I asked students to write to me, to tell me where they saw themselves professionally in 5 years. I asked this because I realized that most, if not all, were taking this class to learn “tools” to assist them in their move from student to music professions.
The responses received so far, around half, express quite a range of aspirations.
One student writes, “In preparing for writing this email, I did a lot of sitting by myself and thinking what I really want not only in this class but in life. I’m a second year master student who is quickly, and at times, seemingly uncontrollably, hurling towards a life outside of academia. This is a place I can honestly say I have never been before. It terrifies and excites me to think of the start to a new journey where the possibilities are both endless and challenging.”
Another writes, “I think I’d just like to absorb information about the business of music in order to help me decide what actions I might take to pursue a fulfilling career. There are so many potential options for a young composer in the 21st century, it’s hard to know which path to take when everything seems so interesting and vibrant. In the past 6 months alone I’ve wrestled with several ideas of what I “want to be doing”, including pursuing a doctoral degree to become a professor, moving to Los Angeles and doing USC’s film scoring program, moving to New York City and getting involved with the new music scene, moving back to my home state of Indiana and pursuing a freelance career. One item you mentioned in the last class, that you have to know what you want in order to move toward it, really struck me. Paradoxically, I feel as though I know too much of what I want, and might be in danger of over extending my efforts in too many directions.”
And one more writes, “I decided to take this class because there really aren’t any “safe” spaces to talk about the possible future of music and what changes we as musicians might have to face. Its scary to think that some of the skills we are struggling (in some cases to learn) might not be all we need to become successful in what we want to do as musicians. Thinking that we might in fact need additional skills or learn how to use our existing skills is a threatening topic to discuss with musicians who probably are already frightened about job security and their financial futures. This class seemed like it was going to be an intellectual environment in which to discuss some of the problems facing music (namely its funding) and possible solutions.”
These examples are given to demonstrate the range of thought, not to suggest anything in particular about a student or students in the class.
So, how do I plan for Class II? This IS a course in entrepreneurship.
I believe I need to both work with them on idea creation, a creativity activity in class + an assignment; and in addition, work them through ‘my’ Zone One, Personal Entrepreneurship.
All students have read or will have read “inGenius,” by Tina Seelig, so they are set up to delve into the creative domain. And, sensing from the students a comfort at exploration, we should be able to have some fun in class. I will not describe the activity I have in mind, as I don’t want to spoil it for them.
I feel a need to work through Zone One because, in part, because so much emphasis has been placed on it in the music field (excellent publications that seek to empower students to make their own careers, etc.), and as such, we need to move through this ‘zone.’ The other reason is that I want them to understand personal branding. It is a term and practice so misunderstood, and misused. They need grounding in this area.
I will continue the Q&A, even add some time for it, as one student said, this class can provide a safe space to discuss topics of concern for today’s music students.