Tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit to create a business all your own

The traditional story line many aspiring harpists ascribe to goes something like this: we learn the solo repertoire appropriate for recitals, the orchestral excerpts for our auditions, and concertos for the competition, then graduate with our degrees, ready to go get an orchestra job with union pay and benefits in line with the middle class dream.

We all know the traditional institution to which the harp has been attached—the symphony orchestra—has been shrinking, yet the traditional story line doesn’t include anything about marketing your skills or selling your art. To take on an entrepreneurial spirit is essentially to exit the state of denial many of us are in when we’re practicing our excerpts. That is, we have to accept that, while carrying on the tradition and profession of being a harpist, we have to eat, support that craft, and presumably have a good time doing so. Beyond the traditional revenue streams of performing and teaching, what’s a harpist to do? Get down to business.

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