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)

Why: Take it slow.

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

See that punctuation in the title?

Punctuation matters.

Remember this one?

“A woman, without her man, is nothing.”

“A woman: without her, man is nothing.”

So it could be with today’s title.

Most people would want to read it as

Why take it slow?

Whereas the lesson I want to share with you today literally is about Why, and why you should take it slow.

For every goal you are planning for 2018 (forget “New Year’s Resolutions” – are you really going to resolve anything?!), I strongly recommend you figure out why you want to achieve that goal.

And I don’t just mean a quick, “I’ll be healthier,” (if your goal is to lose some weight… which in itself is not a goal).

But take your time to figure out the true Why.

For example, my goal to achieve a certain, very specific weight by a certain, very specific date actually has two Whys:

  1. My doc tells me I will be able to stop taking all my pills if I achieve that weight. YEY!
  2. I want to wear good fashionable suits again.

I’m fed up of walking past gentlemen’s boutiques simply because I know that my body type doesn’t fit into those nice looking clothes, like it used to. Experience has taught me that I’d have to get the designs custom made, and that is very expensive. Too expensive for my liking (Fashion is great, but not a very high priority in my budget!)

What’s your Why?

Take your time – days, in fact – to explore why you want to achieve something, because it will help motivate you over the next several months as you work towards your goal.

How do you find your Why?

It’s simple and monotonous: keep asking why…

I want to lose weight. Why?

  • Day 1 – Because it’s healthy for me. Why?
  • Day 2 – Because it’s what the doctor ordered. Why?
  • Day 3 – Because I want my body to be able to cope with its own processing and healing. Why?
  • Day 4 – Because I don’t want to take any more pills. Why?
  • Day 5 – Because we still don’t know what the lifetime effects of most manufactured pills are, so it’s a good thing to rely on real [organic, if affordable] foodstuffs if we can. Hmm… that’s important to me.

It took five days to find my Why.

The Why gives you the momentum to keep going.

So make it a good Why.

Take it slow when finding it.

Now on to the reason for my writing to you today:

A good coach will always help you identify the Why behind your intentions. It’s easy to find a Why for losing weight. It’s not so easy finding Whys for performing, teaching, or administration.

That’s why you need a coach.

If you learn from the lessons in my daily letters that are free, just imagine what you could accomplish working with me professionally!

Let’s get started – setup your free consultation:



It’s not a random crusade

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

Long-time reader of my letters Chris wrote to me:

“I want you to know that, even though I do not respond often to your e-mails, I always look forward to reading them.  I have learned so much from the wisdom you share with everyone.”

Do you know that getting emails like this is what contributes to my drive?

They are part of the reason why my ‘crusade’ (as my wife calls it) to help people rediscover live classical music continues.

And it’s working.

Every day I receive emails telling me that my letters have been helpful or had a profound impact on a life, and about once a week I get news of someone’s light bulb going off: “Now I get it!”

But I admit:

It’s not a random crusade.

My drive to make the world a better place through live classical music is one thing, and my crusade to help you engage in it more fully is another. But I also have a desire to turn my passion into cash (the bills have to be paid, after all!), and I am also keen to lift the value of classical music… of music… of the Arts to a more accessible yet prestigious status within the world’s operating perceptions.

None of that can happen at random.

Lots of decisions are made on a daily basis –

  • Do I write about this topic?
  • Are my readers struggling with that topic?
  • What did I learn that others need to know?
  • Should I write, speak, coordinate, or teach something to do with this topic?
  • Do I sell it or give it away?

And so on and on and on…

It gets exhausting if you don’t prioritize some parameters and guidelines over others.

Do you know the most common term for setting priorities?


Especially well-thought-out, considered goals that come with both a bit of action as well as reasoning… “Why do I want to achieve this goal?”

The result of setting SMARTER goals, turning them into plans, and identifying each “next step” as it is needed, can be seen in comments like the ones Chris made above.

It’s not always easy, but it’s so much easier when you have a plan.

And what plan do I use to plan my goals?

You’ll have to get Michael Hyatt’s course 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever to find out EXACTLY, step-by-step, how I do it!



  1. Thank you for reading my letters,
  2. Thank you for writing to let me know I’m being helpful, and for sharing your thoughts about the topics that matter to you, and
  3. Thank you for taking action to help make this world a better place.

Go set some truly awesome and achievable goals for your life in 2018, whether related to music or not:


And remember: there’s more to music than music – it can change the world for the better if we bring it to peoples’ lives.


What I did to change my life for the better

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

I’ve always been good at good intentions.

And for donkeys ears years I’ve turned many of them into aspirational goals and resolutions.

But rarely did they ever pan out.

A couple of years ago I realized my life needed some really focused and intentional “working on”  but I wasn’t sure quite where to start and what to prioritize. So much could be done to make my life better, but what should be done to make my life better?

I had to make a decision.

Thankfully I was already familiar with Michael Hyatt’s “Lifescore Assessment” and Best Year Ever goal setting programs.

Again, I took the test and decided that it was pointless trying to work on my physical health, finances and career if I didn’t first establish a solid set of building blocks to base my decision-making paradigm on. What’s the point in having great stuff if my boundaries could change at whim?

So, for the past two years I focused on improving the spiritual, marital and social domains in my life.

Not easy for an introvert!

But, I’m so happy to have succeeded.

How do I know?

I took this year’s Lifescore Assessment and BAM! Improvements all round in those specific domains.

Plus, I feel better.

Am I done? Far from it. And often maintaining something can be harder than attaining it, so there is still work to be done in those domains, but by-and-large I am very happy with how my life has changed to-date, thanks to focusing my efforts in those areas. My wife seems happier, too 😉

What does that mean now?

Well, I get to choose a couple more life domains to work on.

This year’s assessment suggests my financial, physical, intellectual and emotional domains could do with some bolstering, so I’ll pick two or three of those and shift my focus towards them.

What will you focus on in 2018?

Are you sure?

Try taking Hyatt’s totally free (OK, it’ll cost you an email address) Lifescore Assessment.

It’s SO worth it!

You might be firmly grounded in your relationships and finances, and need to work on your vocation or parental domains. Or you might be surprised by what’s going well and what isn’t.

In any event, no harm is done by taking this test – the only outcome it can have will benefit you and those you love, even if you do nothing about it afterwards.

Take Michael Hyatt’s free Lifescore Assessment now.

(You know how much I recommend other people’s stuff, so take this seriously – it’s helped me accomplish far more in life than I ever thought possible, and I’m pretty darn sure it’ll help you, too.)



Has this been your best year ever?

Dear #classicalmusic fan,

I hope you are well.

How have things been?

I realize 2017 isn’t quite over yet, but I really hope this has been your best year ever!

It certainly has been for me.

Not all the goals I set at the beginning of the year have been met, but certainly more of them have been checked off so far than usually happens, so with hand on heart I can say “YES! This has been my best year ever!”

Clarity and focus seem to be the main reasons why.

Partly thanks to Michael Hyatt.

It’s not often I plug other people’s stuff, but when I do it’s because it works: whatever is on offer I have used myself and found it effective. For the past three years both my work and play have been refined through one of Michael’s productivity programs and it’s clearly had a positive effect on my life, my wife’s life, and the lives of classical music fans all over the world…

maybe even including you!

So, throughout December, you will see lots of stories and links related to Michael’s program, beginning with a self-assessment as well as exercises, webinars, and finally the full program itself.

You can participate as much or as little as you want to,


Consider why SPB is sharing it with you with aplomb.

If you want to achieve anything, including simply a ‘better life’ whatever that means for you, this program will help.

It’s not for everyone, but it just might be perfect for you at this time of your life.

So, please be excited and patient as the stories and lessons I share with you over the next few weeks relate to making a better life for yourself, using examples and outcomes from my three years of taking Michael’s ever-developing program “Best Year Ever” (including Michael’s pilot pre-launch version!) It’s made a massive positive impact in my life, and I hope it will in yours, too.

For example, one of my own goals this year was to broadcast my own radio show/ podcast.

Have you heard it, yet?

Here is the latest episode with Rose Mallare:


…and the next episode will be a little different, methinks 🙂

Is it a pipe dream to want to be The Best?

Dear #classicalmusic fan,

In a society that craves accolade and attention it is disheartening to see so much about music reduced to competition, technical perfection and sales.

On the other hand, when we focus on the music and its multitude ways it impacts both communities and individuals, we actually see a very different approach to life… of which music is just a part.

Rather than chasing the substantially arrogant pipe dream of being “The Best!” perhaps it is time we started looking to being the best fans of classical music we can be… whether we’re performing or listening. There is a big difference between being The Best and becoming the best we can be.

Becoming The Best is temporary, an illusion, and only means you (or someone else) judges you to be better than the person sitting next to you. At least for today until someone else comes along who is 10% better than you are. It is then devastating when someone comes along who doesn’t care how good you or they are, but it turns out they are ten times (1000%) better than you. I’ve seen people crushed by the realization that they weren’t as good as they were led to believe (especially musicians who arrive at a music college). Although they may have been The Best in their limited sphere of influence, it turns out that there is a whole wide world of passionate folk who seem to be far more accomplished.

You don’t have to be particularly good at what you do, but you can still be The Best at it…

Think of a chess tournament among a troop of monkeys.

One of them is The Best!

Until Levon Aronian turns up.

On the other hand, if you choose to be the best that you can be, it no longer matters (quite so much) what those around you are accomplishing or capable of. Don’t get me wrong: surround yourself with others who are striving to be the best they can be, as well as those who have achieved a good level of accomplishment, as they will help motivate you in your own quest. But the burden of sharing live music with others shifts from an outward image-based comparison to an inner desire to discover the “more” behind There’s more to music than music.

It becomes our own private responsibility to dive deeper and achieve more than we ever thought possible, not for the sake of those we share music with, but for our own peace and understanding of how this world actually works.

And how we can communicate emotion with each other when words fail us.

One of the problems with today’s Western World in particular, is the self-esteem boosting trend of the late 80s and 90s.

As Simon Sinek said, Millennials are struggling at work because their parents “gave them medals for coming last.” I’m no Millennial, but most Gen Xers who spent their teens in the USA suffered just the same misguided brandishment: I once received a medal for sitting in the fourth chair (of eight) of the third clarinets in Regional Junior Varsity Band III. I still have it (buried in a box in storage, otherwise I’d have taken a picture). And wonder why I ever got it. Sinek observes that one of the many downsides to overtly disproportionate praise is that recipients actually feel worse, because deep down they know they didn’t deserve a medal.

I was relieved to hear someone explain it to me that way.

The push to become The Best builds arrogance, entitlement, and does society no favors at all.

The push to congratulate and praise everything we do is just as bad.

We all need encouragement to be the best we can be, and we need honest guides to show us how to travel that path: folk who say “Good job! Now let’s work on this…”

It’s funny that Rose Mallare and I just spoke about that in my podcast’s latest pilot episode.

Listen to it here:


Community validation is a huge deal.

Dear #Classicalmusic Fan,

Community validation is a huge deal.

When someone else not only joins a crusade alongside you, but also let’s you know why or cheers you on, it is simply the best demonstration of other people wanting to make the world a better place as much as you do.

No better example of that, occurred this week.

Donations for my new radio show and podcast From The Podium have been steadily coming in, mostly offline. The other day, as I was sorting through the mail, I flipped one hand-written envelope over to open it.

But what I saw made me tear up.

That particular fan of classical music had written a message on the back:

“For the good work you do, take a bow.”




(Thank you so much, James.)

Not only did the envelope contain a generous tax deductible donation made payable to “Fractured Atlas” with From The Podium, Live in the memo line, but that encouragement certainly helped validate the effort our team of creative and technical experts is putting in to bringing classical music to the airwaves and podcast world in a new way.

And so the day went a lot better after that!

We launch the show on Saturday, November 4 at 8am Eastern with four pilot episodes throughout November, and you’ll want to know how to listen in, right?

Donate today, and I’ll tell you exactly how…

You’ll even be able to call the show and join in the Podium Chat!

Here’s to bringing good music to life, and giving fans of classical music something to talk about…

Donate here:



FTP Donation Envelope Message