Sarah Busman is the Arts Education Manager for the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, where her primary initiatives are Artists In Schools and Mini Grants. She is also the principal flutist of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. Prior to working at the Arts Council, Sarah taught at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke for 9 years, graduating many wonderful flutists, teachers, and scholars. She is the founder of Darkwater Festival, which celebrates women in music through scholarship, performance, and new music. Sarah holds a BM from Middle Tennessee State University and an MM from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She lives in Fayetteville, NC with her husband Joshua Busman, her two little boys, Arthur and Simon, and her tripod hound dog Foster.
3 Things making your life richer & why
I love discovering the world through my two and four year old kids. They make me notice things that I would normally walk right by.
Being outside is something that gives me energy. I’ve tried my hand at vegetable gardening and love to root around in the dirt (pun intended).
Up until this year, I was in a position where listening to music *was* work (as a professor at UNCP). Now that I am in an office setting, I’ve rediscovered my love of listening to new albums in all genres.
Local artist you admire: At my job at the Arts Council, I meet so many artists. It’s tough to choose just one! One of the ways I personally relax is by doing cross-stitch, so I find Adrienne Trego’s work very inspiring!
What is one of your current artistic experiments? I’ve shifted into a job where I meet lots of different artists in lots of different disciplines. I’m very interested in how to merge classical music with some of these other artistic disciplines. I have a friend in Charleston doing these amazing food and classical music pairings, and I could see something like that being really cool in Fayetteville!
How did your art practice change during the pandemic? The pandemic uniquely affected musicians who can’t wear masks while performing, so I went from performing 2-4 times a month to nothing for almost two years. Like many musicians, I enjoyed doing some collaborations online, but I shifted a lot of my energy to making educational videos for students to experience music while learning virtually. This led to an awesome set of videos with the Fayetteville Symphony that I did with my son called “Adventures with Arthur.” Doing those videos was a real stretch for us, but I’m proud of the result.
Where do you practice your art? Describe your work space. Musicians focus on their performances, but the time before the performance is where we really practice our art. For most orchestral gigs, I get music 2 weeks before the performance in anticipation that I will intimately know my part by the time the first full rehearsal starts. For most gigs, we rehearse only twice as a full ensemble before a performance, so the practice part is really important. I often practice at home, but now that I work at the Arts Council I sometimes take breaks from reading grant proposals to play music in the basement for Ella the Elephant.
How do you find your subject (next piece, idea, voice)? I make an effort to play new music and/or historical music by female and non-white composers. These composers are drastically overlooked in symphonic programming and much of the canonical writings about music, so I try to focus my energy there.
Advice to newer artists in your genre. Communicate honestly with yourself and the people around you about what you think is important. The list of important things won’t stay the same throughout your life, so shift as-needed. And your art won’t always be at the top of that list, and that’s totally ok.