Josh Straub classical piano

Branching out as a classical pianist – Josh Straub


When you are trained as a classical pianist, what different routes can you take to set yourself apart as an entrepreneur? In this podcast, Josh talks about his journey through classical music, and his work today. Josh received his doctorate in piano, and currently he works not only as a curriculum developer, but also as a teacher of group piano. His other passion includes composition for film. In this episode, we chat not only about his career but the restraints of studying classical piano at the university level and the needs to have a variety of skills as a musician.


Dr. Joshua Straub is currently a resident of Austin, TX where he enjoys a multifaceted musical career. Active at many state, regional, national, and international conferences, he has presented at numerous conferences worldwide. As an extension of his interest in the potential impact of music education, he co-wrote a paper with cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Kirsten Smayda and Dr. Ruby Chou which was the result of a ten-week group piano course for older adults aiming to scientifically test the ability for music to impact the brain. Joshua also founded Kraft group piano lessons, a program  providing group piano lessons in a casual, relaxed environment, along with… beer! 

Recently, Josh began composing and producing music and his collaborations with adventure photographer Ryan Deboodt have been featured by National Geographic, the Smithsonian website, and reached over a million people and one was recently selected for the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York City in October, 2019. In addition to his commitment to the traditional Western canon, Joshua also frequently performs and commissions works by living composers while also enjoying many popular genres. He has performed in cover bands and in the pit for musicals.  

Joshua is an active member of MTNA and CMS, and is a former faculty member at Concordia University Texas and The University of Texas at Austin. 

career in music
Dr. Artina McCain, Dr. Martin McCain

Collaborating in music & career consultation


Are you interested in learning about collaborating in music? Are you looking for ways to receive consultation in your music career? This dynamic duo – Artina and Martina, are making a splash in the music world not only as first class performers and teachers, but also as career consultants in the arts. Tune in to listen to their journey and their tips for starting a career in music, including the art of networking, diversifying skills, and learning new skills. Artina speaks about the importance of career wellness, and how they balance professional and married life. Martin shares his tips on getting out there and working with performing groups of all types. You’re not going to want to miss this vibrant episode!

In this episode, we also talk about inclusion in music, and specifically where to find music written by black composers & women composers. Here are the links to access the resources that we mentioned:

Piano Music by William Chapman Nyayo

Music by Errollyn Wallen

Composer Diversity Database compiled by Rob Deemer.

The McCain Duo

Known for their fusion classical, jazz and gospel programming, the McCain Duo (Artina and Martin) present concerts of rhythmic intensity and colorful artistry. Their marriage and collaboration of bass trombone and piano creates a dynamic pairing providing repertoire of wide versatility and variety for the concert venue.

The McCain Duo has multifaceted careers as engaging performers and educators. Their mission is to commission new works by emerging contemporary composers. They received two Global Music Awards medals for their CDs Shades and Trombone Czar: The Extended Version. The duo performs throughout Asia: Mahidol University, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Radio Television Hong Kong as well as notable North American festivals, concert series and universities. Highlights include performances at the Gateways Music Festival in NY, American Trombone Workshop in VA and The Great American Brass Band Festival in KY. Their concerts and recordings have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, CKWR Toronto and KMFA Classical Austin. 

In addition to their performing careers, they have a thriving mission to help the next generation of budding musicians through their weekly social media series “Elevate with the McCain Duo. They are active board members for multiple nonprofit organizations including Austin Chamber Music Center and PRIZM Ensemble dedicated to building diverse communities through chamber music education, youth development, and performance.

Dr. Artina McCain is Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Piano Studies at the University of Memphis. Dr. Martin McCain is Artist/Teacher of Trombone and Professor of Music at Texas State University. Together, the McCains serve on the faculties of the Austin Chamber Music Festival and the PRIZM Ensemble International Chamber Music Festival. For more information, please visit and follow @mccainduo.