Thursday, March 29, 2007

Musicians as Entrepreneurs

A Business Week article by Kerry Miller outlines some of the arts development and leadership programs (at the Eastman, Juilliard, and Manhattan Schools of Music) that are beginning to take shape in schools of music in order to prepare students for the changing realities of the classical music world. An excerpt:

...critics say music schools still aren't doing enough to prepare students for the real world. "How in good conscience can we continue to graduate thousands of students a year who have no hope of getting a job in the field they were trained for?" asks Michael Drapkin, a business consultant and former symphony clarinetist who got funding from the Kauffman Foundation to support an annual conference in North Carolina on music entrepreneurship called BCOME.

This article should be recommended reading for all music graduates, and for that matter all administrators of music programs. Preparing students for what awaits them in the profession is a reality that is too often ignored. Training students in these skills not only provides a way for them to have a better chance at making a living in their field once they graduate, but will move the classical music industry forward from the accomplishments of those that will excel at leadership and innovation.

Update 03/30/07:

Valerie Peake writes in the Free2Create blog:

The skepticism among what the article refers to as 'the old guard' may relate to feelings of, "Oh well, we all managed in my day", or "We don't want to commercialize the classical music business in the same way as pop music" or "Well, it's not our job to provide training in these skills-- we're here to teach music". I understand all of these attitudes... and yet the deafening silence with regard to these issues when I was at music school was unhelpful to say the least. Of course, I could have found out all these things for myself, and I eventually did, but I learned the hard way, and I know I'm not alone in my experience.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:29 PM

    Thanks so much for this, Chris. I agree that this is a vital subject for musicians, and only wish I'd had the benefit of it when I was training in London.
    I understand the skepticism of "the old guard" about the risks of commercialization at the expense of refining musical skill, yet the deafening silence with regard to these issues when I was at music school was unhelpful to say the least. I had to learn the hard way...!