My Story

I'm a musician, audience building coach and leader of a groundbreaking movement in classical music career creation.

As a kid, I dreamed of playing my horn professionally and getting paid for it. Navigating that path was a solo job having come from parents who knew nothing of the music world. My path wasn't straight by any means. I had many teachers along the way who weren’t the right fit and made my way through three schools that didn't fit either.

For a long time, I lived the "city life" in Chicago. I supported myself doing freelancing, teaching lessons, walking dogs and waiting tables. I eventually built up my teaching studio and played with Civic Orchestra, the top regional orchestras, took lots of auditions and subbed regularly with the Chicago Symphony. I won a job and left Chicago. I quit that job and returned to Chicago. I played as a guest principal horn in the Beijing Symphony (in China). I played in opera, ballet and musical pits. Occasionally I had money. Mostly I had none. I've been broke. My apartment burned down and I lost everything. I even moved back in with my parents at age 30. All this struggle because I had an insatiable hunger for the orchestral experience... and because I truly believed that's all I could do. I mean, what else can a classical musician DO?

Soon after returning from Beijing, I came close enough to winning an audition that I was offered a "full-time sub" position with the North Carolina Symphony. This was a BIG move for me - letting go of my addiction to Chicago and all the opportunities I perceived were there. It was in Raleigh that I experienced what it was like to have a full-time job in a busy traveling orchestra. I met a great guy, got married and started a family. I worked much less to spend more time with my daughter... finally had the space to STOP and BREATHE... and look around to see the world from a different perspective.

I saw the struggle of classical musicians. I vividly remembered my own struggle. I had many conversations with various classical musicians I knew, past and present. Listened to their stories. Listened to what they wanted...that they were often afraid to say out loud. I felt for them. And then I looked around online and saw that more than a few classical musicians were doing unique things. What did THEY see that I didn't see for years? What did they know that I didn't know back when I was trying to carve out a career? I set my sights on finding out exactly that. This search led to starting Crushing Classical, a movement dedicated to the conversation about creating your own unique career as a classical musician, and a podcast interviewing brave and creative musicians who are doing it now.

Currently in the fourth season of Crushing Classical, the podcast has had over 80,000 downloads and continues to grow.
I now coach musicians both 1:1 and in group programs on the most important and overlooked thing when setting out to create their careers - building an audience. Little did I know before starting Crushing Classical, what I would discover from building my own engaged audience from scratch: audience building is the first step in the freedom to create in your career.

If this sounds like something you'd like to know more about, please email me at the tracy@crushingclassical.com


​I would love to hear from you!

"You either take control of your love life or it takes control of you. It’s that simple."

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