Announcing the Project Jumpstart 2016 INNOVATION COMPETITION


Initial Letter of Interest deadline: December 18 Open to any student enrolled in the Jacobs School of Music

  • Present Your Own, One-of-a-Kind Entrepreneurial Project
  • Monetary prize for the top two winners! Mentoring offered to all finalists!

To spark innovation in the Jacobs School, we’re holding the third annual Project Jumpstart Innovation Competition! If you’re interested in developing an innovative project, or if your student group or ensemble would like to present an idea, follow these simple steps:

  1. DEVELOP AN INNOVATIVE & ENTREPRENEURIAL IDEA This can be anything: a performance project, an app, a service, a festival, a residency. Not sure about your idea? Send Jumpstart an email and we can talk it over.
  2. JOIN US AT OUR CALLOUT MEETING Saturday, December 12th | 10am -12pm | MU011 > STUDENTS: Sign Up via the Career Portal Meet us over bagels and coffee to discuss your ideas and ask any questions you may have about the competition or your idea.
  3. LETTER OF INTEREST Deadline: Friday, December 18th Write a brief (200 word max) description of what you plan to do and send it to
  4. SUBMIT A COMPLETE PROPOSAL Deadline: Monday, January 18th Email your proposal (5 pages maximum) with any accompanying media (links to media work as well) to
  5. PRESENT YOUR PROPOSAL Saturday, January 30th, from 10am-12pm (location TBD) Finalists will be invited to present their project proposals to a panel comprised of Jacobs School faculty and administration, a representative from the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Kelley School of Business, and a member of the greater Bloomington community.

> Read about last year’s winners.

We can’t wait to see the entrepreneurial minds of the Jacobs School come together for what is sure to be a thrilling event!

Good Luck! Team Jumpstart

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Entrepreneur of the Month: Mike Epstein

Mike Epstein: On Taking Risks & Following your Passion

Mike Epstein: November Entrepreneur of the Month

Mike Epstein: November Entrepreneur of the Month

This month, Project Jumpstart interviewed Jacobs School jazz alumnus, Mike Epstein, who serves as president of his self-started and fast-growing booking agency,Mike Epstein and Company, where he promotes award winning musicians.

Mike Epstein and Company currently represents thirteen artists encompassing a wide variety of styles including world music, jazz, blues, and bluegrass. The agency employees two full-time team members and has previously hosted interns from the New England Conservatory of Music. In his own words, “the agency is honored to work with award-winning performers who remind us how inspiring music and the arts can be.”

To complement his entreprenuerial activities, Mike produces his own podcast called “Speaking of the Arts,” which features prominent programming directors, artists, managers and agents in conversation about the many challenges facing the music insdustry as well as the tools and processes that can be used to succeed in this ever-changing business.

> Read the full interview here

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Announcing the 2015-16 Jumpstart Team


The Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development (OECD) is pleased to introduce the 2015-2016 Project Jumpstart Team.

Members are graduate student Rafael Porto – who participated as a member of last year’s team – Elleka Okerstrom, Christian Purdy, and Natalie Martell. The team is mentored by OECD director Alain Barker, with additional help from the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Kelley School of Business.

Offerings to look forward to this year include panel discussions by prominent artists, scholars & entrepreneurs, interactive workshops, mind & body sessions, networking opportunities, {well-advised} lunches, and meet & greets with leading professionals. In addition, Project Jumpstart coordinates the annual Jacobs School of Music entrepreneurship competition.

Read the 2015-15 Annual Report to lean more about the activities of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development and Project Jumpstart.


Rafael Porto

Brazilian bass-baritone Rafael Porto is a returning member of the Project Jumpstart team and is in his final semester of his MM degree with Distinguished Professor Tim Noble. This past year he served as a media specialist for the group, overseeing photography, audio and video, while also organizing events such as connecting voice students with Bradley Moore of the Houston Grand Opera, an interview session with acclaimed alumna mezzo-soprano Jaime Barton, bringing the Voice Clinic of Indiana as a part of the Mind & Body series, and teaching at the Manage Your Media and Covering Your Assets workshops. As an entrepreneur, he runs his business Rafael Porto Media Services ( that provides design, photography, and recording services for classical musicians. Porto has done work the Indianapolis Colts, IU Jacobs Marketing Department, New York City Opera, American Guild of Organists, Butler University, and Indianapolis Children’s Choir to name a few. He was a Wilfred C. Bain Fellow, Georgina Joshi International Fellowship winner, and is currently an Associate Instructor of voice. During the past five years Rafael has sung 18 roles at various venues including IU Opera Theater, Indianapolis Opera, Butler Opera Theater, and the Montefeltro Music Festival in Italy.

Elleka Okerstrom

Soprano Elleka Okerstrom is a first-year master’s student studying with Brian Horne, having completed her BM in vocal performance at DePauw University in 2014 where she studied with Caroline B. Smith. For the past year, Elleka has served as the DePauw University School of Music’s graduate intern for the 21st-Century Musician Initiative (21CM). Through her position, she assisted several notable musical groups, including Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, Fifth House Ensemble, Baladino, Roomful of Teeth, the King’s Singers, and many others. She also worked as the assistant coordinator for the School’s two-week Dvorak and America festival, featuring renowned cultural historian Joseph Horowitz and bass-baritone, Kevin Deas. During her time at DePauw, she performed several lead roles under the direction of Joachim Schamberger, including Violante in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera. Other performance highlights include performing Libby Larsen’s Try Me Good King and John Corgliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man through DePauw’s Music of the 21st-Century during the residency of the composers. “Musical entrepreneurship has become an integral part of my life as a musician,” said Elleka, “and I couldn’t be happier to continue exploring the all that the musical world has to offer with the Project Jumpstart team.”

Christian Purdy

Christian Purdy is a fourth year undergraduate student in the Jacobs School, studying general music education and music entrepreneurship. During his time at Indiana University Christian has developed numerous independent and joint entrepreneurial projects both inside and outside of the Jacobs School, and has worked with many state-wide and national music advocacy organizations. Alongside his entrepreneurial endeavors, Christian studies bassoon with Kathleen McLean and spends much time focusing on early childhood music education. Over the past three years Christian has served as President of the IU chapter of the National Association for Music Education, Teaching Assistant for IU Musical Beginnings, Ritual Coordinator of Kappa Kappa Psi, and as an Undergraduate Staff-member of the IU Marching Hundred. “I’m elated to join the Project Jumpstart team,” said Christian “and I look forward to supporting the innovative endeavors of the Jacobs School.” Outside of his studies, you can find Christian enjoying local restaurants and experiencing the beauty of Bloomington’s natural landscape.

Natalie Martell

A senior at the Jacobs School of Music, soprano Natalie Martell is pursuing a BM in vocal performance with Alice Hopper. She is also pursuing a Certificate in Arts Administration at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. This past summer, Natalie worked for the Asheville Lyric Opera as the Administrative Intern, alongside General and Artistic Director and Jacobs School alumnus, David Craig Starkey, gaining experience in marketing, development, event planning, and community outreach. Natalie has appeared in numerous opera choruses with the IU Opera & Ballet Theater and was most recently featured as Janet McGregor in South Pacific. In addition to serving as treasurer for the University Gilbert & Sullivan Society, she performed the role of Celia in the organization’s first production, Iolanthe. Born in Toronto, Canada, Natalie currently resides in the Washington D.C. area.

Project Partner: The Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Kelley School of Business offers one of the most comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculums in the world, with nationally-ranked academic programs that a wide range of real-world entrepreneurial experiences through cross-campus initiatives with university departments and involvement with the business community.

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The Cliff Colnot Residency – 5 Workshops and Career Advising this Summer

CliffNotes-120Jacobs School students have a terrific opportunity this summer to attend five workshops with Cliff Colnot, the Chicago-based conductor and composer. Called CLIFF NOTES, the sessions cover a range of subjects that are key to career development in the 21st Century. All sessions are open to Jacobs School students and take place on Thursday, from 12-1:30pm. Free Jimmy John’s sandwiches will be provided!

  • CLIFF NOTES: Lunches and a Workshop Session with Conductor & Arranger, Cliff Colnot
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Individual Career Advising Sessions with Cliff Colnot

Open to all students in the Jacobs School of Music. Please click below to sign up for the sessions you’d like to attend. 


Thursday JUNE 18     SCORE STUDY
Effectively studying music in preparation for performaChicagonces
12-1:30pm                          JS 415
> Sign Up Here

Thursday JUNE 25     AUDITIONS
Understanding the audition process for orchestras, summer festivals, and other projects
12-1:30pm                           JS 415
> Sign Up Here

Taking advantage of opportunity in a fast-changing cultural landscape
12-1:30pm                           JS 415
> Sign Up Here

Making the most of your valuable time
12-1:30pm                           MA 405
> Sign Up Here

The secrets and surprises of great ensemble intonation
12-1:30pm                           MC040
> Sign Up Here


Once you’re in the Career Portal, click on “Events” then “Workshops”
All sessions are at Jumpstart Central, MU011, in Merrill Hall

  • Wednesday, June 17, 2-4 pm
  • Friday, June 26, 2-4 pm
  • Tuesday, June 30, 2-4 pm
  • Wednesday, July 1, 2-4 pm
  • Tuesday, July 7, 2-4 pm
  • Wednesday, July 8, 2-4 pm
  • Wednesday, July 15, 2-4 pm

See you there!
Team JumpStart



Colnot-squareIn the past decade Cliff Colnot has emerged as a distinguished conductor and a musician of uncommon range.

One of few musicians to have studied orchestral repertoire with Daniel Barenboim, Colnot has served as assistant conductor for Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Workshops for young musicians from Israel, Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries. Colnot has also worked extensively with Pierre Boulez and has served as assistant conductor to Boulez at the Lucerne Festival Academy. He regularly conducts the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom he recorded Richard Wernick’s The Name of the Game for Bridge Records, and he collaborates regularly with the internationally acclaimed contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird and the Pacifica String Quartet. Colnot has been principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary MusicNOW ensemble since its inception and is principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, an orchestra he has conducted since 1994. Colnot also conducts Contempo at the University of Chicago and orchestras at Indiana University. He has appeared as a guest conductor with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony.

Colnot is also a master arranger. His orchestration of Shulamit Ran’s Three Fantasy Pieces for Cello and Piano was recorded by the English Chamber Orchestra. For the chamber orchestra of the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, Colnot has arranged the Adagio from Mahler’s Symphony No. 10, Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande (both published by Universal) and Manuel De Falla’s Three Cornered Hat. For ICE and Julia Bentley, Colnot arranged Olivier Messiaen’s Chants de Terre et de Ciel for chamber orchestra and mezzo-soprano, also published by Universal. For members of the Yellow Barn Music Festival, Colnot arranged Shulamit Ran’s Soliloquy for Violin, Cello, and Piano, to be published by Theodore Presser. Colnot recently re-orchestrated the Bottesini Concerto No. 2 in B Minor for Double Bass, correcting many errors in existing editions and providing a more viable performance version. He has also been commissioned to write works for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Percussion Scholarship Group. His orchestration of Duke Ellington’s New World Coming was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim as piano soloist in 2000, and Colnot also arranged, conducted, and co-produced the CD Tribute to Ellington featuring Barenboim at the piano. He wrote music for the MGM/UA motion picture Hoodlum and has written for rock-and-roll, pop, and jazz artists Richard Marx, Phil Ramone, Hugh Jackman, Leann Rimes, SheDaisy, Patricia Barber, Emerson Drive, and Brian Culbertson.

Colnot graduated with honors from Florida State University and in 1995 received the Ernst von Dohnányi Certificate of Excellence. He has also received the prestigious Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern University, where he earned his doctorate. In 2001 the Chicago Tribune named Cliff Colnot a “Chicagoan of the Year” in music, and in 2005 he received the William Hall Sherwood Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts. He has studied with master jazz teacher David Bloom, has taught jazz arranging at DePaul University, film scoring at Columbia College and currently teaches advanced orchestration at the University of Chicago. As a bassoonist, he was a member of the Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and the Contemporary Chamber Players.

“Cliff Colnot conducted the excellent International Contemporary Ensemble in an alluring performance.”              —  Anthony  Tommasini, New York Times

“To every score, conductor Cliff Colnot brought a dedication, virtuosity, and intensity of feeling new music needs but doesn’t often receive.”                                                              —  John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

“Everywhere [in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1] were signs of meticulous preparation and keen stylistic acuity.”  —  Michael Cameron, Chicago Tribune

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Jumpstart Entrepreneur of the Month: MUSAID

MusAid-212Supporting music institutions in developing countries around the world, with donated instruments and volunteer teaching programs.

> Read the Full Interview Here

MusAid, a project run by Jacobs School of Music alumnus Kevin Schaffter, current student Maria Romero, and a few friends, has blossomed into a deeply inspiring international organization with a vision of “a global community where artists from any cultural or financial background could be granted the opportunity to share their unique artistic voices with their community.” Current teaching fellows include alumni Hilary Glen and Colleen Wang. Professor Mimi Zweig is one of two 2015 guest faculty members. A recent interview with Project Jumpstart is a must-read for any musician with a desire to develop a musical life that goes beyond the score.

Students! If you’re interested to participate in this project as a Teaching Fellow, check out the website for information on how to sign up and be notified of opportunities.

> Read the Full Interview Here

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Jumpstart Entrepreneur of the Month: NEW VOICES OPERA

Emergent. Relevant. Opera… written, performed, and produced by Jacobs School of Music students!

NVO-logo-1-150pxNew Voices Opera was founded in 2012 by Chappell Kingsland to produce his doctoral thesis project Intoxication: America’s Love Affair with Oil. Since then, the organization has grown into a full student-run company that premieres two operas each year and trains young professionals in all aspects of opera production, from composing and performing to designing, directing, and administrating.

Project Jumpstart sat down with NVO’s Executive Director Benjamin Smith, a current doctoral student in the Jacobs School’s voice department, to talk about the organization’s current work and its exciting plans for the future.


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Lecture this evening: “Music and the Atypical Learner: Strategies for Success”

ChrisChristine Barton, Board-certified Music Therapist and founder/director of Central Canal Creative Arts Therapies (Indianapolis), will present a guest lecture on “Music and the Atypical Learner: Strategies for Success” this evening (Thursday, April 16) at 6:30pm in room M 350 of the Simon Bldg.

Ms. Barton will give a brief overview of the learning disorders most frequently encountered in the music studio and classroom (Asperger’s, autism spectrum disorder,  attention deficit hyperactivity and dyslexia) and the personality and behavioral traits that characterize each.   She will discuss the challenges these conditions present to the music teacher, and will outline practical strategies for effectively teaching the various types of atypical learner.   Following the lecture there will be a Q/A session, in which teachers can ask advice on how best to deal with the issues of particular atypical learners they are working with.

This presentation, co-sponsored by Piano Pedagogy Studies and Music Education, is free and open to all Jacobs School students.  Interested music teachers from area schools and communities are also welcome.   For more info. about Christine Barton, see:

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An important Hearing Conservation Workshop for JSoM students


Are you interested in hearing or playing music for a lifetime?
Then, this Hearing Conservation Workshop is for you!

4-5:30pm, Music Annex, MA405
Benj Kanters, Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago, calls upon 40 years in the music and audio industries to present new strategies for promoting hearing conservation.

(Once you log in, click on Events, then Workshops)

A workshop on hearing awareness for Jacobs School of Music Students and all SLHS students. The hearing conservation workshop offers a new approach to promoting awareness of the ever-increasing problem of noise and music-induced hearing loss.

For more information, visit

See you there!
Team JumpStart

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Journey Through Sound Presents its First Concert

ShivelyPosterFounded and directed by Jacobs School student Deanna Said, an organization called Journey Through Sound will present its first concert this evening, Thursday April 2, 7:30pm, at the Monroe County History Center.

The concert is titled “Unsung American Heroes: A Musical Celebration of George Shively and his Musical Peers” in honor of baseball star George Shively, with a program consisting of music by African and African-American composers.

Read today’s IDS Article about the project and how the concert connects with this weekend’s headstone dedication for Shively and his family and an induction to the Monroe County Sports Hall of Fame.

Congratulations, Deanna!

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RECESS @ IU Music & Ideas Festival


Students! Don’t miss RECESS: Music & Ideas Festival on April 7 at the IMU, A national entrepreneurship festival, underwritten by Marc Cuban and organized by IU Alumnus Deuce Thevenow.


More information

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