Tag Archives: Arts

Struggling Arts Hits Home

"Did we blow something up?"

mda: As we all know, these economic times have been quite hard for the arts as orchestras declare bankruptcy, funding dries up and schools end arts education which is killing the future supporters.  Yes, this may become somewhat of a doom-and-gloom post, but we feel it is still important to discuss.  It may not be a new discussion out there, but RBD and I now have first-hand knowledge of how it is as we both find ourselves without employment at this time.  Now I know I can say this for both of us: we are not bitter about losing our positions.  It happens and we must move on and we will grow from it.  Plus, I know both of us are quite intelligent and we will find bigger and better opportunities very soon.  So let’s start a discussion here, why don’t I let RBD start it off.

RBD:Yes, there are lots of people out there that have lost their jobs and we join a rather large segment of the population who are looking for jobs. However, being in the arts, the jobs we are looking for you won’t find in the

Connections are important. Don't burn bridges...

paper, or job boards on the internet. Being in the arts gives us unique connections where we can begin looking for new employment. As this discussion takes shape, our journeys will differ as I have a foot in the ‘industry’ side of the arts and another foot in the ‘performance’ side. As we document our different (and yet similar) paths, we hope that other people can learn from our failures and our successes. (emphasis on SUCCESSES!) So, mda, what have you been doing to find new employment?

Mind your CV

mda:Well I must say the most important thing that has been beneficial is the connections I have made in the Indy arts scene over the past 6 years or so.  The most beneficial aspect has been talking with those connections and keeping my ear to the ground for any positions that may arise.  As RBD mentioned, my journey is a little

Have we mentioned that Connections are important? They are!!

different as I find myself more on the ‘industry’ side as my performing career is not as extensive as my compatriot.  So the most important thing I have found as my search continues is to create a well-written cover letter, know your material and be able to speak properly and knowledgeable.  Now that might sound like easy things to do or ‘no-brainers,’ but I do believe people don’t really pay attention to the details.  Details is what can separate you from the competition.  It’s true…deal with it the right way!  How about you, RBD?  What do you think about the connections you have made and how has that helped with the performance side?

RBD: Compatriot? Well, okay, I’ll accept that. Yes, mda, details and words matter and they are important. Don’t forget that. To answer your question about connections, I would have to say that, YES, connections are very, very important. When we were ‘let go’ from our illustrious record label positions, I immediately had a beer, then played a gig later that night. Soon there-after, I created a list of people I have played/worked for in the past and people I have gotten to know through the job I had just lost. My list ended up being around 45 people long. I called and/or emailed almost all of them in the first week and have heard some very positive responses. The one things I haven’t done yet is to create a couple versions of my resume and create a CV (kind of a long-form resume). I have a nice resume now for performance, but not the business/industry side of things. I think now is the perfect time to (for me at least) to set a goal, maybe even an outlandish goal, but really set up a clear and functional direction I want to take for the future. This is what I believe right now: I don’t want to take any job, just to take a job. I also don’t believe there is a ‘perfect job’, ‘out there’, ‘waiting for me’, like some golden goat waiting to be milked. This is the perfect opportunity to reset and figure out what will ultimately make me happy in the long run. Am I being too selfish? Is this even possible? What do you think mda?

mda: I think you are on to something there, my friend.  We are both “at that age” where it is nice to think of stability (whatever that really means) and not just settling on a ‘job’ certainly doesn’t allow for that stability.  It really is about happiness at the same time.  However, unfortunately it is also about paying the bills and paying for the outlandish gas prices right now.  There is that fine line one must walk to make sure they do not find themselves in trouble.  However, that being said, I do not believe either of us will fall in that.  The thing about resume/CV that I have found interesting throughout this process has been things I have done in the past that I either forgot about or did not look at it as ‘worthy to mention’ until my friends and colleagues looked at my material and showed me my mistakes.  So Rule Number ‘Whatever Number We Are On Right Now’: show your material to as many people as you can before you submit.  They almost always will see something differently than you and it will ultimately help you out.

RBD: Yeah, never underestimate the power and knowledge of your friends in and out of your professional area. It’s easy to get dark at a time like this and no potential employer wants to hire a dark/depressed person. We both have to be upbeat and positive and know that we are a valuable asset to any future place of employment. What do you see, mda, as a rule about what to put on a resume and how to word it? Let’s take for an example your occasional co-guest-hosting of my radio show ‘Have You Heard’? How do you make that sound as best as it can be?

mda:  Well, I talk to the actual host and see how he would like me to word everything.  But I remember when we were discussing this, it became more of a conversation and we mutually came up with the correct wording of how to describe the show.  One thing that came up that we didn’t remember beforehand was the fact that there are interviews with national and international musicians on the show.  This was and important fact that obviously may present the show in a different light than saying it is just a local radio show.  You know what I mean?  I remember while I was working on my resume/CV, another friend felt it might be better to display a certain committee work I have had in the past as a separate area than placing it in my ‘Additional Experience’ section.  I didn’t even think of that, but it certainly makes sense.  Again, it’s the finer details…

Aldi is Awesome!

RBD: Yes, it’s the finer details that matter. Details matter. Words matter. The correct definition of words matter and the correct speling of words matter too. My advice to myself, you and anybody out there looking for a job is this: Create a community of people in your field, don’t be ashamed to tell them of your predicament, have them review your resume/CV and never give up. Also, start shopping at Aldi‘s, get another roommate and find out when and where the beer/drink specials are. You can thank me later.

mda: Hey, buddy….check your spelling.


Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Marketing-Publicity-Getting the Word Out

Money For Nothing…

Money bags!

The RBI blog has unfortunately not been very active as of late.  Our apologies.  Do we have a good excuse?  Not really, so we will just move straight in to the topic of today.  And that topic?  City money and where it is being spent. What’s the Dire Straits song?  ‘Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.’  Well that is what has pretty much happened in Indy…

As many Indianapolis residents know the city and state has had major cutbacks in various areas, including cutting the arts budget by 50%.  Now I understand the need to cut back certain areas to save money.  In these trying times, everyone needs to ‘tighten their belts’ and ride the wave through the mess that has been created.  However, why should the education and the arts suffer so greatly in the city when others are allowed to prosper with government funding when they obviously don’t need it.  What am I talking about?  Read this July 12 article from the Indy Star.

This is something that really doesn’t make sense to me.  I am a fan of many sports, as RBD is.  However, how can the city really afford to give the Indiana Pacers $33.5 million dollars for the next 3 years to keep them in the city?  The Indiana Pacers, which is owned by a billionaire; plays in a building that was built for them with taxpayer money and they pay no rent; and they also keep part of the revenue for non-Pacers related programs and shows that happen at Conseco Fieldhouse.  Could that $33.5 million have been spent a better way?  YES!  One of the reasons given by the local government is that the Pacers bring in revenue with their home games and present Indianapolis as a destination spot for businesses and vacationers because it shows Indy as a city with multiple professional sports attractions.  Yes that may be true and I am sure it does help the downtown scene.  But, do you know what else would make Indianapolis an attractive destination spot and revitalize the area?  That’s right….the Arts.

Could you imagine what could have been accomplished if that 33.5 million was put aside to fund current and new arts programs, green initiatives and education of our youth in Indy?  This city would absolutely transform to one of best cities in the region, if not the nation.  This is the truth!  So why couldn’t this money be used in better ways.  The owner of the Pacers has money to use and spend on his team.  Why does he need a bailout from the city?  We should be supporting our artists, dancers and musicians to create something beautiful and worthwhile.  Look what local and/or government support has done for other cities that is close in size to Indianapolis: Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul and the list could continue.  They are generally listed as some of the best places to live for a reason….and I believe a lot of it is because each city gives their support for the Arts.  They understand for a city to continue to grow and become a destination, it needs an identity.  That identity should be something that expands the mind (the Arts) and not just a professional sports team that continues to struggle each and every year.

Just a thought.  What do you guys think?  Am I looking at this completely wrong?  Give us your comments and let’s start a discussion!


Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Marketing-Publicity-Getting the Word Out, New Music/Ideas

Children’s favorite classical

Symphony Orchestra

One thing that is important to the future of Western Art Music is getting the younger generation connected to the music.  Many orchestras and other organizations accomplish this with the typical instrument petting zoos and “kiddie concerts.”  An article from the Guardian in the UK discussed what are the most popular ‘classical’ works for children and you will notice that the pieces listed are 1. typical for ALL kiddie concerts 2. programmatic and 3. generally related to Disney.  RBD and I (mda) decided we would discuss this list and see if it really is good for an introduction to Western Art Music for children.  So let’s start this:

mda: Hello Rich, how are you this fine evening?

RBD: I’m doing rather well thank you very much. Looking forward to this blog.

mda: So you read the list.  Let me first start with an overall question of “what do you think of the list?”

RBD: Well, I couldn’t help but notice two things: 1. Every piece is connected to a character or story, and as you mentioned, generally via Disney. 2. I’m assuming that anything with an orchestra is considered ‘classical’ to today’s youth. I’m also curious    just how this survey was done. Did the kids get a list from which to choose? Overall, though, anytime a youngster is exposed to classical music, via cartoons, movies, commercials, that’s fine with me….er, well, as long as the kids understand to what they are listening!

An Instrument Petting Zoo!

mda: Yeah, unfortunately the article does not discuss how the list was created.  The programmatic aspect is something that strikes me quite a bit.  Obviously, it is easier to introduce a young child to a piece of music if there is a story to tell/describe/promote.  I am fine with that.  Much like you, any way to introduce a child to the wonderment of classical music is fine by me.  However, by doing this are we ultimately shrinking the amount of music to introduce to the children?  First thought…will this make children expect a story behind each piece?  What about Renaissance music (which I know you are not a fan), or Mozart, or Beethoven?

RBD: Good points. Let’s think about these pieces as ‘gateway’ pieces. As mentioned, these pieces have a story to tell, they depict something via music. Now, in classical ‘kiddie concerts’ why not do the same things with different pieces? Play something ‘sad’. Play something ‘happy’. Show the audience, the children, that music can do a lot more than tell a story! After demonstrating how music can portray different emotions, then the orchestra can ask the kids to make up a story/emotion about another piece that they play. …(and now the ‘idea wheel’ gets moving, but the ‘knowing how to implement it’ wheel is a tad rusty) Maybe even send to the classrooms a week or two ahead of time, a piece of music, or send the kids back to school with a different piece of music, and have THEM make up a story! What does that piece of music say to them? Turn it into a contest/game/fun!! All in the name of getting the youth involved!

mda: Good idea.  Do you think orchestras are doing this?  Obviously you have a little more knowledge with this than I as there isn’t much need for a classical saxophonist in an orchestra.  However, I still feel like it puts too much emphasis on the story in the live performance.  The kids are getting introduced to a non-programmatic work BUT they are listening to it as a recording

Sergei Prokofiev

and not a live performance.  Am I being too picky with this? Also…hang with me here my brain just left……would it be better to introduce the children to music before they witness a live performance?  i.e. they study Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet first to understand the music and then use the live performance to strengthen their thoughts and then throw in non-programmatic works to expand their brains?  Answer that and then let’s move on to another question.  If you had the ability to introduce young children to a piece of music…any piece…what would it be?

RBD: Introduce the music to the kids BEFORE they get to the concert? Well, I think that makes the most sense ON THE PLANET! For all of the ‘kiddie concerts’ I’ve done and all the ‘school gigs’ I’ve played, I keep thinking: ‘These kids are REALLY getting into this! They LOVE us!’ Then I think, ‘What if these kids had been exposed to some of this material a week or two ahead of time?’ Can you imagine playing a piece the kids have studied/heard before? They would LOVE it! Why do you think they love ‘pop’ music so much? Well, one reason is because they hear it all the time!!! Anytime you get kids listening to classical music and thinking about classical music, getting them invloved…something good has happened! Now to answer your question…What piece of music would I use to introduce classical music to kids? That’s a good question. I’m going to have to think about that for a few minutes…

(insert 5 minutes here)

…well, there are so many wonderful pieces out there. On one hand you want to present them with something beautiful, and I know we are trying to be idealistic here, but I’m going to try to be practical. Having a piece with a HUGE orchestra and choir are not cost effective. Having a smaller orchestra doesn’t expose the students to all the instruments. So, I’m going to go with…part of or the entire 1st movement of Shostakovitch 5th symphony! Hell to the Y-E-S!! What a great historical place Shostakovitch has in classical history, not to mention Russian history. There are hints of atonality in there, a march and the repression! The pain of creating music under those confines….WOW! So engaging, especially if they get to discuss it before they come to the concert hall. Now, ideally…? Mahler, anything, I’d say Mahler 2, or the fugue at the end of Beethoven 9th. How many lives can be changed with music that powerful? Hmmm….
So, what would you choose?

Ludwig von Beethoven

mda: Well I was going to say Bach B Minor Mass or Beethoven 9…how perfect is Beethoven 9.  You have a great story of the composer, the use of the choir, the ultimate story of Bernstein using it for the fall of the Berlin Wall.  But you bring up an interesting concept with being cost effective these days.  You know….maybe I would chose a Haydn symphony because they generally have a story of some sort hook to them.  How about the Surprise Symphony or the Farewell Symphony?  Now granted, it is pretty structured in the composition, but I think it could be a great introduction.  In perfect world?  I would have to chose Mahler or Bartok!  Bartok I think would be an interesting choice.  It is quite accessible, full of folk music and fun to listen to.  Thoughts?

One of our favorites! Bela Bartok

RBD: Bartok, yeah, I didn’t think about that, of course there are so many pieces from which to choose, anything can work and for a number of reasons. This has been fun my friend!

mda: Thanks for doing this with me.  And please NEVER wear sleeping/lounge pants with dogs on it when you go out in public.  I think I would stop talking to you if that happened.

RBD: Done and Done!

So, what piece of music to YOU think would be great to introduce to our youth? What piece of music would you have liked to have heard when you were young? Were you exposed to classical music as a child? If so, what pieces?

Thanks for reading and sharing


Leave a comment

Filed under Music Education

Welcome to Renaissance Brothers Blog

Hi, my name is Rich Dole…

and I’m Matthew Altizer…

…and we are in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Crossroads of America.  Just another place in the world to find and discuss great artistic ventures happening right in your neighborhood! This is not JUST about Indianapolis, but this will focus on the Art World in General! Let us know what YOU are doing to promote and hear/view the Fine Arts in Your Community!

Together we will begin and/or continue artistic discussions of all kinds and varieties on this BLOG! We will discuss many things, including:

  • the state of the arts today
  • How to introduce the General Public to Chamber Music
  • Bringing Chamber Music to Non-Traditional Venues
  • Reviews of Recitals, Concerts, Shows, Exhibitions and the like (you can add to this too!)
  • Discussions on the Classics! (and the New Classics!)
  • Baseball, whether it relates to the Arts of NOT! (It’s baseball…)
  • And whatever else piques our interest…IT’S OUR BLOG BABY!!!
  • Want to contribute? Comment or send us an email: chamber.indy@gmail.com

Welcome, thank you, enjoy and good luck! We plan on having fun, hope you’ll join us!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized