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Music Schools in Transition, VI, ii

I am frequently asked if a school should add co-curricular programs, and if so, of what nature. To work toward an answer to this question, let me go through a process. To my way of thinking there are 4 factors that influence students' choices about admissions: faculty, core curriculum, price and location/facilities. Depending on each student's needs the priority order of these factors can change.   As you read this, remember that I'm only focusing on performance majors in the BMus. While faculty will likely always be the leading factor … [Read more...]

Music Schools in Transition, VI.i

There's a bit of a scramble on: to create co-curricular programs and to add value to the BMus by facilitating double (even triple) majors and double degrees.  Part of the reason for these developments results from the undergraduate degree in performance being so tightly packed, and with so many other needs have been identified, that the only way to address the situation is with these options. And the old "sell points" of faculty, location, price, core curriculum and alumni network are not enough anymore.  Competition demands that even more … [Read more...]

Music Schools in Transition, Part VI

Many music schools have added valuable co-curricular programs. A working definition of co-curricular would be that these programs offer non-required credit for courses, a certificate for participation and completion of a set of expectations, or experiences or courses that significantly pair with a curricular requirement (and designed as such).   The latest spate of these programs focus on entrepreneurship (a field that I have concentrated on heavily over the past 5 years). Programs of this type range from offering enhanced career … [Read more...]

Music Schools in Transition, Part V

The term, professional school, has always puzzled me. Taken literally, it must mean that the school prepares you for a defined profession. And when there were, more or less, stable professional opportunities for musicians, the idea of strong, focused professional training combined with substantial courses in the liberal arts made sense. Now, however, with music professions in flux, and in a process of redefinition, and creation, the curriculum in the B.M in Performance doesn't meet students' needs. The basic components of the current degree … [Read more...]

Music Schools in Transition, Part II

Below I've copied my post from last week, as then I was not connected to Facebook and Linkedin, but now am. There are short-term approaches to present challenges to music schools, and long-term, more radical ones.  For now I will concentrate on short-term ones, then later on the others.  Also to note: I will not address the question of supply and demand, as I lean toward a free market philosophy.  And in any case, if oversupply is the issue, what agency or body of individuals could decide which schools deserved to live or die? I believe … [Read more...]

Music Schools, in Transition…

Over the past several months I have received a number of calls - for assistance from higher ed music school leaders, to help them with their admissions issues and challenges.  The repeating theme centers around declining undergraduate admissions numbers, and among applicants, declining preparedness (or quality, as it is referred to inside). There are a number of factors at play: a demographic dip among graduating high school seniors (and juniors, etc. to come), declining numbers of students who choose to seriously study an instrument or … [Read more...]

Arts Entrepreneurship, A Story, Interlude

So, for those interested, here's an interlude to the story of my new site.  I'm presently at the University of Maryland where I lead the National Orchestral Institute, a gathering of the most exceptional young orchestral players, artist faculty and conductors.  This year's group has already demonstrated exceptional artistry, as well as intelligence and sophistication.  Interacting with them has reminded me of my past work in leadership development, and the contrast to my teaching arts entrepreneurship has startled me.  I will try to … [Read more...]

Arts Entrepreneurship, A Story, Part III

My students have a penchant for ignoring market feasibility for their projects.  From my observations and experience with them, I have found that they tend to fall in love with their ideas and when involved in market feasibility study, can ignore, or not hear the most potent data and feedback.  My challenge for my venture was to avoid this apparent emerging arts entrepreneur syndrome. My first calculation was to assess (again) what my intent was in creating and maintaining the site.  I found that all I really wanted to reap in terms of … [Read more...]

Arts Entrepreneurshp, A Story, Part II

So I made the decision to create a website and found that essential decisions had to be made: one in particular, that of 'just what the heck I was doing it for?' Defining this would then help me get into answers to the next line of questions. At the most global level my motivation is, as it has always been, to assist others (and myself) in the re-invigoration of the arts in society.  As I have written about in the past, the arts as they now exist need new thinking, need a shot of energy, need a renaissance.  And in my opinion, only … [Read more...]

Arts Entrepreneurship: A Story, Part I

Admittedly my experience as an arts entrepreneur has been in the not-for-profit sector.  As such I have relied on other people's money to make my entity a reality.  In fact, as I assessed the viability of each entity I did so based on an intelligent estimate of just what could be raised.  Yes, there was always an element of earned income, and this was estimated as well, but the mix of contributed and earned seemed to provide a certain flexibility.  In other words, if I missed my earned income target I could fill the gap (in most cases) with … [Read more...]

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