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May 14, 2021

Dynamic Resources Available Through CIM²


Students sitting and reviewing papers, image focuses on an Asian woman in a light gray t-shirt.

By: Ariel Karas

CIM’s Newsroom includes a student-led blog with posts covering a variety of topics, including the CIM admissions process, student life, and interviews with faculty, students and alumni. Students asked CIM Career Advisor Ariel Karas (BM ’10, MM ’11, D. Cerone, L. Cerone, Rose) to share some information about services the Center for Innovative Musicianship (CIM²) provides. Ariel is also the founder & director of OPUS 216 and the director of Classical Revolution Cleveland.


As an independent, professional musician leading a multi-faceted career, I have faced plenty of twists and turns, failures and even a few dead ends. Musicians at every stage of their careers encounter challenges and major unknowns; that is why I am especially passionate about my work as CIM’s Career Advisor and the numerous opportunities available for students to learn, grow and gain valuable professional experience via CIM’s career resources! Here are just some of the dynamic resources available to CIM students through our Center for Innovative Musicianship:

Resume Review and Professional Materials

Have you ever heard of the 15 second elevator pitch? Let’s say you land in an elevator with someone “big” – you’ve got 15 seconds to pitch a brilliant idea and see if they buy into it! A great, one-page resume is like an elevator pitch; it is a critical marketing tool to catch the eye of the reviewer to demonstrate why you are qualified for the position at hand.

Some students arrive at CIM with a great working resume – maybe a few tweaks are needed here or there and new achievements are updated periodically, but it is in solid shape. Others may need more guidance, and that is totally fine! Students can contact me throughout the academic year for review of their resumes, cover letters, grant or festival applications, and more. We will set up appointments either in-person or virtually to talk through edits and general formatting guidelines. Then, we may bounce the documents back and forth via email to clean things up and get it prepared for submission. It has been remarkable to see how writing styles and editing skills evolve quickly with just a little coaching!

Bottom line: never hesitate to let more than one set of eyes see your professional materials.

Consultation on Projects, Internships and Streams of Income

Some of my favorite meetings with students are with students who have open-ended dreams and concrete goals. Not every CIM student will take a traditional path through a career in classical music and many, if not all, will work for themselves at some point! Whether it’s for a summer to help meet financial obligations, or it’s a long-term dream as a musician to “be your own boss,” it can be clarifying and motivating to talk through your needs with an advisor. For some, I am simply there to hold space for students to crystallize those goals out loud, while for others, I can offer resources and a starting direction. We have even done virtual “mock interviews” ahead of auditions and interviews. Each student’s journey is uniquely individual – when it comes to career advising, students can know there is confidentiality, availability and support.

Success, and how its measured, looks different for every musician at every career stage. Literally. It is less critical that students leave CIM with “all the answers,” and much more important that they can simply launch themselves with confidence: well-equipped and purpose-driven.

Opportunities for Real-World Experience

Whether it’s an audition for a regional orchestra, an application for a faculty position at a community music school in the area or a listing on College Central for a string quartet’s wedding performance, there are numerous opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in both performance and pedagogy while studying at CIM. Understanding the landscape of professional opportunities available in northeast Ohio is crucial – in addition to the College Central job listing platform and CIM’s Resource Guide, students can reach out for guidance and advising on organizations to contact and a vast network of area alumni who are well-established and interested in collaboration and willing to connect.

Pitch Night

For entrepreneurially minded students, and in collaboration with CIM’s Governing Members donor group, CIM² has created an innovative, yearlong mentorship program culminating in a night of competitive presentations and cash awards for students with big ideas that deserve nurturing. Through multiple rounds of presentations and focused meetings with designated mentors, students cultivate their ideas, be it a product, an experience or a vision for a new social organization. Mentors check in at critical points in the design process and ensure students have the resources and network needed to create an action plan. Following the final Pitch Night presentations, a cash prize is available for students with the most compelling and effective visions.


These are only a few of the highlights offered through our CIM² programming! Learn more and get involved.