Running Start Spotlights

Igor Houwat

September Interview

Igor Houwat, Alum, MM ’10, MA ’11
Can you summarize your current entrepreneurial projects in a sentence or two?
Wisaal is a group I started 4 years ago. We play Mediterranean fusion music - Arabic, klezmer, Indian, and American influences. 
How has your group been growing and developing since you graduated? Since last year? What are your next steps as you go forward?
We have become a regional group since I graduated three years ago. Since last year, we have been adding some prestigious venues to our resume, most notably Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. We have revisited our business plan and are looking forward to expanding more in Michigan, including more educational workshops at colleges. We will also attend the Arts Midwest Conference for the first time in order to expand our reach beyond Michigan.
How has the College of Music prepared you to embark on your career?
I learned solid musical skills. The Business of Music class opened my eyes to the business end of things.
What do you think are the most important skills to have as a 21st century musician?
In addition to musicianship, business and networking skills are crucial. I don't know if the following is a skill or not, but the initiative to either start a project or bring an idea to fruition is crucial, especially if you have a vision or passion. Finally, keep updated with technological advances.
What words of wisdom do you have for prospective MSU students?
Do not limit your time to the practice room. There is a large world out there, and if you want to be a performer, teacher, or if you want to do anything that speaks to others, you have to find ways to connect with that world.