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IIRY Podcast: 10. “The most important skill is connecting with people”: Why connection is the most valuable skill. A Chat with Assaff Weisman, pianist, teacher, and Executive Director of the Israeli Chamber Project.

In my conversation with pianist, teacher, and administrator, Assaff Weisman, we discuss the importance of early teachers; the entrepreneurship required of a modern classical musician’s career; and the importance of building relationships and making peace with sales and marketing.

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Learn more about the stuff we talk about in this episode here:

Assaff Weisman

3:54 – How the right teacher can change everything and why he credits his life as a musician to his early teacher, Seth Kimmelman.

6:07 – Seth Kimmelman’s tragic passing from AIDS.

7:59 – Assaff’s identity as an Israeli and an American.

10:15 – How Israeli Chamber Project started.

15:53 – The main learning points and challenges of starting your own organization.

18:20 – How our training at Juilliard at the time we received it did not teach us to think entrepreneurially.

19:34 – The secret to ICP’s longevity.

24:40 – The importance of making peace with being in sales and how musicians are really salespeople. Chamber Music America (CMA).

28:35 – Why artists resist the concept of “selling.”

30:50 – Approaching sales as a way to help and connect with people.

32:53 – The skills that classical musicians acquire through training that are useful for entrepreneurship.

35:06 – “The most important skill is connecting with people.” Why connecting is the most valuable skill.

36:46 – Seth Godin and Real Skills.

38:00 – Seymour Bernstein (Seymour: An introduction). Continuing Education at Juilliard. Performance anxiety and vulnerability.

43:59 – How Assaff’s career is different from what he thought it would be.

49:39 – Assaff’s advice to his younger self: say “yes” to everything to combat rigidity of the mind.

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