ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Mozart was an entrepreneur: without a patron or permanent paying job at a church or royal court, the 18th century master made a living from a variety of composing and performing assignments across Europe.
Fast forward 200 years, and music school students in the United States are not so different. Approximately 330,000 undergraduates and graduates, ranging from a music industry major at a community college to a Ph.D. musicology student at an Ivy League institution, are enrolled in music programs. Faced with a shifting music world, they’re choosing eclectic careers to make a living. Can they be taught to recognize and take advantage of opportunities to succeed in the 21st century?
Beginning Jan. 22, representatives from 25 of the nation’s premier music institutions will come to the Eastman School of Music for a workshop sponsored by the School’s groundbreaking Institute for Music Leadership on embedding entrepreneurship in their curriculums. Over three days, deans, administrators, and students from such schools as The Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory will work together to identify how they can foster entrepreneurial thinking in their institutions.
The group will be guided by Babson College entrepreneurship professor Heidi Neck, who is leading the workshop sessions. Composer-conductor Maria Schneider will give firsthand music-world advice. Schneider is the first artist to win a Grammy for an album distributed exclusively over the Internet, outside the established recording industry, and is an Eastman alumna.
“Changes in the music world demand a new kind of professional preparation,” said Douglas Lowry, Dean of the Eastman School. “Not only do students need a bridge between their education and their careers, they must be equipped with imagination, with zeal to seek out and make opportunities, and with a strong desire to seek innovative unorthodox solutions to problems.”
Spanning the Gap between Academic and Professional Worlds
Musicians have always been on their own when it comes to learning the practical skills that support a diverse musical career. The Eastman School, however, started offering a “Business of Music” course in the 1970s. Through its Institute for Music Leadership, the School has continued encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset to better prepare students for entry into the professional music world. The Institute’s Arts Leadership Program, the first of its kind, offers courses in publicity, grants writing, intellectual property, and even musician health. Students in the program are provided with one-on-one advising and get practical experience through internships. A guest speaker series brings in performers, arts managers, music writers, and educators to discuss career and music-related issues.
Across the country, music schools are increasingly looking to help students bridge the transition to “the real world.” The University of Colorado at Boulder launched its Entrepreneurship Center for Music in 1998. The University of South Carolina is searching for a founding director for The Carolina Institute for Leadership & Engagement in Music. At Indiana University, an Entrepreneurship & Arts Institute is being developed as a cross-campus initiative between the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and the Jacobs School of Music.
“Many music students today have a broad spectrum of interests and want more for themselves than the traditional career path,” said Mary Kinder Loiselle, Director of Community Engagement & Career Development Services at The Curtis Institute of Music. Loiselle will be attending the Jan. 22 to 24 entrepreneurship workshop in Rochester. “While performing at the highest professional level remains the primary focus, students are seeking opportunities to design a career that allows them to express their individual interests and creativity in a meaningful way. Through career studies classes, project-based learning, residencies, and other hands-on experiences, we must help today’s students develop the necessary range of skills and a sense of entrepreneurship that will ensure a satisfying future as musicians,” adds Loiselle.
Heidi Neck, Maria Schneider Provide Academic, Artist Perspectives on Entrepreneurship
An expert on entrepreneurship education and a frequent presenter on topics including corporate and social entrepreneurship and radical innovation, Neck is the Jeffry A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Babson. She will lead sessions in which participants will explore what makes an entrepreneurial teacher and an entrepreneurial college. Faculty and students will work together in teams to come up with suggestions for integrating entrepreneurship into music curriculums, and then will make brief presentations pitching their ideas to the other participants.
Neck will also screen clips from the movie Dead Poets Society. Neck has written that the film can be used to teach entrepreneurial lessons like recognizing when to take and not take risks, approaching situations and problems from different perspectives, and finding and bringing to life one’s passion by creating a new venture.
“The greatest professional opportunities are those that are able to engage the singular gifts and interests of the person who will inhabit that profession,” said workshop participant Kathleen Hacker, Chair of the Music Department at the University of Indianapolis. “Who better to design that career than the person who will be living it every day? Strengthening a creative spirit, building critical thinking skills and developing an entrepreneurial confidence must become part of the academic landscape for students to be fully equipped for the rigors and expectation of the highly competitive and ever-changing world of music.”
Schneider will talk to workshop attendees about her success outside the recording industry. She was one of the first artists to produce a CD using the ArtistShare® model, in which consumers finance projects in exchange for Web access to the artist’s creative process. Her album Concert in the Garden is the first Grammy-winning recording with Internet-only sales. Schneider’s second Grammy came for a composition on her album Sky Blue, also fan-funded and distributed through ArtistShare®. (Note: ArtistShare is a registered trademark.)
Workshop participants will also get to see Schneider in performance. The composer-conductor, who received her master’s degree at the Eastman School in 1985, is bringing her 18-piece jazz orchestra to Rochester for a public concert. Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership is partnering with the Rochester International Jazz Festival to present Schneider in concert, and proceeds will benefit Eastman School’s jazz scholarship fund.
Workshop Follows Up on Previous Event
The upcoming workshop builds on one led by Eastman School officials prior to the November 2007 National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) conference in Salt Lake City. Nearly 60 administrators attended that session, where they were urged to explore entrepreneurial-like programs in their existing curriculums and come up with and build upon a new idea.
William Pelto, associate dean of Ithaca College’s School of Music, attended the 2007 workshop and is participating in this month’s follow-up. “Changes in the music world have put entrepreneurship on the plate for all musicians, including how we prepare students to look at their careers,” he said. “This event keeps the conversation going about initiatives and ideas that schools can adapt for their own programs and students.”
Both workshops received funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as part of a multi-year grant to the University of Rochester to emb
ed entrepreneurship into programs across disciplines and schools. The Eastman School of Music is one of the schools of the University of Rochester.
Though most people think of business start-ups when they think of entrepreneurship, “In the arts, entrepreneurship is about being pro-active, it’s about thinking ahead and looking for and recognizing opportunities,” said Ramon Ricker, director of Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership. “We have to prepare students for the musical landscape of today and the future, and that has to be different from the way we prepared students in the past.”
About the Eastman School of Music
The Eastman School of Music (www.esm.rochester.edu), located in Rochester, N.Y., is one of the world’s leading and top ranked music schools, educating 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students annually in performance, composition, jazz studies and contemporary media, music education, theory, conducting, and musicology.
The Eastman School was established in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, as the first professional school of the University of Rochester. The School’s more than 95 full-time faculty members include Grammy winners, Guggenheim Fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, and recording artists. Eastman’s prominent alumni include opera singers RenÃ©e Fleming Anthony Dean Griffey, and the late William Warfield; jazz musicians Maria Schneider, Ron Carter, and Chuck Mangione; and composers Charles Strouse, Michael Torke, and the late Alexander Courage.
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