Creativity for Music Entrepreneurs Part I: 5 Steps to Find Your Cause in the World of Classical Music

Astrid Baumgardner

By Astrid Baumgardner 

This semester, 16 students in my Innovation and Collaboration class at the Yale School of Music are tackling the issue of the sustainability of classical music in the 21st century, in order to get closer to the Ideal World of Classical Music. These students are not just superb musicians but they also aspire to be cultural leaders who want to make a difference. Using the creative problem-solving process and design thinking, students will be working in small collaborative project groups to generate and experiment with innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing our field.

How does one decide which problem to tackle? MORE

Published December 2, 2016
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YSM students receive grant from Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program


Left to right: Igor Lichtmann, Jiwon Sun, Lydia Consilvio, Chris Garwood, and Felice Doynov

A group of five Yale School of Music students have received a grant from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Venture Creation Program to create a Practice Portal designed to foster dialogue about effective approaches to practicing. The grant includes a $1,000 cash investment and enrollment in YEI’s five-week series of lean-startup workshops. Grantees are also connected with YEI’s network of mentors and a dedicated student Venture Creation Advisor from the Yale School of Management.

The YSM students — oboist Lydia Consilvio ’17MM, flutist Felice Doynov ’17MM, guitarists Chris Garwood ’17MM and Igor Lichtmann ’18MM, and violinist Jiwon Sun ’17MM — developed their project idea after having related discussions during a course taught by YSM’s coordinator of career strategies, Astrid Baumgardner.

“A huge part of our daily life consists of practicing, three to eight hours a day for most people,” Doynov said. “And if we’re not practicing as effectively as possible, we’re not getting better as quickly as possible. What we want to do is use modern technology and the resources we have at Yale to bring musicians valuable information in an online community that focuses on practicing.”

Doynov and her colleagues are in the process of launching a website and have been uploading content to Practice Portal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Doynov said they hope to launch a Practice Portal app, as well.

“The Venture Creation Program,” according to the YEI website, “was created to catalyze and support the growth of new, early-stage ventures at Yale. It is dedicated to providing resources for entrepreneurial teams to commercialize promising, unique products or services.”

Kassie Tucker, YEI’s program director, said the students who conceived Practice Portal are “trying to be innovative in a not-always-innovative space” and are trying to improve on an area that’s a “pain point” for many musicians.


Published November 18, 2016
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[ career strategies ]

Career Strategies offers workshop on Financial Life After Yale for Musicians Feb. 1

Steve Blum

Steve Blum

Astrid Baumgardner, Director of Career Strategies, announces that Steve Blum will present a workshop on Financial Life After Yale for Musicians on Monday, February 1, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.

In addition, Baumgardner will present a unit on how to generate revenues as a musician and create a financial plan. Attendees will receive relevant handouts, and a pizza dinner will be served.

This workshop will teach YSM students how to plan for the future; save and invest; improve their credit scores; and manage their taxes. Blum will discuss helpful rules of thumb and will illuminate terms such as ETFs, IRAs, HSAs, and Roth 401k plans. MORE

Published January 26, 2016
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[ career strategies ]

Career Strategies presents marketing workshop Dec. 11

Astrid BaumgardnerThe Office of Career Strategies has announced its next career workshop, which will take place on December 11 at 2 pm. The workshop is called Marketing for Musicians: Five Steps for Building Your Audience and Filling The House.

Astrid Baumgardner, the director of career strategies, wrote: “With your student recitals looming, wouldn’t it be great to have a large live audience, along with a healthy crowd attending via live-stream? And how about your other performances and events?  All musicians should know the basics of marketing. In this workshop, I will go through the five key steps that will help you to build you audience and fill the house.” MORE

Published November 23, 2015
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[ in the press ]

YEI Works with Yale School of Music to Encourage New Ventures

Astrid BaumgardnerYale Entrepreneurship Institute

The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI) has begun working with the Yale School of Music to help drive new creative ventures. YEI has connected with Astrid Baumgardner, Coordinator of Career Strategies and Lecturer at the music school who teaches a class called “Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Collaboration” and was looking for mentors to help guide teams who are developing new business and nonprofit ideas.  “YEI is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these incredibly creative students to provide business expertise and mentorship and encourage them to grow their ventures through programs and resources at YEI,” says Brita Belli, Communications Officer at YEI and the Office of Cooperative Research.

At a recent class, music student teams shared their ideas before a panel of invited mentors which included an app for matching people to classical music they would enjoy based on their existing (non-classical) music taste; a nonprofit to provide music to hospice patients; a new chamber opera that would capture the creation process and provide intimate behind-the-scenes videos and blogs; and a team that hopes to create transcendent musical experiences that utilize more welcoming venues.


Published November 17, 2015
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[ career strategies ]

Career Strategies hosts networking workshop Oct. 12

wei-sharon-webThe Office of Career Strategies will host a networking workshop on Monday, October 12. The workshop will be presented by Astrid Baumgardner, director of career strategies, and violist Sharon Wei ’06 MM, founder of Ensemble Made in Canada and faculty member at Western Ontario University.

“We have all heard how important networking is to building a successful music career,” notes Astrid Baumgartner. This workshop offers YSM students an opportunity to learn how to network effectively.

The networking workshop will take place 12:20–1:30 pm in Leigh Hall, Room 408. It will offer tips on how to network effectively, informational interviews, reaching out to presenters, knowing what to say, and creating an elevator pitch. Students will be able to practice their new skills in a role-playing exercise.


Published October 7, 2015
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[ career strategies ]

Career Strategies presents a conversation with the Brentano Quartet Sep. 30

brentano_vOn Wednesday, September 30, Astrid Baumgardner will interview the members of the Brentano Quartet on the topic of artistic careers and collaboration in the 21st century. The interview takes place at 4:30 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street).

The Brentano String Quartet is ensemble-in-residence at the Yale School of Music, where they perform in concert each semester and work closely with students in chamber music contexts. The members of the quartet are Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; and Nina Lee, cello. Read more about the quartet here.

Students will have the opportunity to ask questions. The event will be streamed live on the School of Music’s website.




Published September 22, 2015
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[ events ]

POSTPONED: Career Strategies presents networking workshop April 28

Update 4/27: This workshop has been postponed to the fall semester.

Astrid BaumgardnerThe Office of Career Strategies will lead a workshop on networking skills on Tuesday, April 28. Astrid Baumgardner will lead the workshop, which will take place from 12:20 to 1:30 pm in Leigh Hall, Room 408.

The music business is a people business, and today’s musicians need to know how to create and sustain successful relationships through networking. The 70-minute workshop will teach the basics of effective networking.

Baumgardner writes: “We will cover the basic principles of networking, learn how to overcome the challenges to networking, and create an elevator pitch so that you know what to say when you meet people in networking situations.” The event will finish up with a role-playing exercise that gives participants the opportunity to practice their networking skills and then debrief the experience. MORE

Published April 20, 2015
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[ workshops ]

Financial Life After Yale: Workshop on March 25

The office of career strategies announces another financial workshop on March 25 at 4:30pm. YSM students are welcome to join Yale Resident Fellow Steve Blum ’74 for a workshop called Financial Life After Yale.

In addition, Astrid Baumgardner, the head of career strategies at YSM, will present a section on how to project and plan for multiple revenue streams.

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of the following questions, this workshop is for you:

  • How do I plan for the long run?
  • How can I improve how I save/invest?
  • What rules of thumb might help me?
  • Tell me more about ETFs, IRAs, HSAs, Roth 401k’s and all those acronyms!
  • How do I build my credit score?
  • How do taxes affect how I save/invest?


Published March 2, 2015
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[ events ]

Career Strategies event Sep. 22 features conversation with David Shifrin

David ShifrinThe Office of Career Strategies will kick off the new school year with an animated conversation featuring world-famous clarinetist and YSM professor David Shifrin. The event takes place Monday, September 22, 2014 from 4:30–6 pm in Sprague Hall.

Astrid Baumgardner, Coordinator of Career Strategies, will moderate the conversation, which will also include three YSM students: Christina Hughes, flute; Kevin Schaffter, clarinet; and Sam Suggs, double bass. MORE

Published September 5, 2014
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