Dr. David Cutler is available as a presenter, consultant, and mentor.


Workshops & Presentations

David Cutler has offered workshops and presentations nationally at universities, music centers, summer festivals, teacher training seminars, and conferences. Renowned for his humorous, interactive, and content-rich approach, Dr. Cutler inspires participants to think creatively and entrepreneurially. Topics are custom-tailored specifically to the needs and interests of each organization. Sample talks include:

  • Re-Imagining the Arts: Challenging Conventional Wisdom to Discover Innovative and Relevant Success Solutions.  (120-150 minutes)  Conventional wisdom teaches us a lot as musicians: what to value, where to seek opportunities, how to organize careers.  Pay close attention to these insights. This provocative presentation shows how artists bold enough to question widely accepted assumptions increase success and discover hidden opportunities in our quickly changing world.
  • Arts Marketing 010. (120-180 minutes) Not your typical arts marketing talk. After disproving several Mammoth Marketing Myths suggested just about everywhere (i.e. advertising works, social media will save you, people attend concerts for the music), discover a powerful and comprehensive marketing strategy that delivers results, guaranteed.
  • Embracing Entrepreneurship. (60-75 minutes) While competition for traditional music jobs is at an all time high, this is a golden age for entrepreneurial artists.  After examining the meaning and benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset, this talk addresses how to: create opportunity, become the best in the world, get "famous," fail (the right way), build an empire, and more.
  • Average Student, Savvy Student(50-75 minutes) Sure, you're a stellar music student, revered for excellent playing, high grades, and a strong work ethic.  But are you savvy?  Do you approach your academic experience in ways that best position you for success down the road?  This uncommon presentation questions conventional wisdom, challenging you to re-imagine your potential as a music student.  
  • Managing the Savvy Artist's Career. (60-90 minutes) Let's face it. Most artists don't have a single job. Instead, they balance complex careers with multiple income streams and varied types of work. This workshop presents strategies for developing a fulfilling, meaningful, manageable, and sustainable professional life. 
  • Creating Demand for your Music in ANY Environment. (60-90 minutes) In order to thrive as a professional musician, there must be demand for what you offer.  This compelling presentation shows you what it takes to establish yourself 1) when there's lots of demand (easy, but not common), 2) within a competitive field (i.e. getting booked by a desirable concert series), and 3) in environments where no demand currently exists (i.e. communities without established music traditions).  It concludes with an exploration of new opportunities for 21st century musicians.
  • The Savvy Music Teacher. (60-90 minutes) Becoming a private music teacher is a great career option for a number of reasons.  But how much can these professionals reasonably expect to earn?  This workshop presents an economic blueprint for success, demonstrating a specific step-by-step plan for maximizing income.
  • How Music Education Can Change the World (and Why It Often Doesn't). (50-75 minutes) We've all experienced the incredible power of music education.  But as a community, are we living up to our potential?  This surprising presentation shows uncommon ways to increase impact and advocacy, making music education more essential and valued (and supported).
  • The Future College Music Professor.  (120-180 minutes) Geared towards doctoral music students, this presentation explores the university of the near future (hint: it looks and operates quite differently than the 20th Century paradigm).  We then discuss what you need to do in order to land a coveted job in this profession.
  • Building Your Portfolio Career: Imagining the Mix.  (75-90 minutes) Though the number of traditional full-time jobs available to musicians is relatively small (and shrinking), portfolio careers-which integrate multiple sources of income-offer an exciting alternative. This workshop introduces the essentials, demonstrates a variety of models, and shows how this career path can help you reach personal, professional, artistic, and financial aspirations.
  • Marketing is Everything!  (50-60 minutes) Many musicians are disinterested in the notion of marketing. They'd rather be practicing, composing, fishing...or anything else. In fact, they long for the day when a record label, artist manager, or some other noble third party will do it for them. Well, that's not how the game is played!  This presentation shows how powerhouse strategies such as guerilla, permission, free, viral, and buzz marketing lead to new audiences, exciting opportunities, and unprecedented success. 
  • Website Master Class. (60-90 minutes) An in-depth look at how websites of select participants can be transformed to get unprecedented results.
  • Brand or Bust! (50-60 minutes) While artistic excellence is an important feature for musicians, it by no means guarantees success as a professional! The most prosperous musicians develop an immediately identifiable brand that weaves through every aspect of their career. This talk goes beyond the basics, identifying a host of variables contributing to personal brand identity. Strategies increase exposure, reputation, and level of "fame."
  • Rebranding Classical Music. (50-75 minutes) After making the case that classical music has a debilitating image problem, choking everything from concert ticket sales to school music programs, Cutler unveils a plan for rebranding this powerful art form.
  • Stop Thinking Like a Musician!  (50-60 minutes) We live in an era where music schools are pumping record numbers of outstanding performers and composers into an oversaturated workforce.  What factors best determine who succeeds and who doesn't?  This provocative but optimistic presentation pokes holes in common myths, unleashing a new world of potential for musicians brave enough to stop thinking like one.
  • Discovering Your "Legacy Career". (50-60 mintutes) Most people originally pursue music because it's something they love. Yet many musicians find themselves doing work that is not particularly fulfilling or meaningful. Others become so self-absorbed that they forget about music's true power. Revisit the reasons you became a musician in the first place. Then explore paths that are directly related to your personal interests, make a difference in the lives of others, and lead to new revenue sources.
  • Higher Education Curricular Retooling: Cultivating Savvy & Successful Students. (30-60 minutes) Geared towards faculty members and administrators, this ground-breaking presentation shows how entrepreneurship, creativity, leadership, and other success skills can be integrated across and beyond the curriculum already in place. Also available are full- or half-day interactive faculty workshops focused around these issues. 

Please direct workshop and presentation related inquiries to


University Residencies

University engagements typically include 1-3 day residencies, though weeklong sessions are also possible. During this time, Dr. Cutler most often participates in some combination of the following activities.

  • Workshops
  • Panel discussions (as modertor or panelist)
  • Small group career coaching
  • Chamber ensemble coaching (focus on branding/marketing/career/event design)
  • Faculty/administrator meetings
  • Faculty presentations
  • Concert performances (featureing Dr. Cutler as pianist and/or composer)

Residencies may be held on weekdays, weekends, or a combination of both. Weekends have the advantage of not needing to compete with classes. Weekdays ensure that students will already be on campus, and presentations are often integrated into pre-existing classes or symposia. Some programs even cancel all classes for 24 hours so that students can focus on career/entrepreneurship issues for a full day.

Whatever the format, Dr. Cutler is happy to collaborate with your planning team to determine the most beneficial way to utilize his time on campus.

Please direct university residency related inquiries to


Consulting & More

In addition to presentations, Dr. Cutler frequently offers the following kinds of services when visiting institutions:

  • Career counseling.  Offered to individuals or small groups.
  • Chamber ensemble coaching.  Focusing on career, marketing, and entrepreneurial aspects.
  • Consulting.  Available as a consultant to universities, orchestras, and arts organizations on issues such as curriculum, product development, marketing, branding, audience development, vision, mission, strategic planning, creating a more holistic and entrepreneurial culture, developing viable and sustainable educational models.
  • Interdisciplinary focus.  In addition to working with musicians, Cutler often interfaces with artists from other disciplines, the business community, and additional demographics interested in the arts and entrepreneurship.



Since The Savvy Musician was released in Fall 2009, Dr. Cutler has maintained a busy speaking and consulting schedule with institutions such as:

  • Acofartes (Colombia)
  • Arizona State University (ASU)
  • Arts Enterprise National Conference (MO)
  • ArtServe (FL)
  • Association of California Symphony Orchestras (CA)
  • Bowling Green State University (OH)
  • Carnegie University (PA)
  • Chamber Music Pro Summer Camp (PA)
  • Chicago Creative Expo (IL)
  • Cleveland Institute of Music (OH)
  • College Music Society Summit (CA)
  • Colorado College (CO)
  • Columbia College (IL)
  • Duquesne University (PA)
  • Early Music America National Conference (MA)
  • Indiana University (IN)
  • Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship (IL)
  • Ithaca College (NY)
  • Lawrence Conservatory (WI)
  • Manhattan School of Music (NY)
  • Maryland Music Teachers Association (PA)
  • Michigan State University (MI)
  • Milliken University (IL)
  • Minnesota State University Moorhead (MN)
  • National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (IL)
  • Network of Music Career Development Officers (NY)
  • National University of the Arts (Taiwan)
  • New World Symphony (FL)
  • Northern Illinois University (IL)
  • Nova Southeastern University (FL)
  • Oberlin Conservatory (OH)
  • Oklahoma State University (OK)
  • Owens Community College (OH)
  • Peabody Institute (MD)
  • Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association (PA)
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PA)
  • Saint Louis Symphony (MO)
  • SoundSCAPE (Italy)
  • Stetson University (FL)
  • University of Denver (CO)
  • University of Knoxville (TN)
  • University of Miami (FL)
  • University of Missouri Kansas City (MO)
  • University of South Carolina (SC)
  • Westchester University (PA)
  • Western Michigan University (MI)

Please direct inquiries to



One-on-one telephone mentoring with The Savvy Musician author David Cutler allows you to receive detailed and personalized guidance on issues central to your success. Expect the same kind of creative solutions that are trademarks of his book.  Mentoring services are 100% guaranteed.  If you aren't satisfied, get a full refund.

Below are some types of issues that you may want to address. These topics, in particular, are areas of personal expertise and passion for Dr. Cutler:

  • Job/grant applications.  Have you been sending off job/grant applications, but no one is biting? Or are you about to, but worried whether yours will stand out from the pack? Quite often, even the most talented candidates are overlooked because of shortcomings with their resume, CV, cover letter, or statement of purpose.  Be sure that your documents immediately distinguish you as an extraordinary choice.
  • Product development/branding. Do you hope to design a concert program that makes a splash? Distinguish your chamber group from the competition? Develop a niche for your teaching/recording studio? Being a great musician is important, but products with a strong brand that solve real needs have the highest potential of prospering.
  • Marketing and audience development. Are you hoping to sell out a concert? Promote recordings?  Attract attention from the media while creating a viral buzz? Explore traditional and non-traditional marketing strategies for making your messages visible, sticky, and relevant.
  • General career guidance. Looking to jumpstart your career? Turn passions into professional opportunities? Having trouble making the transition from student status to the "real world"?   Discuss the kinds of savvy choices and solid strategic planning necessary for increasing your chances of success.

 Arranging a mentoring session:

1) Send an inquiry e-mail to with brief description of the issue(s) to be addressed. No commitment required at this point.

2) You will receive an e-mail response outlining rates, how these sessions work, and further instructions for setting up an appointment.

"Cutler paints a holistic picture of what it takes to prosper as a contemporary artist. His insistence that musicians look both inward and outward is progressive and needed."

- Gary Beckman, founder, Arts Entrepreneurship Educator's Network