Erika March, Publicist
Helius Press

An Alternative to the Starving Musician 


PITTSBURGH, PA - The notion that exceptional ability alone will lead to a thriving music career is simply false, almost without exception. Yet many outstanding and highly trained musicians are not prepared to face professional realities. But a new book by pianist, composer, and educator David Cutler, The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, & Making a Difference, helps individuals and organizations achieve greater levels of success. Providing them with powerful tools and an entrepreneurial mindset, the central message is take control of your livelihood.

There is no shortage of talent in the music world, explains Cutler. Savvy musicians find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. They create products that are unique, fulfill real needs, and seek opportunities/audiences that don't yet exist. Risk taking and unconventional approaches are central, along with the understanding that marketing is always the musician's responsibility, even when represented by management or a record label. In other words, the savviest musicians find ways to create demand for their offerings in any environment.

Vignettes detailing experiences of more than 150 musicians, each offering valuable lessons, are integrated throughout The Savvy Musician.  In most cases, these artists aren't famous superstars, but rather proactive individuals and organizations working to create meaningful and prosperous careers. "The case studies alone are worth the price!" claims Greg Sandow, blogger on the future of classical music and veteran critic for the Wall Street Journal. Some examples include:

  • The orchestral clarinetist who changed tracks mid-career and built a $12 million business.
  • The jazz composer who writes his business plan as if he were a corporation.
  • The self-managed flute and tuba duo that books 150-200 performances per year.

There's no doubt that life in the music industry comes with very real challenges. But those who are creative and use business smarts can indeed build meaningful fulfilling careers. In fact, it's even possible to do this while reaching financial goals. So goodbye, starving musician. Hello, savvy musician.


Media: Contact author for interviews and review copies. Visit for contents, sample chapter, testimonials, bio, photos, media information, and more. The Savvy Musician is available through the website,, and anywhere else books are sold.

This is a fantastic book, and should be required reading for every music school student as well as their teachers, professors, and deans.  I plan on making The Savvy Musician a part of my conferences, seminars, and core curriculum. 

 - Michael Drapkin, executive director, Puerto Rico Conference on Music Entrepreneurship