Renowned for his humor and personable style, Justin Kolb brings his extensive knowledge of music, entrepreneurism and career guidance to audiences around the country through a series of workshops, clinics, motivational speaking engagements and music enrichment programs.


Middle/High School

Why Music Students Excel
Motivational Clinic for Band, Youth Orchestra and Chorus
(Also appropriate for Theatre Kids.)

Elementary School

I’ve Got a Great Job — I'm a Musician
A Concert Pianist's Job, Instrument and Music


Entrepreneurism and Self Promotion for the Serious Musician
How the Business Really Works in Today's World and How One is Able to Succeed


Know the Score
Inspiration and Motivation for Life After Music School in the 21st Century 

See below for full program descriptions.

Educational and Motivational Programs Descriptions


Entrepreneurism and Self Promotion for the Serious Musician
How the Business Really Works in Today's World  and How One is Able to Succeed

Program Description

An insider's view of how musicians develop their careers and survive in the industry of "classical music".

This power talk contains critical knowledge for professionals and those individuals teaching and advising students. This is a dynamic presentation that either asserts or challenges six traditional parameters:

  1. Are hours of practice and "being discovered" a thing of the past?
  2. Yesterday, performances in the "hinterland" initiated a career and a commercially produced recording signaled an established career.
  3. Today a produced CD, DVD or "You Tube" video can initiate a career and performances in the "hinterland" with occasional appearances in the "big leagues" signal an established career.
  4. Today a "climb to the top" is theoretical but a "climb to a comfortable and reasonable income with pension" – though elusive — can be attained.
  5. We live in a world of branding and product development. We must consider ourselves the brand and our teaching and performing are our products. Marketing and selling this "package" is a stellar example of entrepreneurism in action.
  6. As performing and teaching artists we need not create our products anew. They exist within us as a result of our rigorous training and experience. We have only to organize them, announce them, and sell them.

This talk is highly informational, uplifting and empowering!



Know the Score
Inspiration and Motivation for Life After Music School in the 21st Century 

Program Description

  • Participants
    This "how to" program is intended for individuals who desire to perform and/or seek a career in teaching. It is appropriate for undergraduate and graduate level students, as well as faculty members.


  • Involves students in a one to two hour provocative, interactive lecture that is targeted at both undergraduate and graduate students who have professional teaching or performing as their goal.


  • Prepares the participants to respond aggressively, yet professionally, when teaching and performing opportunities are at a minimum and when competition for these opportunities is fierce. 


  • Presents the many career opportunities available to the music graduate inside and outside the music world and how to pursue them.

Topics addressed:

  1. Goal Setting and Its Importance
  2. How to Develop a Plan: When and How to Change the Plan
  3. Becoming a Musical Entrepreneur
  4. Websiting Effectively
  5. How the Music Industry Operates
  6. Ethical Marketing and Promotion: How to Build a Press Kit and Develop Marketing Materials
  7. How to Build Your Personal Performance Circuit
  8. How to Expand Your Own Studio of Students
  9. The Value of Strong Verbal and Writing Skills
  10. Tips on Grants and How to Reach "Deep Pockets"
  11. Tips on How to Defend Your Budget Requests to Your School Board and/or Granting Organizations

Middle/High School

Why Music Students Excel
Motivational Clinic for Band, Youth Orchestra and Chorus
(Also appropriate for Theatre Kids.)

Program Description

This morale and self-esteem building session begins with a ten minute solo performance by Justin. The performance is intentionally virtuosic, leaving no doubt in the student's mind that the artist is a seasoned professional who has experienced success on stage. 

The objective of this learning experience for students is to reinforce what the music faculty has been stressing all along. That is: the student's musical experience and musical education goes well beyond 'blowing a horn'. This experience is about developing life survival skills. Skills that will help the students to become better adept at problem solving, decision making, enjoying a fulfilling life beginning now and into the future. 

Justin asks the students to identify skills that they have learned from their musical experience (lessons, practice, or performance) that they have found useful when they are outside the world of music. Skills described by the students typically range from attention to detail and time management, to conflict resolution and ability to accept criticism. At the end of this segment of the session, a list sometimes comprising as many as 24 skills has been articulated by the students. Kolb looks at the students and asks them to seriously contemplate the "skills inventory". Kolb then exclaims, "Look at who you are and what you can do!" He quickly points out that large corporations and even governments invest great amounts of dollars to teach their employees how to acquire these same skills. 

The next segment introduces the concept of goal setting and planning. Additionally, issues such as career choices, undergraduate music school possibilities, practice routines, and obtaining performance opportunities are addressed.

Blackboard, chalk and eraser, whiteboard or flip chart with new magic markers. A tuned piano and piano bench (nothing fancy): spinets, uprights, consoles, and digital keyboards are all okay. 

Length of Presentation
A normal class period may be expanded to 90 minutes. An evening parents' session is available at no extra change. An evening recital for the community is an additional fee. Residencies culminating with Justin performing as soloist with the school concert ensemble are also popular. 

For information regarding Justin's past collaborations with Jack Stamp, Tim Lautzenheiser, and the late John Paynter, contact Mellon Music Management


Elementary School

I’ve Got a Great Job — I'm a Musician
A Concert Pianist's Job, Instrument and Music
An Upbeat Music Program for Students K through 5

Program Description

These sessions can take place in the classroom, the music room, or even on the floor of the gym. They are not appropriate for large assemblies. They are intimate, short and snappy, humorous, and memorable. Justin explains his job as a traveling concert pianist: the places he goes around the world; the music he performs (the three B's plus compositions by living American women and men); with stories about the pianos he plays (good ones and bad ones). 

Short compositions are performed throughout the session always maintaining a high level of interest. Questions are always answered "on the spot" and laughing is encouraged.

Justin likes to touch base with the school's music teacher prior to the day of the session. The format described above is the same for all grade levels. Length and sophistication is, of course, targeted appropriately to each group of students. Justin Kolb is well known as a team player with on site faculty. 

Class Size: Maximum 60 students (exceptions may be planned in advance)

Length of Presentation
K - 3: approximately 25 - 30 minutes
Grades 4 - 6: approximately 40 - 50 minutes
Grades 7 - 12: may be accommodated when requested 

This high quality learning experience has been presented to hundreds of schools in Canada and throughout the United States. Cooperative learning projects between the music and other departments often occur as a result of discussion with Justin prior to the artist's visit. Justin's view is that he is a resource to assist teachers in meeting their instructional goals. He is personable and works well with staff and faculty.

Dear Mr. Kolb,
I like how you played little David play on my Harp. I like how you performed for all of the third graders. We loved how you played Beethoven. I thought I didn’t like classical music but you showed me that it was ok. And loved how you played backwards. How do you do that?
— Your Friend, Aaron, 4th Grade

Faculty Feedback from schools and universities

"He spoke with the students not atthe students. We want him back here working with our kids." 

Chicago, IL
— Chicago City Schools

"Here is a teacher who really knows how to get kids to listen. We are counting the days until we look forward to Mr. Kolb's return to Oswego"

Oswego, NY  
— Oswego City School District

We appreciated so much both your artistry and your spoken presentations. Your manner with students was engaging and productive. It is vital to reinforce constantly the importance of music in young peoples' lives; you added so much to this aspect of their development."

Dr. Mark M. Ring
Moorhead High School


"They are still talking about Justin and the beautiful music he provided. He reminded us of the importance of creating."

Jefferson, NY
— Jefferson Central School

"Your motivational discussions concerning real-world skills, molded from musical training, gives credibility to all musicians in their effort to secure jobs. Your presentation motivated our students in a very positive way."

Wayne Cook, Chair, Department of Music
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

"We heard many positive comments from the students and believe it made them think a bit differently about the values of their musical education." 


Midwestern Public School System
— Merrillville High School

"From your formal presentation given during our Convocation hour, to the many hours you spent meeting with students for the balance of the day (not to mention the balance of the week!), you provided information students found to be both inspiring and thought provoking. Students are still talking about your visit and all that they learned."

Margaret J. Hamilton, Assistant Director, School of Music
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

"Everyone appreciated your relaxed manner and the ease with which you drew your audience into the discussion. Thank you for an encouraging, stimulating and upbeat presentation--it was a real boost for us."


John Owings, Department of Music
Texas Christian University
Forth Worth, TX

You are a master teacher as well as an awesome performer (as the kids say). Seldom during my many years as an educator have I witnessed anyone who has been able to pinpoint such crucial and salient points to students of music in such a short amount of time!
— Dr. David Ferreira, Chair, Department of Music Minnesota State University, Moorhead, MN