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

NEC students and alumni learn how to build a life in music.

Dave Douglas residency performance

From September 17-19, the Jazz and Entrepreneurial Musicianship departments at NEC hosted a residency featuring guest artist Dave Douglas around the idea of "growing your art" and applying business skills to a career in music. Students, alumni, and members of the public learned from Dave Douglas and other presenters about how to earn a living and manage a sustainable business while also honoring their art. The residency also coincided with the Grow Your Art grant program, which was a chance for NEC students and alumni to apply for up to $5000 to develop the business side of their musicianship.

Dave Douglas with trumpet


On Monday, Dave Douglas hosted a masterclass with NEC Jazz and then gave a talk on lessons learned in the music industry. On Tuesday, there was a panel featuring Dave Douglas alongside Ann Braithwaite, publicist from Braithwaite & Katz Communication, Mike Epstein, booking agent from Epstein & Company, Jennifer Chen, Managing Director of American Modern Opera Company, and Jon Garelick, journalist & editor from The Boston Globe.

Watch the Music Business Panel Discussion, with Dave Douglas + Industry Professionals

dave douglas panel


Tuesday night featured Pitch Night, where students and alumni who applied to the Grow Your Art grants and were chosen as finalists had the opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of judges in front of a live audience.

Grow Your Art Grant Winners:

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

Amanda Ekery '18 MM, El Paso Jazz Girls

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.

2nd Prize — $2,000 + Project Guidance from EM

Matthew Shifrin '21, Project Daredevil

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.

3rd Prize — $1,000 + Project Guidance from EM

Rayna Yun Chou '15 '17 MM, Accel.

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

Watch Pitch Night

Dave Douglas rehearsal


On Wednesday, EM hosted business consultation sessions with students. In the evening, the residency wrapped up with a concert featuring NEC Jazz and Dave Douglas.

Learn more about Grow Your Art


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