity without failure, and there’s no group flow without the risk of failure. These two common research findings go hand in hand, because group flow is often what produces the most significant innovations.

Let’s take a moment to ponder this statement: “Research shows us over and over again that the twin sibling of innovation is frequent failure.” That may be an uncomfortable thought to some of you. Our educational system does not train us to embrace failure, but rather to avoid it at all costs. This can be especially true in our musical education, where there is a fairly high degree of objective “right” vs. “wrong” (either you are playing the correct notes, rhythms, dynamics and articulations, or you’re not). But one of the core principles of entrepreneurship is the idea that failure is a necessary part of success. In fact, many of the entrepreneurs I’ve met since moving to Boulder practically brag about how many business ventures they’ve started – and how many have failed. You see, they realize that each of those failures is a precious opportunity to learn, to refine their idea, and to dramatically improve their chances of the success the next time around.

So for those of us who haven’t studied Jazz or improvisational theatre, how do we learn to “flow”? How do we learn to “creatively fail”? I think we have to start with our dreams: what are the things you wish you could do, but your fear of failure (or a lack of clarity how to proceed) stood in the way? And then look at those four conditions that Csikszentmihalyi identified: are there others you can team with the requisite skills to accomplish the task? Can you clearly define the goal you’re seeking? How can you and your teammates gather and concentrate on the task? C’s work suggests that if you can satisfy these criteria, the creative environment needed to produce viable ideas will emerge. And that’s the most important step to attaining your goals. The rest is simply gathering the tools you need to execute your plan – and that’s where the ECM can help. Stop by and we’ll talk it through!

And without further adieu…

The Video of the Week!

A very cool (and fun!) piece of graphics (many thanks to Madeline Kay Smith for sending!)


The Entrepreneurship Center for Music • Jeffrey Nytch, DMA, Director

Email:  •  Office Hours: T/Th: 9-11 a.m.  W: 2-4 p.m. – or by appointment

Entrepreneurship Wednesdays: 5-6:30 p.m., C-113  •  Follow us on Facebook


THE INTERACTIVE THEATRE PROJECT is seeking a graduate student to be an Assistant Director. ITP uses theater to address social justice issues on campus and in the community. Minimum Qualifications: Bachelors degree and enrollment in a graduate program (theater, sociology, education or related field). Background and understand of diversity/multiculturalism and/or social justice. Experience working with undergraduate students. To apply, send a resume and cover letter to:

ROAD OF CREATIVITY announces its first Summer Retreat on becoming a musician entrepreneur June 3-9. The retreat is a five-day immersion into the fundamentals of music entrepreneurship. Participants will engage in innovative training sessions with groups such as Alarm Will Sound, and will expose skills and attitudes imperative for success in today’s music world. 

LONGMONT YOUTH SYMPHONY seeks  candidates for a part-time Administrator to help  us sustain and grow our organization. The Administrator reports to the LYS Board of Directors and works closely with the board and volunteers.  Responsibilities include organizing and participating in all  aspects of the LYS operations, managing LYS resources, coordinating and communicating with key stakeholders (students, parents, volunteers and music directors).   The Administrator serves as the main contact for the LYS and as the “go-to” person for LYS parents. To apply, please e-mail cover letter, resume and references to:

BRAVO! VAIL VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL is seeking Summer Interns in Marketing, Production, Development and Education. Please provide a cover letter and resume via email to Deadline is Feb. 27.

INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER & SUMMER: We have a wide range of internship opportunities that can be great learning experiences and valuable additions to your resume. Internships can be done for academic or not, and the choice is pretty much up to you. Stop by the ECM Office for more information!

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI CATHOLIC PARISH in Longmont is looking for a pianist to accompany cantors and choir.  Responsibilities include weekly rehearsals and weekend masses.  Full job description is available on request.  Please submit resume to:  (303) 772-6322.

LOOKING FOR AN ACADEMIC JOB? In addition to The Chronicle for Higher Education, which you should be checking regularly, and the College Music Society, which you should join, another potential source for listings of academic jobs is this site:

C4C GIGS AVAILABLE!  The C4C is continuing their special “Food Weeks” that feature different cuisines from around the world. They’re interested in having CU musicians play for the dinner hour on selected nights, in return for a modest honorarium and free dinner for all involved. A fun and tasty opportunity to perform in a relaxed setting, for solo performers up to a group of 4 players. World music performers and works featuring Latin, Asian, or Middle Eastern influence encouraged! Contact CU GIGS Coordinator Nathan Hall for more