Adventures at Colburn

Melissa and I had the extreme pleasure of spending the better part of last week with entrepreneurship superstar Edna Landau at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles. Besides the fact that we ate great tacos, had a gorgeous view of Disney Hall (scroll down to see it!), and indulged in Iced Blendeds from Coffee Bean (YUM!), we witnessed one of the most innovative programs we’ve seen yet in training tomorrow’s musicians.

Edna, Melissa and Adam at the Colburn Cafe

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting or working with Edna, she’s pretty much a rock star. A founding director of IMG Artists, she left the company in 2007 to begin teaching career development and entrepreneurship at schools and conferences across the country. Our paths crossed around that time, and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s landed at Colburn as Director of Career Development, and honored us by inviting us to present our work and methods to her students.

Let’s be honest…entrepreneurship isn’t always sexy. There are a lot of late nights, early mornings, and I’m pretty sure most of my gray hairs are thanks to 5HE. But sharing what we’ve learned and seeing it spark ideas in others is one of the most exciting parts of our work. On Monday, Melissa walked the class through Funding Your Dreams touching on best practices, incorporation, and creating a sustainable structure. On Tuesday, we led a development workshop on how to successfully apply for grants and scholarships. Wednesday we focused on artistic planning, production, and sales. We even got to present two scenes from Black Violet using Colburn students to replace Drew, DeAunn, and Karl (though we missed them).

All in all, I’m amazed at how much we could teach in a three day period. Scatter in consultation meetings with various students and groups about how to achieve their artistic and financial goals, and you can imagine that we didn’t have time for much sight-seeing.

In speaking with people at the school, we learned all about the incredible initiatives in the Community School of Performing Arts, the Academy, and the outreach programs throughout Colburn. They are doing incredible work putting into practice the idea that music can and should be for everyone, regardless of economic status or geographic location. Everyone should check out YOLA to see the kinds of awesome things they do.

Alas. It was a privilege to visit Colburn, to work with Edna, and we hope to be back soon! And now…back to rehearsal. So much coming up in the next month!

Adam Marks is the pianist and Director of Artistic Programming for 5HE.

The view from our room at Colburn. Woot!

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