Frequently Asked Questions

What are the overriding goals of The Savvy Musician?

 The Savvy Musician helps musicians:

  • build a career
  • earn a living
  • make a difference

 What makes The Savvy Musician the most helpful music career text available?

 Here are 15 reasons (for starters):

  1. The most comprehensive. The Savvy Musician (TSM) is the most comprehensive text available anywhere addressing the concerns of aspiring and professional musicians.
  2. 165 Vignettes. No other music career book comes close to matching the 165 real life stories presented in TSM about musical artists and organizations. The web address of each artist is included.
  3. Entrepreneurial approach. The art, craft, and spirit of entrepreneurship is at the heart of this text. Musicians are encouraged to become opportunity creators, creative thinkers, and business minded, in addition to remarkable artists.
  4. In depth content. The writing style is friendly, but information is deep, detailed, and specific.  There is no fluff in TSM, only clear explanations and strategies to help you succeed.
  5. Beautiful design. TSM is attractive, logical, and easy to navigate. It looks as nice as it reads.
  6. Focus: schooled musicians. While musicians of any genre and background will benefit greatly from TSM, this book was written to address the needs of schooled musicians, filling in the gaps of traditional music school training. Many examples focus on classical, jazz, and world music artists.
  7. Focus: performers, composers, educators. TSM deals extensively with considerations for performers, composers, and educators.
  8. Product development. While many books address various aspects of the business, few dare to tackle product development (i.e. the art that we make).  Several chapters of TSM focus directly on product.
  9. Marketing. "Marketing is Everything" is the name of a chapter, as well as an attitude stressed throughout TSM. Several chapters focus on marketing tactics.
  10. Personal finance. To succeed, savvy musicians must understand the money game. A full chapter is devoted to financial literacy.
  11. Legacy. Musicians are encouraged to develop careers that are not only prosperous, but also deeply meaningful. Pursuing passions and leaving a legacy are stressed throughout.
  12. Opportunity brainstorm. The "Opportunity Brainstorm" appendix lists thousands of opportunities available to musicians.  
  13. Website. TSM Website is packed with valuable resources for musicians: links to over 1000 helpful sites, a bookstore, relevant articles, and more.
  14. Newsletter. TSM Newsletter, available for free, provides artist profiles and articles by leaders in the field. This is the rare breed of newsletter, designed with your interests in mind, that you will eagerly anticipate each time!
  15. Song. Yes, TSM even comes complete with its own comedy song!

Of course, our list could go on. To fully comprehend the difference, read this book!

How did you select the 165 artists featured throughout the book?

For each vignette, I had a specific type of message in mind. The trick was finding individuals or organizations with interesting and relevant stories to share. I sought to create a diverse roster, representing different instruments, genres, ethnicities, regions, backgrounds, and experiences. To find potential candidates, I asked friends, got referrals, read magazines, perused blogs, and searched the Internet. Not everyone who was interviewed made the book, but when someone had the "right" story, it often became immediately evident. Frequently, their account was much better than anything I could have imagined.

Rather than telling tales of the rich and famous (which would have been easier to identify), lesser known artists were often favored. Interesting projects by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, or Bobby McFerrin might provide fascinating perspectives, but many readers would dismiss the relevance of such accounts. "Of course they can do that.  They're rich and famous! But what about someone like me who is struggling to get by?" On the other hand, if an incredible venture is crafted by a musician they've never heard of in-say-rural Kansas, just maybe they can use the story as inspiration for their own musical existence.

 Who is the intended audience for The Savvy Musician?

Though this book will prove helpful to anyone involved with the music industry, it is geared particularly towards schooled musicians: a growing demographic with formal music education beyond the high school level, studying at conservatories, universities, 4-year colleges, and community colleges. Schooled musicians serve as performers, composers, conductors, arrangers, educators, therapists, academics, librarians, sound engineers, booking agents, authors, promoters, arts administrators, publishers, record label owners, and the list goes on. Having fulfilled many of these roles myself, this is the community I know best.  The Savvy Musician addresses the types of issues that regularly confront my students, teachers, collaborators, colleagues, and of course, yours truly.  

Where is The Savvy Musician available?

After its release date of October 2009, The Savvy Musician will be available through The Savvy Musician,, bookstores, and anywhere else books are sold. 

Wow, I can't believe how much helpful information is packed into this book about a challenging career path-music! As a performer on an instrument that is unfamiliar to many, I know firsthand the importance of being savvy. The Savvy Musician will help you realize your dreams.

- Wu Man, Pipa (Chinese lute-like instrument) virtuoso