A new word for the urban dictionary


I didn’t make that up.

James Newcomb did.

By the end of our “Musicpreneur” podcast interview, we had established that one of the ways I help make the world a better place to live is to encourage and guide classical musicians towards a well-paid, full-time career sharing live music with others.

It’s not quite Establishment material that I teach.

Yet it’s not exactly anti-Establishment, either.

So James said “we’ll have to figure out a new term to describe that!”

Here’s the 25-minute podcast:

102: The Disestablishmentarianization of Classical Music (feat. Stephen P. Brown)

Careful you focus on the right things

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

Have you gotten goose-bumps during a concert?

When you perform, have you experienced them spine-tingling thrills, or hair-raising moments?

It is very likely you did at some point.

And when you think about it, those are the moments in live music we crave, right? Doesn’t matter if they occur in concert, in rehearsal, during a lesson, or when we’re practicing at home… we love those moments!

So how come we don’t get them as often as we’d like?

  • One reason is that we think they are easy to come by.
  • Another reason is that we think once we’ve experienced them we now know how to get them again, and all we have to do is repeat the steps that created them last time.
  • Another reason for some is that those moments have become the ultimate goal – the purpose of live music.
  • Another reason could be that we chase those moments so hard that we don’t actually allow ourselves to experience them. Musicians who are exclusively technical have that problem.

So what’s up with that?

We’ve become goosebump junkies.

There’s nothing wrong with goosebumps – they are great, wonderful, terrific and downright beautiful moments.

Much like coffee.

But too much coffee, and too much watered-down coffee, we no longer feel its effect and taste its marvelous subtle tastes. We become junkies needing more and more, with stronger artificial flavors, and eventually we need medications to help us stop twittering and shaking from too much caffeine.

Same with those musical goosebumps.

Instead of making those moments the ultimate goal, we need to make music – and the sharing of it – our ultimate goal. When we do that to the best of our ability, those goosebump moments occur more often, mean more, are much stronger, and are a pure delight.

But they are not our focus, they are not our goal, they are not ‘the reason’ for sharing live music with each other.

As Tim Keller inferred: Exuberance without discipline is futile.

Joy without effort is pointless.

We must focus on letting our music speak to the world.

When we do so together with others, the result is often a few goosebump moments. But look for and expect those moments to happen, and your music-making is worthless. Pointless. Ain’t gonna happen.

Focus on your technique, give attention to listening, exaggerate what needs to be expressed, and let your instrument (including the voice) sing.

I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about what happens when you do!

We all need help balancing our effort with our desire for pleasurable experiences. Teachers can often hint at such matters, but that’s the primary domain of coaches. A coach helps you keep things in balance, and helps you accomplish far more than you ever thought possible.

Don’t believe me?

Book a free 30-minute consultation with your favorite US-based classical music coach from the UK who’s been around the block a few times, and you’ll be pretty convinced, I’m sure:

Sign up now for a session next week:



Did you learn by trial and error too?

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

You know, most of the time music teachers teach instrumental or singing technique.

Which is very important.

But students tend to learn performance etiquette and techniques by watching, following, and trial and error.

What a pity!

Here’s what someone said after their first coaching session with me:

“My first coaching session with Stephen was totally inspiring! Overall, I learned a bunch and was both challenged and stimulated to think differently about my approach to a concert career lifestyle!” Melissa Petrescue, piano

Melissa’s life has changed dramatically since that first coaching session, and I’m sure yours might, too.

No matter if you want to perform full-time, part-time, or just occasionally for fun…

Perform Better.


Get coaching!



Who’s telling your story?

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

This holiday season did you watch any of your favorite movies?

I did.

More than a fair share, perhaps!

One was the original Broadway production of Into The Woods on Youtube, and another was The Muppets Christmas Carol.

Do you know what they both had in common with each other?

A narrator that bridged the story and the audience.

Many stage productions of Into The Woods dress the narrator up as a fairy-tale character, which actually takes away the connection that a regular jacket & tie narrator brings. And in the Muppets Christmas Carol the narrator Gonzo and his side-kick Rizzo are as much watching the action as you are, creating a marvelous bridge between the story and you.

Who’s telling your story?

Or, are you a narrator?

Depends what story you are trying to share with the world, right?

Some biographies are interesting, and we learn a lot from them, but it’s more exciting and engaging when the story is bigger than one individual. All the best plays, musicals, books and movies are about something bigger than the main character.

So, what if “live music” were our story?

That would make every performer a narrator of sorts.

And how can we best tell the story, bridging the gap between the music and the audience?

That’s the life-long journey we are all on.

And I’d love to help you along that journey.

Find out more about my coaching programs here:


What are you REALLY a fan of?

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

An email recently came across my screen that made me smile.

It was almost a perfect representation of who is not a fan of classical music.

(Or any other type of music for that matter.)

The average-length email (a little more than 400 words) contained 72 portrayals of the self: the words I, me, my or mine appeared 72 times.

The writer is clearly a fan of themselves and has little capacity for sharing music with others.

And that’s completely backwards.

If they were a reader of these daily letters they’d know that by now, but thankfully they are not otherwise I’d have to ignore with their demands and self-promotion a lot more frequently than I do now. And frankly I don’t really have time for folk who are all about self… what they want, what they expect, how the world can benefit them.

What I have experienced with folk like that is not just the feeling of being taken advantage of, but that they will drop you the instant you upset them or don’t pander with what they want to hear. You simply can’t trust them.

So I avoid “self” people as much as possible, and you should too.

We all have this gift, this ‘thing’ we call Music, and it is a language of emotions.

It is not ours to keep to ourselves, and it is not designed for an elite few. On the other hand, just because we like it and help share it doesn’t mean we automatically deserve to have people come flocking to us and our concerts. I am so pleased you are not like that email writer (you wouldn’t have lasted a week with these letters!), but I ask you… Are you doing everything you can to share live music with others?

Are you really giving Music and your neighbors your absolute best efforts?

It doesn’t matter if you work at it full-time, are just starting out, or have spent a lifetime with music as a hobby for fun on the side once a week or so… it’s still music, and it still deserves all that you can give it.

So do those you share it with.

And that’s the part I like to think these letters and my coaching helps with, whether you are a performer, teacher, producer, conductor, or administrator. I help people like you become a better performer, teacher, producer, conductor or administrator. As a result, the music we share is better, in better environments, and those we share it with are changed for the better alongside us.

If you are more a fan of classical music than you are of yourself, then we can help make the world a better place together.

Set up a 30-minute phone call and let’s see how we can best do that:



Living the dream! Really?

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

Are you living the dream?

We all are.

But be careful about those who claim to be.

Because they’re not.

All they’re doing is trying to convince themselves that what they’ve achieved in life so far is fine, it’s wonderful, it’s all they need in life, life is great!

But it’s a facade.

They have not achieved the life-plans they set out to (probably didn’t set up some SMARTER goals or sign up for Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, and it’s too late now for another year!), and life does not look as rosy as they had imagined. Far from it. So they spin some cliches and mantras that are supposed to sell you into buying their products and services, when in all reality, they are selling a fantasy to themselves.

You don’t need a coach that is “living the dream.”

And you don’t need a jeenius who claims they can help you live your dream.

You need an honest, focused-on-you, unsalesmanlike coach who will tell you things as they see them.

(And not through rosy glasses, neevuh.)

As you prepare to set some realistic, actionable, and exciting goals for 2018, make sure you engage the right accountability help to [possibly reset them], see them through, and possibly even achieve far more than you thought was possible.

That’s the kind of coaching I offer.


Why wait any longer?

Get a passionate, prestigious, committed coach that will help you accomplish much more in the real world, not a dream world!

Living the dream?

Time to wake up, my friend…



My new book!

Some of the best advice to help you perform more, and better!

book_BoostYourConcertCareerNow_Cover160426aThe first part of this calendar year saw some extraordinary activity on my website. I wrote a bunch of articles about performing more, performing better, and generally what you need to do to be more effective in sharing live music with others.

It was one of the most thrilling online seasons I have experienced, with a LOT of very engaging emails from readers.

Thank you.

So you know what I decided to do?

I collated them into one little volume of Impact!