Enabling Arts Entrepreneurs

I recently gave a talk at the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park.  My topic focused on those skills that orchestral musicians will need (now need!) in order to succeed and thrive in the future.  I am sure this list of skills would not be a surprise to readers.  What impressed me is just how intelligent and dedicated these young people were.  And building on my experience in teaching arts entrepreneurship at Drexel, where I found much the same intelligence and motivation, I am now concerned and focused on what can be done now to encourage and enable this remarkable generation.

Sure, we can continue to encourage the teaching of those skills and abilities that will enable them to navigate their way.  Broadening the number of schools that offer these resources is critical.  However, this will not get the job done fully, as lack of capital and start-up funds will dull most ideas and quash motivation and energy.  I’m thinking that we need to establish a national endowment to encourage new ideas in the arts.

 This endowment could be formed thought traditional means, but also through “crowdsourcing” fundraising, such as that found in (www.kickstarter.com).  The distribution structure would have to avoid heavy bureaucracy, and would need to include a majority of young people from a variety of backgrounds and professions.  If a realistic and carefully researched business plan was required in the application, then more schools would be compelled to teach and enable their students for their applications.

What do you think of this idea?




About the author

James Undercofler

Jim has been a Professor at Drexel University since May, 2009. His previous appointment - since August, 2007 - was as the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Jim was Dean of the Eastman School of Music from 1997 to 2007. He has played a prominent role in musical arts and music education throughout his career. Before joining Eastman in 1995 as associate director for academic affairs and professor of music education, he was an active, performing chamber musician as well as first horn in the New Haven Symphony. Jim serves as board president, American Music Center; advisory board member, Arts Education Policy Review; board member, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, New York State Association of College Music Programs and American Symphony Orchestra League, and is a founding member, NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools and Mercury Opera of Rochester.

Read James Undercofler's blog [l=http://web.esm.rochester.edu/poly/blog/author/junder/]here[/l].

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