What they didn’t learn in music school…

You make the most of lessons with your teacher; you practice (and practice and practice); and you perform at the highest level on stage. But do you sometimes wonder about the realities of a professional life outside music school? Are you assembling all the pieces you need to step confidently into the professional world?

This semester, we continue our popular brownbag lunch series with three remarkable Jacobs School faculty who will riff on their careers and lessons they’ve learned along the way – including what music school didn’t teach them.

Bring your lunch and your questions for:

  • John Raymond on Friday, September 28, noon-1PM
  • Katherine Jolly on Wednesday, October 17, noon-1PM
  • Rodney Dorsey on Thursday, November 8, 12:30-1:30PM

All sessions are in Merrill Hall | MU011 | OECD Headquarters

Reserve your seat in the career portal today!

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Staying Creative

You’re a musician, an artist, an educator, a student. You perform, teach, learn…and practice! But, how do you stay creative and inspired? We asked a few of our incredibly creative faculty, staff, and students and here’s what we learned…

  • “Go back to the heart of your art and change one thing.” Sarah Wroth [ballet faculty]
  • For Vincent Carr [organ faculty], creativity is all about questions and curiosity.        “…being comfortable with open-ended questions is what inspires creative people. What do I have to say? What do you have to say? We all can become better musicians in asking the questions.”
  • “I love to meet with people and discuss creative ideas with them. I carry a journal with me to write down ideas on the fly…” Sarah Slover [Musicology/Music Theory Dept]
  • For Wenjun Wu [MM, Jazz Studies], it’s about keeping the mind calm and focused – listening to new releases by favorite artists keeps inspiration and creativity flowing.
  • Claire Tafoya [Dept. of Bands] looks for inspiration by spending time in nature – she stays creative on stage – singing or playing horn.
  • When he needs a boost, Carlo Fierens [DM Guitar & Project Jumpstart team member] returns to a favorite quote by author Jack London: “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club”
  • And finally, Joey Tartell [trumpet faculty] likes to stay focused on what’s next: “Keep connected to what’s going on in the world. Consider what you want to exist that doesn’t. That’s your next project. Now get to work.”

The OECD is keeping the conversation of creativity alive with two dynamic workshops this month:

  • THIS Saturday, Sept 15, 1-5pm in MC066 we team up with IU Opera and the School of Informatics for a Design Thinking Workshop! No design skills are required to participate – come learn the design thinking process with Professor Marty Siegel and put those skills to work on a challenge: Is it possible to create an app that significantly enhances the audience experience of an opera performance from perspectives other than traditional viewing in the auditorium? This one will tickle your brain cells and expand your creative thinking abilities!
  • NEXT Saturday, Sept 22, 10am-2pm, Sweeney Hall – in partnership with the Jazz Department, we welcome three dynamic and successful alums to talk about Staying Creative in the Music Business. Benny Reid (Concord Records Recording Artist,) Glen Cavanagh (Pop/Hip-Hop Artist, Producer, Composer,) and Ryan Fitch (Marmoset Music Senior Creative Advisor) host this fast-paced workshop covering important elements, and revenue streams, in the dynamic and ever-changing business of music including: how they got to where they are (and where that is); the toolkit of a musician in the sync workspace (synchronization, composing, recording/production, revenue streams); AND what they didn’t learn in music school. Lunch is included so don’t miss this rare opportunity and deep-dive into their unique worlds of music.

Sign-up in the career portal today!

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Hey Seniors…whachu doin??

If you’re a Senior, one thing’s for sure. You’re thinking about what’s next. That might mean creating a job search and action plan as you prepare to launch into the post-IU professional world. The OECD is here to help you sort out any and all of those options, questions, and plans. We’ll have some targeted events for you next semester, but are available to meet any time, all year!

Many of you already know that Graduate School is next for you. Deadlines are just ahead, auditions just beyond that. This semester, the OECD theme and activities are geared toward YOU – and Grad School Prep. (We’re calling it Shark Week, just because we can)

Throughout the semester, we’ll bring you workshops on CV/resume writing, self-exploration and discernment, an in-depth discussion of targeting your schools and preparing your materials, and a faculty panel on audition preparation. We will also offer a week of open-advising so you can drop in to have your application materials reviewed, and receive customized coaching to get them submission-ready!

Watch your email for dates and details. Watch the career portal for event and workshop registration. Stay tuned…grad school prep is what it’s about all semester – and Shark Week is coming!

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You Are Here

Welcome to [or back to] Indiana University Jacobs School of Music! We’re glad you’re here.

But now that you are here, it’s time to talk about life AFTER here. That’s where the Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development can help.

You’ll be hearing about OECD events, workshops, guest speakers, and faculty panels throughout the year. Stop by and pick up a copy of our Career Development Action Plan, with ideas and tips to help you prepare for post-grad professional life. In addition, we offer one-on-one advising – to help you with resume or bio statement writing, the grad school application process, strategies for festivals and the job search — or to help you develop your own personalized career development action plan!

Do you have a cool idea, or you’re thinking about forming a new ensemble? You’ll find mentorship and project support in the OECD, too. We administer and interpret the Harrison Career Assessment — which can be a valuable tool in clarifying and expanding on your professional goals and interests. It’s easy to take. Email, or stop by, to learn more.

The OECD can assist you, every step of the way, in preparing for a successful professional life – in whatever form that takes. Plan to meet with a Career Specialist once a semester. We look forward to working with you and to having a front-row seat as you launch into a dynamic and changing world of possibility!

  • Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development
  • Merrill Hall, MU011
  • Email: jsomoecd@indiana.edu
  • Register for events and schedule advising appointment in our Career Portal
  • Download the Careers by Symplicity app!
  • Follow #JSoMOECD on Twitter and Facebook
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(Don’t) just Google it!


We’ve gotten used to it. The Google has become our all-knowing oracle. We turn to it for anything and everything…sometimes often throughout the day. But IS a general google search the best approach to identifying professional opportunities?

For busy multi-faceted artists, targeted job boards, databases, and specialty listservs can save a lot of time – and frustration. The OECD (in consultation with faculty) compiled and continually updates a list of our favorite sites. Our friend, colleague, and JSoM alum David Cutler also offers a broad selection of professional resources on his Savvy Musician site.

Whether you’re searching for internships, arts admin opportunities, summer festivals, or auditions, learn to target your search, bookmark your favorite sites, and set alerts to receive notifications when new opportunities are posted in your areas of focus.

Here are a few of our favorite bookmarks:

If you’re looking for information and resources on entrepreneurship, networking, portfolio development, or project support, check out the OECD Resources page or stop by MU011 for a chat. We’ll be here all summer!

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The Giving Piano

Around the world, and right here in Bloomington, the piano is the focal point of a renaissance in community art and creative place-making as musicians, and arts organizers bring the “grand” instrument to the people.

Next week, The Giving Piano Initiative will place a beautiful Bosendorfer grand, about to retire from its performance career, in the Bloomington Transit Center for a series of concerts and open performances, showcasing music, and musicians, of all kinds.

The week-long celebration features two daily time slots for free public performances: 12-2 pm is an open call for anyone who wishes to perform and 4-6 pm includes scheduled performances by various Indiana University students and community partners. Bloomington community members are also invited to perform at any other time, while the Transit Center is open during the week.

Here are a few of the many exciting and innovative projects in “public piano” happening around the country, and across the globe:

Sing for Hope Pianos places artist-designed pianos throughout NYC’s parks and public spaces for anyone and everyone to play each summer. After their time on the streets, Sing for Hope transports the instruments to NYC public schools, where they become hubs for ongoing creative programs.

In Fort Collins, Colorado, Pianos About Town (a collaboration between the City, Downtown Development Authority, and a local Foundation) brings local art and spontaneous music to the streets.

A collaboration of two multi-disciplinary artists, Sunset Piano invites local musicians and the public to play under the open sky along the Northern California Coast.

Street Pianos has taken the movement global with more than 1,800 pianos in 55 cities, reaching more than 10 million people worldwide.

*For more information on how you can participate in the Giving Piano Initiative in Bloomington, email: jumpstar@iu.edu

*If you plan to participate, please share your photos on Facebook and other social media platforms #thegivingpiano

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You got the gig!

A guest post by OECD Practicum student, and jazz pianist, Matt Falgowski

So you’ve got the gig! All that hard work in a practice room has finally paid off, but it’s not over yet. You still have to get your repertoire list together, play the gig, and get asked back. Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind:

  • When you land the gig, give the event coordinator a call within 24 hours and let them know you have a stellar group ready to play, and you are looking forward to it. It’s a load off the coordinator’s mind to receive a call letting them know the entertainment is taken care of.
  • Make sure to negotiate payment and time commitment, if not already done. Will there be rehearsals? How long are you expected to perform? When negotiating, make sure to ask questions. Advocate for the value of your service and do it with a positive attitude.
  • Follow up with a brief contract that outlines: time, fee, travel, cancellation policies, deposits, etc. If you are given a contract, make sure to read it through, and ask questions if you are uncertain about anything.
  • Agree upon the repertoire and take any requests the coordinator may have. (Highway to Hell might not be the best choice for a wedding.)
  • If the event coordinator requests an audio sample, repertoire list, résumé, etc., from the group send it ASAP.
  • Show up, dressed professionally, and well before the gig start time.
  • Play the gig!
  • Upon leaving, make sure to thank the event coordinator and leave your card.
  • Follow up with your musicians and make sure your bandmates get paid in a timely manner!
  • Jot down the date, payment, and expenses from the gig. Financial record keeping is essential as a freelance musician. Expenses such as travel and instrument care can be deducted as a business expense and lower your overall tax burden.

Interested in learning more about freelancing? The So, You Want to be a Freelance Musician workshop, with JSoM faculty member Vincent Carr, is for you!

  • Friday April 13th
  • 3:00-4:30PM
  • MU011
  • Sign up in the career portal



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Saturday: Interview Prep Masterclass!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have insight into what search committees are REALLY looking for in a cover letter and resume? Would you like to know what employers are thinking about as they prepare for candidate interviews? Are there things you can do to increase your chances of success in the interview process? Is help available as you think about, and prepare for, your interviews?

If you answered ‘YES’ to any or all of the questions above, the Interview Prep Masterclass is for YOU! Take advantage of the combined expertise of Jacobs’ faculty members Brenda Brenner, Anne Epperson, Jason Nam, and Mark Hood as they demystify the interview process. You’ll leave with tips & pointers, new-found confidence, and maybe a few cautionary tales.

This masterclass includes an opportunity to observe, and debrief, two mock interviews. Our faculty panel will interview an undergraduate student for a summer internship AND a PhD candidate [Orchestral Conducting] for a professional position.

Invest two hours in your career preparation this Saturday. You’ll be glad you did.

Sign up in the career portal

  • Interview Prep Masterclass
  • Saturday, April 7
  • 10am-12pm
  • MU011, OECD Headquarters
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Interview Preparation!

So, you’ve landed that first interview! Your resume looks great, you researched the job and the organization, and your cover letters tell your story well.

Now what?

Preparing for that interview takes this to another level. Before your goal was to demonstrate that you have the skills to do the job. Now the goal is to show the employer what you can do for them, specifically. The other, often buried goal of the job interview, is to help you decide if your career ambitions and qualifications are aligned with them. Yes, that’s right – part of the point here is for you to interview back.

This week’s post is designed to help you get started in your preparations for a job interview with some best practices and a list of dos and don’ts.

Best practices:

  • Be sure you take the time to research the organization. That might mean the company (if you’re new to it), the department, and/or the people you will be interviewing with. Make sure you have the following:
    • Background information (is this a new position? Has there been any kind of reorganization? Did someone leave and you would be potentially taking over their position?)
    • What questions do you have for them about the position, the organization, or what it would be like to work there? You will definitely be given a chance to ask questions, so plan ahead
  • Make sure you go back to the job description and be sure you understand what is required, who the position reports to, and what your qualifications are
  • Practice responses to questions. Remember the first few times you try to answer the question you’ll probably be thinking through it. You want to be able to answer their questions in under three minutes (interviews are short and there’s a lot to cover!)
  • Plan what you’ll wear. What you wear affects how you talk, so always dress well even if it’s only a phone interview! If it’s face to face, err on the side of conservative business dress. Don’t forget to put on appropriate professional shoes, too.
  • Pay attention to your non-verbal communication – your body language speaks volumes to your listener.
  • Respect the time of your interviewers – be on time, keep your answers brief and to the point – they’ll ask follow up questions if they have any.
  • Remember that questions are opportunities, not challenges to your credentials. Don’t let your fears of being “good enough” get in the way.

Want to see interviews live to help you learn more? The OECD has a mock interview masterclass workshop coming up on Saturday April 7th from 10am-noon in MU011 (OECD Headquarters!). Reserve a seat and find more information on the Career Portal.

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Taking Time to Tackle the Tax Tangle

As artists, we spend most of our time connecting to the creative side of the brain and can’t be bothered by keeping up with lists of our business expenses. And, yet, with tax season upon us, it’s time to fire up the left side of the brain and consider how to organize the numbers and to work out how to handle deductions. Overall, it’s best to consult with a tax professional and keep accurate records & receipts through the year.

Where to Start?
Most working musicians are considered to be self-employed in regard to filing taxes. In a legal and taxpaying sense this means that your business as a musician and you as an individual taxpayer are one and the same.

Which Deductions?
Here are a few suggested deductions for the self-employed musician:

  • Expenses related to a home studio
  • Membership fees to professional associations
  • Cost of instrument depreciation (over time)
  • Mileage for work-related activity

Learn more here >

What Type of Business?

If you plan to start a formal business as you make money as an artist, it’s helpful to know what your options are for both tax and liability purposes.

  • Sole Proprietorships are essentially one-owner businesses
  • Partnerships are the same as sole proprietorships, only there is more than one owner.
  • Limited Liability Companies or (LLCs) are separate entities that offer the pass-through taxation capabilities of sole proprietorships and partnerships, but relieve you of most personal liability.

Learn more here >

Looking for Help?

If you’re looking for advice, here are a number of local and online resources:

Non-US Citizen Looking for Help?

There’s a not-for-profit organization, called Artists from Abroad that can help!

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