Onward & Upward - Jim Neglia

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Onward & Upward

                       ONWARD AND UPWARD 
                                                          by Jim Neglia

                                 an AuthorHouse Publication is available

Onward and Upward is an exciting and sometimes hilarious account of my pursuit of a dream; a career in music. In this around-the-world journey, I share many exhilarating stories about culture, family, food, laughter, friendship, wisdom, heartache and sadness, with just a touch of Strauss, motorcycle chases and Hollywood for added enjoyment.

For 25 years I have wanted to write a book about the relentless determination it takes to succeed in the arts. Whether as a struggling young artist in New York City, as a music coordinator for a Broadway musical, or as a young musician traveling throughout Europe, I will share with you excitement, acclaim, and culture.

Any aspiring musician, would-be world traveler, or entrepreneur, will benefit from reading this book. Learn from another's experience about dedication, passion, culture, and how to avoid pit-falls. Partly by means of behind-the-scene memoirs means of journal entries, we will walk hand in hand on this most extraordinary journey through a life in the arts.

I hope that after reading it, you will want to push yourself
Onward and Upward! 
                                             Quotes from various online reviews: 

~ “I loved his book, his story is both inspirational and emotionally moving.”

~ “After I received my copy of Onward & Upward I started to flip through the book and immediately found myself drawn in.”

~ “He really makes you believe that you can achieve anything you want in life with discipline, commitment and hard work.”

~ “Musicians will appreciate Jim's journey over the years honing his skills to get him to where he is today.”

~ “Days of wonder, days of amazing good fortune, days of loss and deep sadness.”

~ “The author is also showing that through dedication and hard work anyone can achieve their dreams.”

~ “It's a beautifully written journey...”

~ “It's moving, emotional, and very real.”

~ “As I read the book, I felt as if Jim was having a conversation with me and could hear his voice telling each and every word of the stories.”

~ "Neglia puts into words exactly the kind of passion and desire to excel that drove all of us to climb each step of the ladder that created our lives in music”

~ "I was immediately hooked into Jim's world and his life journey. This book has everything from family, friendships, kinships, Hollywood to Europe, ups and downs and the music career journey of Jim. The stories are like mini episodes of a cool movie and each chapter is a story of its own. As a whole, the book oozes with inspiration and open ideas giving me, the reader permission to possibilities in my own travels. Bravo!!!"

~ "The general public thinks the world of a professional musician is one of glamour and continuous excitement. Though both are certainly a part of that world, there are countless hours spent in the preparation for the exhilarating, most visible moments on the stage in front of an audience. Jim Neglia has written a book that describes in detail both the glamour and the daily grind. This very personal account reads as if one is spending the weekend with Jim, listening to his engaging stories and savoring the descriptions of food and scenery along the way. He has written the sort of book many of us say we should someday write, filled with the experiences we have lived through and grown through, the trials as well as the fun. His volume also devotes a substantial amount of space to express his indebtedness to those who taught, supported and befriended him through his career to this point.

For those who are curious about what real people do in a particular profession, the writing provides an inside look at the life of a versatile musician. For the reader who is a colleague, the shared realities may yield some absorbing reading. For example, my sense of recognition was strong throughout his description of his audition for college. Neglia puts into words exactly the kind of passion and desire to excel that drove all of us to climb each step of the ladder that created our lives in music. Just as in taking an audition, or taking a solo on the stage of Carnegie Hall, it takes some courage to put one's heartfelt thoughts out there for the world to digest, but the book is filled with warmth and gratitude, a reminder to all about what is most important in life."


New Book Details Music Man’s Journey from St. Joseph’s Church & NJCU to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra 

By Summer Dawn Hortillosa• Mar 18th, 2013 • Category:Arts

If you think all artists, actors and musicians are living la vie bohème, Jim Neglia has news for you.
In his memoir “Onward and Upward,” the professional percussionist shares 35 years of journal entries, along with present-day reflections and commentary, looking back on his musical career.

Ever since he was 4 or 5, the former Jersey City resident says he knew he wanted to be a musician, as did his four older siblings. After all, it was in their blood.

“It was a no-brainer. This is what we do. We come from generations of music,” says Neglia, 49. “My father, his father and his father were all musicians–my great-uncle was a very prolific composer named Francesco Paolo Neglia in Sicily. He composed symphonies, operas and various chamber music works that are still performed all the time right now. We’ve had this in our blood forever.”

In fact, basically everyone in the Neglia family has taken a turn as music minister at St. Joseph’s church on Pavonia Avenue. “In 1966 or ’67, my father worked at St. Joseph and after he left, my oldest brother was there, then my sister went in, then my next sister, then my brother, then me, and now my nieces and nephews. It’s really quite amazing.”

Neglia says he is grateful to the church’s longtime pastor James Pagnotta, who grew close to the family and took care of them. “He married all of us at all of our weddings–he also buried my mom, my grandmother, my uncle–this was a man who just took care of us. Like when I was in college just scraping together money for books for school, he said, ‘It’s time to get Jimmy in here.’” Neglia stayed with the church until 2000 when the demand for him to perform in Europe and do other duties became too much.

The current East Hanover resident says that his family was extremely supportive, many others weren’t. “A lot of people say, ‘It’s great to have music as a hobby, but what are you going to do?’ or ‘How are you going to live? Or support a wife and kids?’ But I refused to buy into the idea that I couldn’t do it,” he says. “The more I heard discouraging remarks, the more I became determined to beat the odds.”

And he did. In addition to having a successful career as a performer and music minister at St. Joseph’s, Neglia was also an adjunct music professor at New Jersey City University for 10 years. He left in 2003 when he took a job at with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, where he still works today.

Neglia has been performing with the orchestra since 1998 and for about 10 years, has also been their personnel manager (“A glorified HR person,” he says).

“I am blessed to work with the most amazing artists,” he says. “It’s just tremendous.”

He says this is where he is able to rediscover what he loves most about music every day.
“Being a musician, you’re literally in the moment. Everything is unfolding as it’s unfolding. If an artist is unhappy with his painting, he can start over before anyone sees what the picture was. We don’t have that luxury.

“But the plus side to being in the moment is that you’re absolutely immersed in what you’re doing–performing, playing, expressing yourself. You’re living in a state of euphoria. You feel like you’re off the ground as you perform,” he says.

By sharing his life story in his new book, Neglia hopes to encourage and relate to other artists.
“I want to dispel the myth that people who go into the arts are going to live on the street, starve and not make a living. This isn’t the cookie-

cutter life of someone who works on Wall Street, or a doctor, or a lawyer. But I was determiend to be a musician and make a living.

“I remember at the time I felt I was so alone in that whole thought process. Now, I want people to read my book and say, ‘Oh, my God, I understand what he’s saying; I’ve lived through that,’ or, ‘I’m living through that.’”


Onward And Upward Inspirational Reading For Students 

SWHK | April 5, 2013 |

Musician Jim Neglia holding his Onward and Upward at his first book signing
Photo Credit: www.jimneglia.com

A story of the struggling artist— inspiration, journeys and experiences, is embodied in, Onward and Upward by musician Jim Neglia. The new book is geared towards the artist in people aged 18-24, Neglia shares his story on how he came to where he is today.

“I wanted people in your positions—up and coming—to gain some insight on how a career in music is possible,” said Neglia.

Neglia is now a successful musician and author. He has performed and collaborated with many big names in the industry.

Neglia has worked with groups such as, The Westchester Symphony, The Riverside Symphonia, Ars Musica, The Pro Arte Chorale, The Morris Choral Society, and The New Philharmonic of New Jersey & Sound Imagination.

Onward and Upward was published on Dec. 17 of last year and the book contain excerpts of Neglia’s lifetime journals.

This is no typical autobiography, the way Neglia formats his book is a unique way of looking back and sharing his story with the masses.

Neglia really wanted to relate to people and reassure young artists who are unsure about their goals. He also aimed for his story to be a sort of guide to success, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and determination.

“Everyone is really connected on that level. By reading what I went through, I want people to see that parallel,” said Neglia.

Hailing from a middle class family of musicians, Neglia first started playing the piano at an early age. He later branched out to other instruments.

At the age of 12 he mowed lawns and cleaned neighbors’ garages to earn enough money to buy his own drum set.

By his late teens, Neglia had auditioned for a spot in the New York Youth Symphony and was fortunately placed in the timpani section. Completely in love with his experience at the NY Youth Symphony, Neglia found his life’s calling.

“I then knew that this is what I was going to do for the rest my life. I was hooked,” said Neglia.

Despite the constant budget cuts modern art and music programs are facing, Neglia firmly believes that up and coming artists still have a chance to excel in today’s art world.

“The problem is that art is shrinking in our country,” said Neglia on the diminishing public school art programs. He adds, “Orchestras running for 15 years are running out of money and filed for bankruptcy.”

The ‘shrinking art world’ is an issue that has quickly gone beyond education. However, Neglia’s goal is to inspire up and coming artists to look beyond both internal and external obstacles.

Although the art world is notably smaller, it is still a significant part of America’s culture.

In an encouraging tone, Neglia said “I think that people always need to be entertained. There will always be a place for us at the top of the field.”

Neglia’s book is a recommended read for all people with goals. All LIU students are encouraged to read Onward and Upward. “Your student body would love this book,” said Neglia. His tip to the up and coming artist is as follow.

“Believe firmly—FIRMLY—in yourself and in your abilities. And there is no looking back. Give 110 percent.” 


An International Performing Artist Shares His 30-Year Success Story 

This musician's memoir will be featured at the Book Expo America in New York City on May 30 - June 1, 2013 

By BookWhirl.com

EAST HANOVER, N.J., April 8, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- In the upcoming Book Expo America in New York City, percussionist Jim Neglia showcases his autobiography Onward and Upward as he joins the book exhibit on May 30-June 1, 2013.This true story of determination, drive and devotion to a life in music will inspire readers as the author shares his 30-year journey through a life in the arts.

From his earliest memory, he had always wanted a career in music. After all, if he was playing, he wasn't really working.Whether as a young artist in New York City, as a music coordinator of a Broadway musical, or as a musician traveling through Europe, the author shares the excitement, acclaim, and culture of being a passionate performing artist. Partly told through behind-the-scene memoirs, partly by journal entries, readers will walk hand in hand with the author on this most extraordinary journey.

Onward and Upward is the true account of the author's pursuit of a dream – a career in music – around the world. He shares his stories of culture, family, laughter, friendship, wisdom, and heartache, with a generous splash of the likes of Strauss, motorcycle chases, and Hollywood.

This book is available online and can be purchased at www.JimNeglia.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

About the Author Jim Neglia has been working in the Performing Arts for more than 25 years as a percussionist as well as music contractor, personnel manager, and music coordinator, working closely with some of the best-known names in the industry. From classical artists Placido Domingo to Yo-Yo-Ma and contemporary artists Johnny Mathis to Spike Lee, he covers the entire gamut of music production and performance. Earlier in his career, he performed with The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus and performed live on the radio program: All Things Considered. Additionally, he has made various recordings as well. His career also took him abroad working in 27 countries as a solo and orchestral percussionist. These days, he keeps a busy schedule as a performer and orchestra personnel manager with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He lives in New Jersey, with his wife and two sons.

Onward and Upward by Jim Neglia Publication Date: December 19, 2012 +++ 
230 pages;  ISBN 978-1477298985


                                 WFME - 1560  
  with Jay Treleas 


A Beautiful Story About Following Your Passion 

This is a guest post from my friend and colleague Jim Neglia. has followed his passions his entire life, and recently finished his book,;truly inspirational story aboutrelentless determination it takes to succeed in the arts.

The book is a true account of his pursuit of a dream; a career in music. In this around-the-world journey, I share my stories of culture, family, laughter, friendship, wisdom, and heartache, with a generous splash of the likes of Strauss, motorcycle chases, and Hollywood.Any aspiring artist, would-be world traveler, or entrepreneur, will benefit from reading this book. Learn from another’s experience about dedication, passion, and culture. Partly by behind-the-scene memoirs, partly by means of journal entries, we will walk hand in hand on this most extraordinary journey through a life in the arts.

“There is only one success—to be able to spend your life in your own way.”—Christopher Morley 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a professional musician. I began my quest hoping beyond hope that my desire alone would be enough to magically propel me to stardom. I soon learned that there are no shortcuts to success, no magic wands to wave; and that my desire was just the tip of the iceberg of what was actually needed. Therefore I changed my approach. I began to settle into a groove that took me on a journey of unparalleled proportions. The journey began by spending countless hours in an eight feet by eight feet practice room for up to ten hours a day, determined to sharpen my skills as a budding percussionist. The beginning years were extremely crucial: I felt it was either sink or swim. It was imperative that my dedication take root and ultimately evolve into my desired profession.

All the hard work, sweat, tears, anxiety, passion, and love ultimately paid off.. Years later, I found myself performing with wonderful orchestras and chamber groups, both in the United States and throughout Europe. I had realized an unimaginable goal. 

Learning Curve 
Many years later, I focused my energy on the next stages in my career: contracting. I saw firsthand, from the perspective of the musician, what it takes to be a successful contractor. Focusing on productions, presentations, preparations, and details seemed a logical starting place. It was during my early performance days that I found myself fascinated by seeing how productions unfolded before my eyes. I thought to myself,Someone had to hire the musicians, work with the union, prepare payroll, and be accountable for the day’s events. The more I learned, the more I wanted that person to be me. It was during this transition period from musician to producer that I began keeping detailed notes on how I could best succeed. I also took notes on many other topics, some of which I have included in the pages to come. All the while, I kept my performance chops up to snuff.

Keeping a Journal 
More time passed, and I found myself sifting through endless pages of notes, stories, and thoughts had jotted down over the years. There were such a variety of offerings; I knew I needed to begin organizing my thoughts more carefully. In doing so, I was able to choose some of the more ridiculous, interesting, sad, scary, absurd, but hopefully mostly entertaining situations to share with you.

Accountability Partners 
There were many people responsible for nurturing, prodding, and pushing me to offer these stories. They knew exactly when the support was needed the most. These are the same people who, years before, had pushed me to work harder the music I was preparing. They are the same people who picked me up from the practice room floor when I had fallen asleep from exhaustion. They are the people who helped push me beyond the limits of the normal, and they showed me how to achieve the impossible. These are the people who have helped make my life as successful as it could be. I wish to thank them all. I think of my dear friend Ray, mentor Chuck, brother Joe, wife Alexandra, and a number of others who helped show me that hard work and determination were indeed a good thing. Be relentless in your passion and steadfast in your drive, and you will achieve all that is possible.

The 3 “D’s” 
In the pursuit of any career, one needs the proper guidance and support. This idea, along with the ability to recognize the help offered to succeed, were constant thoughts in my mind. I was taught about the threeDs, all of which have served as daily reminders to stay on the road of my chosen path. Drive, determination, and devotion have served me well. I have kept these principles in the forefront of my being all these years. Unyielding determinationalwaysto the top of my daily thoughts and routine. I was fortunate during the early days to recognize these essential elements, and with steps, albeit baby ones, I slowly turned each step traveled into feet, yards, and later miles.

Jim Neglia is a veteran force in the Performing Arts. He has been a working percussionist as well as music contractor, personnel manager and music coordinator for more than 25 years, working closely with some of the best-known names in the industry. Jim covers the entire gamut of music production and performance. relaxation, Jim enjoys traveling, reading, writing and keeping his website to date.

The Original article can be found here 


Neglia’s ‘Onward and Upward’ offers advice to artists
By Brendan Barlow 

June 2013 - Vol. 10 No. 6
NEW YORK, N.Y.Written by lifelong musician Jim Neglia, a true professional of the music business,Onward and Upward doesn’t just take you behind the scenes but back stage and into the rehearsal rooms of his adventures and misadventures in the business of music. When most people think of the music business they naturally think of pop music - magazine covers, parties and of being a rock star - but this is not a book about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Onward and Upward a documentation of the passion, preparation and the cultivation of personal relationships that made Neglia’s career possible. The book, in part, is made up of journal entries and letters that Jim saved up over the years. His presentation of his story transports the reader into each situation as they are happening. You will feel the highness of his highs as well as the lowness of his lows. The book is not organized chronologically, but instead as a more topic-based narrative. With the exception of his journal entries, letters and emails, the voice of the book is more akin to a conversation with the author himself, like sitting in Mr. Neglia’s office as he feeds you bits and pieces of his life, pulling out artifacts from a box at his side as proof of his magnificent journey.

An early passage that struck me came from a journal entry in 2003 when Jim examines what it means to choose to make a career in the arts.

“Last night I went to Julliard to hear my nephew in a performance. In the first half of the performance, during the stage change, I realized that 99 percent of these extremely talented kids would be jobless when they graduated. Unable to find work, many will experience real pain through their chosen course in the music world. I feel awful for each and every one of them. What will they do to survive?”

At the time of this entry Jim has already beaten the odds and made quite the career for himself as percussionist and music contractor among other things. Despite his success he is struck by the ambitious career choice these Julliard students have chosen to take. He follows the journal entry above with one from 1985, when he was a student facing those very same long odds against performing percussion professionally. He doesn’t just touch on the obstacles that confront music students though, he explores the difficulties of the complete lifestyle change that most college students must make when faced with new environments, up against new challenges, possible language barriers, long commutes and the task of harnessing ones determination.

Onward and Upward an example of one man going after his dreams and refusing to acknowledge that failure is a possibility. Jim’s life is his career and the relationships that he has created through it. In this book you will experience airport hijinks, a 5 minute rehearsal with Chuck Berry, after parties with Chuck Berry, accidental stuntman-hood, acting with Stanly Tucci, border patrol hick-ups, world travel, love, friendship, hard work, tax trouble, companionship, sugar highs and all-time lows.

Look for Onward and Upward your local book store or at www.Amazon.com 

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