“Everything we do comes down to creating and maintaining meaningful relationships with those around us.” ~ Emily Rho

At the “Leverage your Network” workshop last week, everyone mapped out the nodes and ties in their networks based on their top three priorities. I went around asking people their impressions of the exercise. Here is what Emily Rho, pianist and general manager of Pocket Concerts, had to say.

Growing up, I always knew I would be a musician for life. What I didn’t know was that one day, I would be sitting in a room full of artists at a workshop called Legal Fundamentals for Artists. What would surprise me even more is that I found the workshop to be engaging and crucial to my personal and professional development.

It’s not news to me or anyone in the classical music scene all over the world that we desperately need to re-evaluate the way we operate, and yet I was never quite sure what that meant in terms of my career as a freelance pianist or as the general manager of Pocket Concerts.

The three workshops curated by BeMused Network confirmed my belief that we need to find better ways of communicating our music to others, or else the art form and our role as classical musicians might soon become irrelevant in people’s lives.

All three workshops taught me the details of how to tackle the very real challenge of finding ways to be sustainable and successful as a classical artist and organization. Below are the highlights of what was most useful for me.

#1 Legal Fundamentals (Kalogiannides Law)
Most of us choose to become musicians because of our love for the art form, and it is easy to overlook the possible guidance and freedom that legal knowledge can provide. We discussed trademarks, copyrights, and contracts, among other things. The clearest lesson I learned is that a good contract is a tool that can foster trust by clarifying the roles each party plays, rather than putting a barrier between them.

#2 Growing From The Bottom Up (NetGain Partners)
Here, we discussed the strategic ways to build your arts organization in steps or tiers, and tips on how to take the next step. We delved into details about the size and the nature of some of the arts organizations, the importance of targeted marketing, and the unique challenges each of the participating organizations is faced with and how to overcome them. The workshop reminded me that we need to establish a clear long-term vision for Pocket Concerts as a brand, and that the process of doing so will help us make the right decisions as we work toward that vision.

#3 Learn To Leverage Your Network (BeMused Network)
Often, whether we realize it or not, we don’t achieve the full potential of our personal network. It’s kind of like organizing your closet: You think you know what you have, but when you lay each item out and put them into different categories, you start to see things differently. You might notice that you have new combinations of outfits! Writing out our personal and professional connections and categorizing them according to the nature of the relationship was an empowering experience that made me realize that there is untapped potential within my network.

When we started Pocket Concerts in the spring of 2013, it was the desire to play more chamber music that prompted us to initiate the whole process. We soon discovered that with a sustainable model, we could go beyond the joy of playing, and extend our business to connect people. The three workshops filled in the gap between the two objectives by informing us about the tools we need to be equipped with.

The workshops brought on the realization: Everything we do comes down to creating and maintaining meaningful relationships with those around us. After all, at Pocket Concerts, we are trying to throw a great party for everyone where new connections are formed and old bonds are strengthened through the shared experience of great music and company.

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