Marguerite Williams

January 15, 2011

In the following interview, Marguerite discusses her Arts Leadership Program experience and offers her insights to Eastman students entering the audition season for graduate schools and summer programs.

The Take-Away

1. As a freelance musician, you can’t wait to be handed anything.

2. Learn skills that you need as a business person such as web design, grant writing, book keeping, marketing and publicity, rather than hiring someone to do it for you.

3. Commit yourself fully to every audition you take.

The Arts Leadership Program provided me with a multitude of skills that
have been necessary in my career so far. Specifically I’ve used skills from Marketing, Publicity, Audience Development as well as many other courses from ALP.

To what extent do you consider yourself an entrepreneur, and why?

By definition, an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages an enterprise. My multi-faceted career was created by me and is only limited by my creativity and imagination.

As a freelance musician I’ve pulled together many different career options to create a full and successful career.

In teaching, I created a private studio, teach at several music schools and create new teaching materials including arrangements and instructional materials.

I founded the Chicago Harp Ensemble to further my teaching and have continued training in pedagogy. I’m also an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Harp Society and have recently organized several events for the Chapter.

As a freelance musician, you can’t wait to be handed anything. It’s a life of constant networking and exploring of new opportunities. It’s rare that I take a day completely off because I’m constantly thinking of new projects. I prefer to learn skills that I need as a business person rather than hiring someone such as web design, grant writing, book keeping, marketing and publicity.

Do you have any tips for young musicians regarding auditioning?

Commit fully to every audition you take. Make it the most important event in your life. Use every resource you can think of to prepare: recordings, scores, historical reference books, coaches, teachers, mock auditions, and recording of practice sessions. Research auditions early to avoid last minute preparation.

Stay positive, and prepare for the unexpected! Always keep in mind that being the best performer at the audition doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win or be accepted. You can only do your personal best and keep putting yourself out there!

What are some upcoming and long-term career goals?

Some upcoming career goals include:• performances with the Lyrica Trio,

  • Arparie Duo (Harp Duo with Julie Spring, fellow ESM graduate) concert tour to WI, IL, NY and Ontario Fall 2011,
  • CD recordings with both Lyrica Trio and Arparie Duo,
  • an exciting performance of the Eastman School of Music alumni harp ensemble at the 11th World Harp Congress in Vancouver, BC June 2011 including some of my own music arrangements,
  • and finally the Harp in the Schools program in Oak Park, IL including group harp classes as well as educational programs in Chicago area schools and public libraries.

In the long-term I plan to continue pursuing a symphonic harp position.

How do you keep your music (and your work) fresh and inspiring/inspired?

To keep my music fresh and inspired, I constantly explore cultures, musical genres, attend concerts, continue training, traveling and am continually inspired by my colleagues. I’ve always believed outside influences were important to my performance and teaching including staying current with contemporary and popular music as well other art forms such as dance and visual art.