Entertainment, On A High Note

Uniquely Nashville Arts – Periscope: Artists Entrepreneur Training


Art is a way of life for many Nashville residents and Nashville’s Arts & Business Council (ABC) has a program to help artists succeed as entrepreneurs.

According to the ABC, Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training “sparks the moment when artists’ careers really start to take off.” Periscope offers six weeks of intensive professional development training, year-round alumni activities at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and the Periscope Pitch Event every fall. Karen Renee Robb, a member of the 2016 Periscope class, recently spoke with Sports & Entertainment Nashville.

S&E: You worked in the corporate world prior to your current career. Why did you make the shift to this new path?

KRR: After 25 years in the high-tech, digital music and instrument industry — working for Apple Computer, Digidesign (creators of Pro Tools), Gibson Guitar and Griffin Technology, I left to advocate for the power of sound and music for healing and well-being.

Karen Renee Robb makes her Periscope pitch in fall 2016. PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTS AND BUSINESS COUNCIL OF GREATER NASHVILLE

In 2012, I was researching music therapy for Griffin and had a number of profound experiences during that time.  It became very clear to me that live music and sound vibration was vital . . . that in the digital age, we have lost our connection to the power of sound and vibration in our lives. I started the Music City Alliance for Sound and Music Healing, and in 2013, I was introduced to the frame drum. After watching a TEDx Talk by Eliana Gilad, I picked up my first frame drum at Fork’s Drum Closet in Nashville and started singing into it.

Within a few weeks I intuitively started drumming over and around people and the effect was mind-blowing. I found that I could make people as relaxed as a full body massage in a very short period of time, without physically touching them. I found the frame drum is a convenient, portable, powerful tool; Frame Drum Wisdom was born.

Tell us more about the experience of Frame Drum Wisdom.

There is a mystical thing that happens between the drum and the holder of the drum.  It is difficult to explain, but so many of my clients and students understand.  For me personally, I now explore many more facets of my voice and rhythm than I ever did before. My voice is more powerful and I feel like I am a lot stronger and sure of myself since I came in contact with the drum.

The frame drum is traditionally used for hand drumming.  What I do with is not what it is normally used for. There is a history to the frame drum that is very intriguing.  Originally used by women in previous civilizations, they were taken away from us because women were considered too powerful with them. I am on a mission to get the drums back into our lives: I serve as a public speaker; facilitate workshops (I call them “play-shops” because they are a lot of fun); hold Frame Drum Sound Circles (group experiences that do beyond a traditional drum circle, using voice and other percussive sound instruments); provide private vocal empowerment and sound vibration massage sessions; and perform with my frame drum as often as I can.

In what ways did your experience with Periscope benefit you?

Graduation ceremony at the conclusion of 2016. Seated: Jen Cole (Metro Arts Commission), Ana Schwager (Southwest Airlines), Audra Ladd (Mayor’s Office), Courtney Ross (Chamber of Commerce), Dante Bard (Periscope graduate), Sam Lingo (Nashville Entrepreneur Center), John Murdock (Nashville Entrepreneur Center) and Casey Summar (Arts and Business Council). PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTS AND BUSINESS COUNCIL OF GREATER NASHVILLE

While I have 25 years of product development, marketing and project management skills in my previous career, I felt that having this experience would help me in applying that wisdom to my very soul-driven, passionate, artistic life expression. I had mixed feelings during the course of the Periscope program.

It was challenging for me to be back in what felt like a corporate setting at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center having been free to explore and create on my own terms for almost four years. I enjoyed meeting, sharing life experiences with and learning from the other artists.  I did clarify specific needs for growing my business going forward . . . and thoroughly enjoyed working with my mentor [film score composer] Stacy Widelitz.

What are some upcoming events for Frame Drum Wisdom?

I am excited to be bringing my private practice and small group facilitation to a new space in Cool Springs in partnership with Peach & Crane Acupuncture & Apothecary starting in February.  I have a new day retreat experience, “The Art of Allowing~Through Sound & Color,” and I hold monthly Frame Drum Sound Circles at Art & Soul Studio that are open to the public (January 31 and February 21 from 7:00p.m.-8:30p.m. are next); I also will be holding sound circles weekly on Monday evenings from 7:00p.m.-8:30p.m. at Peach & Crane starting in February.

The application deadline for the 2017 Periscope program is March 6. For more information, visit the official websites for Periscope and Frame Drum Wisdom.


  1. Kelly

    Wonderful article Dana; nice job! I have been in numerous circles with Karen Renee and she is a wonderful facilitator, sound healer and advocate. Worthy of your spotlight!

  2. Kathy Plourde

    Great article…a wonderful facilitator and indeed the frame drum releases energy…that has been my experience..

  3. Steve

    Great to know about the Periscope program. Also just a shout out for Karen Renee who does fabulous workshops and for Art & Soul – a fantastic and unique Nashville treasure – eartandsoul.com

    Peace, Steve

  4. I am SO excited about Karen Renee launching her private practice! What a huge step?! As artists, it is sometimes difficult to plant our flag in the ground and be open to the successes or failures that may come.

    Thank you for highlighting both Karen Renee and Periscope, Dana.