Speaking (to Non-Musicians)

I have met so many musicians whom I believe should also be speakers. The richness of a life in Music not only provides for a wealth of funny and interesting stories, but also a tremendous amount of learning through challenge and creativity. Recently, I have been encouraged to share my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned as a musician with non-musicians. This is a new passion for me that is bringing much joy.

Here are a few of the things I’m talking about…


The Musician Mindset

I’ve been blessed to learn from so many amazing teachers and musicians that I feel a responsibility to pass it on. So a component of my career has always involved teaching music to someone somewhere. But Music has been my teacher every step of the way. It’s a multi-faceted discipline that uses both sides of the brain, shows real results in real time and inspires growth and creativity. No wonder so many high-functioning people have music in their background - the lessons learned from Music are Universal.

But you don’t have to be a musician to adopt a Musician Mindset. 

The benefits of Music-Making are enormous and well documented, and I strongly recommend you find a place for it in your life. But having a Music Mindset is about getting real and engaging your whole self to achieve your goals.

Perhaps more than most professions, being a Musician requires an elevated level of technical Excellence (Left Brain), combined with extreme Creativity (Right Brain) and a healthy dose of Courage. If that isn’t enough, it also exposes the practitioner to intense Public Scrutiny in a highly uncertain and competitive Marketplace. 

Having a Music Mindset can enhance:

  • Performance 
  • Visioning/Strategic Planning/Goal Realization
  • Time Management
  • Project Management
  • Managing Humans
  • Leadership/Right Role at the Right Time
  • Team Building/Working as a Unit
  • Wielding Trust
  • Being Reliably Creative
  • Communication/Active Listening
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Skill Development, Maintenance and Mastery
  • Emotional Mastery – Managing High Expectations and Staying Loose
  • Finding Balance in an Unpredictable Environment
  • Integrating and Applying Criticism
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Marketing/Social Media/Branding
  • Building Community through Meaning


Musician Mindset involves:

  • Getting clear about what’s important and maintaining focus.
  • Achieving real results through Planning, Preparation and Performance.
  • Being an Artist with a vision, a point of view, a purpose, a style.
  • Working as a team to create a memorable experience for others.


Music Messenger

Andrea Menard (http://www.andreamenard.com), the gifted singer, actor and speaker, created the Music Messenger Series, which focuses on having musicians share something about music or music making that can have an impact on musicians and non-musicians alike. For Andrea, it’s about being a “Song-Keeper” and taking responsibility for her creations and aspiring to be impeccable as an artist. Our friend, musician and speaker Nathen Aswell (http://www.nathenaswell.com), uses this forum to talk about his experience as one of the few people in Canada who have learned to play the “Chapman Stick, and his journey towards Mastery.

I looked back on my career and realized that I needed to talk about how holding on to an outdated paradigm of Success can affect self-worth, and discuss the steps I took to re-frame “Making It”.

Lessons learned would apply to any life: 

  • Re-defining Success by seeing what’s real and Shifting Perspective;
  • Overcoming Shame, Blame and Criticism;
  • Finding Meaning and Being in Service (Dylan: “you gotta serve somebody”), and;
  • Embracing Creativity. 

I discovered that, in the end, your real gift is you, and each one of us can express ourselves as the Artist we truly are.


Speaking and Workshops - Music

As University Instructor, I have been a Speaker (Lecturing, Teaching) in the classroom for many years, teaching subjects such as Songwriting, Theory, Ear Training and leading Ensembles. I have also delivered papers at universities in Canada and the U.S and spoken at industry events and at conferences. And, of course, I have been speaking to audiences for even longer as a performer. 

I have also had the pleasure of leading workshops across Canada on a variety of music-related topics, in English and French. Workshops include:

  • Songwriting
  • Arranging
  • Melody
  • Lyric Writing
  • Theory
  • Producing
  • Improvisation
  • Playing as a Band
  • Music Industry/Earning a Living as a Musician

I thoroughly enjoy being able to share my knowledge with fellow musicians at all points on the spectrum, and it always results in deepening my own learning too. There is real satisfaction in seeing a student have an “aha” moment, and it’s possible I get more out of teaching than my students.