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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

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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...]

Entrepreneurship, Not-for-profit and Commercial


There seems to be a misunderstanding, an understandable one, that entrepreneurship automatically means the creation of for-profit, or commercial enterprises.  It can also mean the creation of not-for-profit ones.  The key question is, "are they sustainable?"  The reason for the misunderstanding is that so many not-for-profits are unsustainable.  They rely too heavily on contributed revenue.  My experience tells me that in each not-for-profit entity there is a discernible level of contributed revenue that can be estimated.  It generally comes … [Read more...]

Arts Entrepreneurship, Getting It All Wrong

It's been a long time since I've published a post here.  I've been writing a book on teaching arts entrepreneurship, and finding that completing it is like a dog chasing his tail:  just as I complete a section I come to understand the subject differently, so then need to revise.  My solution is the creation of a website (under construction) that will allow content to be shared, commented on and then edited (as appropriate).  Anyway, I had intended to stay quiet until the launch of this site, but I keep reading about schools of the arts adding … [Read more...]

More on Pedagogy in Arts Entrepreneurship

As I’ve been working on a pedagogical approach for emerging arts entrepreneurs, I’ve immersed myself in literature and resources on creative thinking and creative problem solving. What keeps striking me is the stark difference between creativity as applied in the development of complex ideas and the creative process in the making of art. The former lends itself, at least to a great degree, to techniques, processes and formulae, while the making of art does not. One is rational, the other un-rational. When emerging arts entrepreneurs are … [Read more...]

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