Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Masterminds – With A Little Help From My Friends


What would you do if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

– Lennon & McCartney

You can’t do it alone.  If you look around you, all the things in your life, from furniture, to electronics to clothes to even books and works of art – none of it was done by a lone genius.

I used to be seduced by this story of the lone creative genius toiling away in an isolated studio somewhere and emerging two years later with…the greatest thing ever!  But, the work of all the famous authors, painters, inventors, teachers, musicians – they all needed a team to make it’s way to us. Van Gogh would not be known without his brother’s financial support and the art dealers and the scholars and the museums who have all promoted his work.   

For years, I tried to do it alone and it was painful, hard, lonely. But, there is a better way and that way is called a mastermind group which I am certain has the potential to change your life.  

What is it?  It’s a group of like-minded individuals gathered together with the purpose of supporting each other in their chosen endeavors.

Many years ago, I read the classic book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Now if you haven’t read it, you must! The young Napoleon Hill approached the richest man in the world at the time, Andrew Carnegie, and asked for some advice on success. Carnegie issued Hill a challenge to go and interview all the most successful men of the time and to distill it into a book. One of the main ideas that Hill discovered was the mastermind group.  

It was only in the last two years that I’ve actively sought out my own mastermind groups and the difference in my life is almost indescribable. Currently, I’m in two mastermind groups, one local where we meet in person for two hours every other week. The other is held online weekly as we are scattered across North America.  

We hold each other accountable, review our strategies, give advice on tools, techniques that we have discovered, share books and recommendations and just generally lift each other up. The key to a mastermind group is setting a groundwork of rules and size. It seems to work best with not more than 5 to 8  individuals, as it gives everyone a chance to share their current challenges and situation. Each meeting, the structure is to check in with how we are all doing, celebrate our wins, (no matter how small they may seem), things we need help with and then time for everyone to offer suggestions, advice, direction.  

In the beginning, I was thinking, I don’t really have much to offer, but then as we warmed up to sharing with each other, the advice one person gave to another would often resonate through the whole group. Even though we are all in different businesses, it’s amazing how common all of our challenges are. And even though our ages are all different, the insights of a 20 year old are just as valid as a 50 year old! Even just sharing a great book tip or a conversation with a client and how it went can provide valuable learning for the whole group. All of us have experienced incredible personal as well as business growth.

If there’s one thing you do this year to improve your life and career, I would heartily recommend either joining or forming a mastermind group. I’m actually creating one right now as part of a course I’m launching. The group will be facilitated by me as structure of the meetings is a key to it’s success. You can learn more and join the course at

I’d love to hear your experiences with mastermind groups.  Please post your comments below!

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  1. Robin Steinweg

    Thank you for this excellent reminder, Andrew. You’re right, the idea of “genius clusters” is an old one. Look at authors, artists and musicians who hung out together from centuries past (sometimes living in a mentor-mentee status for months), and you see the lasting imprint of these folks on one another–and on their work. I started a writer’s group (for critique and encouragement) a few years ago, and every member who has sought publication has been successful. We’ve sharpened each other. It’s a fascinating concept, and worth pursuing! Forums for music teachers are a type of mastermind group, too. Great post!

  2. Andrew Ingkavet

    Thanks much Robin! Yes I agree – a fellowship, sangha, choir, writer’s group, salon are all pretty much the same thing – a group to support each and everyone!

  3. Phillip Dacus


    I enjoyed your blog. It was a good reminder for me as well. I have several things that I am working on, but like so many of us, I need motivation and accountability. I have not heard of Masterminds before. I did read on their site about another group called Meet Ups, which I am on.

    We all need like minded people to help us stay on top of what we need to do, and should be doing. I think another good blog similar to this would be; “You can make time”.

    So many of us use the excuse of; “I dont have the time for this or that”. Reality is that we make time for what is important to us. Using myself as an example, after a long day of work, I just want to Veg in front of the TV.

    We all need some down time in our lives. I see nothing wrong with this. Sleep, after all, is just another Down Time that our body and mind must have. Without it, we go cookoo!

    But If writing a book was really important to me, I would find 30 minutes a night to take away from my Veg time.

    We all have things that we could be doing to improve ourselves, our family and our future. Lets stop making excuses, and in the words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Get er done”.

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