Here's how to succeed in the music business, members of the well-known Twin Cities band The New Standards told an auditorium of art students one recent school day.

You need business sense - or at least a business-savvy partner.

You have to market yourself, because there's really no record label to do that nowadays.

And you have to be motivated.

"You've got to want it the most," bassist John Munson told them. He, pianist Chan Poling and vibraphonist Steve Roehm performed and answered questions at Alexandria Area High School's Performing Arts Center May 22.

The New Standards visited Alexandria as part of a outreach program funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board with money from The Legacy Amendment. Their visit was presented by Theatre L'Homme Dieu, which is embarking on its own outreach program in 2018 to make its programming more available to students.

"Music can seem so impossible if you don't have a model of someone showing you how to do it," Munson said.

As a child, he said, he was inspired when the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra visited his school. Sometimes, just one visit can flip the switch, opening a young person's eyes to what is possible, he said.

The band fielded questions about how much they practice together, how relationships fare in artistic careers, and whether they have to support themselves with regular jobs.

"People think musicians are slackers and lazy," Munson said. "There's not a lot of respect. ... We like to have fun. I don't know if anyone has told you this yet, but the whole point is to have as much fun as possible."

"And suffer and struggle too," Poling added.

Well, yes, Munson agreed. Despite what some believe, a lot of hard work goes into being a professional musician.

All three are full-time musicians, whether teaching music, performing with other bands or writing music.

Munson advised those students dreaming of a musical career to try it when they're young. They may decide they prefer steadier paychecks or a different lifestyle, but at least they won't have to regret not having ever tried.

He relishes the independence and creative freedom that comes with his chosen line of work.

"I do not work for the man," he said. "There is no man I am accountable to. I don't punch a clock. ... That's awesome."

Sophomore Brett Strandskov doesn't plan to pursue a career in music, but he loved hearing the unusual combination of sounds on the stage, mixing vibraphone, piano and bass.

"It's fun to hear that there is a career out there for things like this," he said.

The New Standards will perform a full concert at TLHD on June 21. Some tickets for that performance will be set aside for students to purchase at a special student rate.

Summer lineup

Theatre L'Homme Dieu's 2018 lineup includes concerts and theatrical performances, with opportunities for free and reduced cost for students. It will also award a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior who has been involved in the arts programs at Alexandria Area High School.

Shows are at 2 p.m. Sundays and 7:30 p.m. all other days.


The New Standards will return for a full-length concert on June 21.

"String," a romantic comedy, plays June 26-July 1.


Cloud Cult, a Duluth band with a national following, will play July 5-6.

"Driving Miss Daisy," about race relations and aging, plays July 10-15.

"From Ava to Eternity," a full-length dramatic musical about Frank Sinatra, plays July 17-22.

On July 26, Patty Peterson will perform "Memories - Celebrating the Music of Barbra Streisand."

"The Complete Works of Shakespeare" weaves through all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in 97 minutes July 31-Aug. 5.


"Broadway's Next Hit Musical," an unscripted theatrical awards show, will play Aug. 7-12.

The season will wrap up on Aug. 15-16, when Pamela McNeill Productions presents "Wild Angels and the Handsome Devils ... Women of Rock, Pop & Country."