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Grow Your Art

Grow Your Art: A Music & Business Residency with Dave Douglas

September 17-19, 2018
Dave Douglas

How do you earn a living and manage a sustainable business while honoring your art?

How do you grow and champion the art you believe in?

How do you build your artistic community? 

How do you build a life in music?

Learn from Guest Artist DaveDouglas in a week of performance, master classes, and workshops to help build the life in music you want.

Whether you see yourself as a recording artist, an orchestral player, a member of a touring band, a chamber musician, or an educator, these skills will help you find and build roads to success. Music business skills help with every aspect of your musical life, whether you are promoting your music commercially, running a music education nonprofit, applying for grant funding, or forming authentic connections with fellow artists who believe in your work.

2018 Project Grant Winners

The Grow Your Art Project Grants provide financial support and guidance from the Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department for students and alumni to develop the business side of their musicianship.

Our grant finalists pitched their ideas before a live panel and audience!


Our 2018 Winners!

Amanda Ekery, El Paso Jazz Girls

1st Prize | $5,000 + Project Guidance from EM

To increase the number of girls in jazz, this cost-free program is taught by professional female musicians from El Paso for female identifying high school students to learn about jazz and perform together.

El Paso Jazz Girls' website

Matthew Shifrin, Project Daredevil

2nd Prize | $2,000

Virtual Reality for the blind: super-hero comics in 3D sound with motion simulation. Featuring original music from Matthew Shifrin and built in collaboration with a mechanical engineer from MIT.

Rayna_Grow your art_Headshot

Rayna Yun Chou, Accel.

3rd Prize | $1,000

An “all-in-one” information website for prospective students in Asia who wish to study music abroad in the United States.

Honorable Mentions | $500

Eddie Kass grow your art departure duo

Eddie Kass, Departure Duo

Commissioning of 3 new works for soprano / double bass as part of 30x30, a project to reach 30 hours of soprano/bass music by 2030.

Darynn Dean

Darynn Dean, Bridges

A live recording of jazz standards and original music at the iconic Capitol Recording Studios in Los Angeles.

Nick Rosario grow your art uncertain suite

Nicholas Rosario, The Uncertain Suite

A film of original music about depression and anxiety, interspersed with an informational interview with an NEC Counselor.

Kyle Peck Customs Designs grow your art

Kyle Peck, Peck Customs Designs

Hand-crafted musical accessories, like high quality batons and trombone triggers, to support in-school and professional musicians.

About the 2018 Grow Your Art Residency & Grants

Grow Your Art: 2018 Project Grants

Pitch Competition

Win up to $5,000 for individuals / ensembles to develop the business side of their musicianship. Open to all NEC Student & Alumni.

This competitive application process is modeled on real-world grants, and students/alumni have access to coaching from the EM Team throughout the application process. New and existing projects are welcome. Finalists present at a live pitch event on Tuesday, September 18 at New England Conservatory.


  • First Prize              $5,000 + project guidance from EM
  • Second Prize        $2,000 + project guidance from EM
  • Third Prize            $1,000 + project guidance from EM


  • Application Due:                  Sunday, September 9 @ 11:59pm
  • Pitch Night (for finalists):    Tuesday, September 18, 6-8pm (reception following)

Pitch Coaching occurs between September 10 and September 18 with the EM Team. Specific times, TBD.   


  • Open to all current NEC Students & Alumni
  • Team collaborations are permitted; only one application needs to be submitted. If you are collaborating on a project with another NEC student/alumni, your application must include the names of the other NEC student collaborators. Teams with individuals outside of NEC are permitted, so long as at least 1 team member is a current student or alumni.
  • Project Grants are not limited to activities based in Boston.
  • Grants will not fund traditional competitions or summer festival activities.
  • Finalists must be available to present in person at NEC on Tuesday, September 18


Applications and pitches will be reviewed by a panel of NEC Faculty, Staff, and industry professionals and evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • A clear explanation of what the project is and how it is entrepreneurial
  • A clear statement of the project’s value (its intended benefit to others)
  • The feasibility of the project timeline
  • The feasibility of the marketing plan
  • The viability of the project budget, with preference given to applications that demonstrate more than one source of funding (e.g. ticket revenue, donations, other grants etc.).
  • Insight into the future sustainability of the project
  • A clear explanation of why this funding is critical for your work

For questions, contact EM Assistant Dean, Andrew Worden


Download Budget Template here.

Application Questions

We recommend drafting your application in a word document prior to submitting via the portal. To assist in this process, please see the application questions listed below:

  1. Describe your project in the length of a tweet (140 characters)
  2. Describe your project, including all related activities, events, and/or products (100-300 words).
  3. Who are your partners and/or collaborators and how will they be involved? (100-200 words).
  4. What makes your project entrepreneurial? (100-200 words)
  5. Please share an analysis of the market and/or community you are entering and how you will distinguish your project (100-300 words)
  6. Who is your target audience? Who will be engaged by this project? (100-300 words)
  7. How will you publicize your project? (100-300 words)
  8. Please articulate 3 specific goals for your project (1 sentence each). 
  9. Project Impact: What benefits and/or growth will your audience experience as a result of being involved with your project? (100-300 words)
  10. Work Samples: Provide web links to your work, up to 3 samples (video/audio/prose are acceptable)
  11. Project Timeline: Upload a PDF of your timeline, including bulleted tasks and specific deadlines, broken down month-by-month
  12. Project Budget: Upload your project budget as a PDF using this budget template. Include all sources of income and expenses. 
  13. Optional: upload supporting documents as PDFs (technical plans, past programs, marketing materials, etc.) 

Residency Schedule

Hosted by NEC Jazz and Entrepreneurial Musicianship. Open to NEC students, alumni, and to the public. Practitioners of all musical styles are warmly welcome.


1:00 PM   Masterclass with Dave Douglas + NEC Jazz (Williams Hall)

4:00 PM   Dave Douglas Business Talk: Lessons Learned in the Music Industry (Williams Hall)


1:00 PM   Music Business Panel Discussion, with Dave Douglas + Industry Professionals (Williams Hall)

Dave Douglas, Trumpeter, Composer, Educator, Entrepreneur

Ann Braithwaite, Publicist, Braithwaite & Katz Communication
Mike Epstein, Booking Agent, Epstein & Company
Jennifer Chen, Managing Director, American Modern Opera Company
Jon Garelick, Journalist & Editor, The Boston Globe

Moderated by Drew Worden, Assistant Dean of Entrepreneurial Musicianship

6:00 PM   Pitch Night: Students & Alumni present their projects live for a chance to win $5,000 to bring their work to life (Black Box Theater)

8:00 PM   Ice Cream Reception (free! Immediately following Pitch Night)


1:00 PM   Business Consults: Individual Consultations with the EM Team, up to 30 minutes (sign up here and select "Grow Your Art: Business Consult" to schedule your consult)

7:30 PM   Concert: Dave Douglas + NEC Jazz (Jordan Hall)

9:30 PM   Reception (Brown Hall)


About Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas is the unassuming king of independent jazz, a model of do-it-yourself moxie, initiative, and artistic freedom.

Frank Alkyer, Downbeat

Dave Douglas is a prolific trumpeter, composer, educator and entrepreneur from New York City known for the stylistic breadth of his work and for keeping a diverse set of ensembles and projects active simultaneously. While his career spans more than 50 recordings as a leader, his active projects include his Quintet, Sound Prints, Riverside, Present Joys, and High Risk. His unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Doris Duke Artist Award and two GRAMMY® nominations.

As a composer, Douglas has received commissions from a variety of organizations including the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Essen Philharmonie, The Library of Congress, Stanford University and Monash Art Ensemble. He is currently on faculty at the Mannes School of Music and is a Guest Coach for the Juilliard Jazz Composer’s Ensemble. Douglas is also a co-founder and president of the Festival of New Trumpet Music and Artistic Director of the Bergamo Jazz Festival. In 2005, Douglas founded Greenleaf Music, an umbrella company for his recordings, sheet music, podcast, as well as the music of other artists in the modern jazz idiom.