I’m working on the course outline for my upcoming course, Entrepreneurship in Music and the Arts, at Ithaca College. I have 31 students enrolled – the limit according to fire laws for the assigned classroom. I’ve never taught entrepreneurship to this large a class, in such a cramped space, so I have been focused more on issues of classroom management than course content. And, although the course was made available to students across the campus, it filled up entirely with music students. This may make matters easier at first, and more challenging later on.
I plan to blog before and after each class, reporting and critiquing their and my work. I may blog several times before the first class. This will depend on information I receive from students as I correspond with them before the first class meeting. The class meets once weekly for 2 hours, a challenge in itself.
Since I will be working entirely with music students, my experience with them tells me that I will need to open their thinking about music in the current world before I can get them to brainstorming, or imagining new and innovative ways of thinking and/or doing things. After a conventional class introduction, I plan to move them immediately into 6 working groups. I will give 3 problems, so that 2 groups each will work on the same problem. Since these music students come from all walks of their professions, I will develop wide-ranging problems. It almost doesn’t matter what the problems are. The goal is to get students thinking about challenges and solutions.
Here are some possibilities:
Why are so many American orchestras experiencing financial difficulties? What are some solutions to the reasons you define?
Why are audiences for new music so small? What are some strategies to increase their size?
When in financial stress, why do school districts look to the music (and visual arts) budgets for cutting and/or elimination? What are some strategies for changing this?
We will reassemble, then share, compare and discuss. I will then give them the assignment to identify the most knotty problem that faces their particular area (and assumed passion) in music. They will then asked to perform the same exercise alone, or with a small group of friends, and email me with their thinking/findings.