By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Jill Timmons to discuss book, music career

“I had to write it myself,” she said.

Timmons, who took early retirement from the college but who’s continuing her own performing career, will talk about her book and her life on Tuesday, April 2, at Linfield. The free talk will start at 7:30 p.m. in the Jereld R. Nicholson Library on campus.

“The Musician’s Journey: Crafting Your Career Vision and Plan” focuses on building a career as a music artist by combining philosophical questions with practical advice and training. It’s written in a conversational style, she said, “as if I’m talking to a client.”

Timmons said she developed a great deal of materials over the years to help the artists with whom she worked. But she couldn’t find one source that tied together some of the most important aspects of building a career, including developing a vision first, then a plan for carrying it out. She had written articles about the topic, so she decided to expand those into a book.

It was a lengthy process, she said. She went back over her own career, recalling how she first played professionally as a 15-year-old and later performed concerts all over the world, and examining  the challenges she’d faced and decisions she’d made. She also talked with other professionals and wrote profiles of 11, from a range of genres and ages, looking at how they had developed their careers.

The challenges are universal, she said. “Unless you’re able to be in touch with your authentic self, you’re unable to a have a plan and a vision, which you then turn into reality,” she said. “You return to that continuum over and over, in all you do.”

And she studied brain research that examines how people can change throughout their lives. That’s important, she said, urging musicians not to limit themselves by setting artificial deadlines, such as “If I don’t make it before I’m 30, I’ll quit.”

Another aspect of research she includes in the book has to do with the viability of the arts. The notion that people must pay their dues as “starving artists” is untrue, she said. Many trained musicians have regular, rewarding work. They may not be household names, she said, “but they’re out in the world doing miraculous things, and they’re thriving ... that’s very heartening.”

“The Musician’s Journey: Crafting Your Career Vision and Plan” also includes a marketing starter kit that describes “the nuts and bolts of launching your plan,” Timmons said. She includes advice about networking, creating a mission statement, grant-writing to develop a stream of income, financial record keeping and creating a website.

Timmons runs her own website these days, in addition to teaching workshops, playing and running Artsmentor LLC, a consulting firm that works with both music organizations and individual artists. She was involved in the same type of activities while teaching at Linfield from 1981 to 2012.

“I really enjoyed working with my students. Extraordinary students came through my doors, smart, talented and fun,” she said. “It was a difficult decision to take early retirement.”

But now that she’s a professor emerita at Linfield, her schedule is more flexible. That allows her to split her time between Oregon and France, where she plays solo and as a duo pianist with Perspectives Musicales.

“I want to play as much as I can while I can,”” she said.

For more information, call 503-883-2517.

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