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Defending Arts Entrepreneurship

As I interact more with arts entrepreneurship professionals, especially those in music (my home field), I am appalled at how often and consistently these professionals are asked to defend their discipline. What could be more important today than equipping our students with skills that will enable them to create a new musical landscape, one that is infused with youthful energy and vitality? Perhaps the most intractable and, in my opinion, ridiculous argument against the inclusion of entrepreneurship education in the college curriculum comes … [Read more...]

The Arts and Social Capital

As the "economic rationale" for supporting and funding the arts has fallen into disuse, another has risen, and one of much more substance, that of "building social capital." The "economic rationale" was bound to have a short life, as it never factored in opportunity costs, e.g. what if a sports arena had been built downtown instead of a performing arts center, wouldn't the restaurants, hotel and parking income and taxes have been as great, if not greater? The arts sector voices repeatedly proclaimed that the arts stimulate tourism and … [Read more...]

The Language of Music Advocacy

In a recent class I was teaching on music entrepreneurship, during an idea/feedback section of the class, I became mystified at many students' inability to express in words the importance of music. Their ideas were wonderful: full of social impact, caring and dedication, but their ability to communicate effectively about the "why" of them was severely limited. I concede that this is no easy task. Those to whom we speak come from varied backgrounds, and while one set of well-constructed remarks may touch one segment of the group, it may also … [Read more...]

Idea Formation, Entrepreneur or Career Exploration

Dear Taylor, Last Monday, at the end of the class on entrepreneurship you asked a difficult question, how do I develop ideas? I have thought long and hard about this and have come up with suggestions for you - and others. And after I developed these suggestions, I realized that they can work whether you are seeking to develop a new idea (venture) or a new path for your career. Of course these could be the same thing!   So here goes: 1. Zero in on your passion. Spend some time on this. What do you truly love about what you are … [Read more...]

Music School Curriculum

Two recent experiences have triggered my thinking in regard to one of the central questions facing higher education music institutions today: how to revise the curriculum, so that students are prepared to survive and thrive in the new and future world of music.   Both experiences were encouraging as these individuals, both in leadership positions, understand and accept the fact that things have changed -- dramatically, and understand that these changes have not occurred overnight, but have been in the making for decades.  These … [Read more...]

Arts Leadership — Measuring Impact

In my most recent post I commented on the difference (s) between leadership and entrepreneurship.  While I didn't state it explicitly, I implied that leadership sits on a platform of altruism, while entrepreneurship may, or may not.  Social entrepreneurism appears altruistic, but what can be called commercial altruism may not. I've become increasingly concerned, as programs in arts leadership have burgeoned, that the activities undertaken and the curriculum taught is not consistently focused on altruistic outcomes.  … [Read more...]

Leadership, Entrepreneurship, What’s the Difference?

I'm often asked the question, so what's the difference between leadership and entrepreneurship?   On face value, a pretty simple question to answer, but when put in the arts world and higher education contexts, pretty complex. Leadership implies taking action that positively enhances the arts, which entrepreneurship involves the creation of an enterprise or venture.  That's the simple answer (from my viewpoint).  Where it gets more interesting is when it is spun into various contexts. Within the past several years, as the … [Read more...]

Enabling Arts Entrepreneurs

I recently gave a talk at the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park.  My topic focused on those skills that orchestral musicians will need (now need!) in order to succeed and thrive in the future.  I am sure this list of skills would not be a surprise to readers.  What impressed me is just how intelligent and dedicated these young people were.  And building on my experience in teaching arts entrepreneurship at Drexel, where I found much the same intelligence and motivation, I am now … [Read more...]

Impressive Conservatory Program (s)

I recently returned from a trip in the Netherlands, where I had been invited to experience and comment on programs and research being conducted in a Dutch Lectorate (research group) within the Prince Claus Conservatoire in the Hanze University in Groningen.  The leader of the lectorate, Rineke Smilde, is a long-time friend and colleague.  I came away deeply impressed by a number of factors.  One, the professors from Hanze demonstrated incredible commitment to their own learning and the learning of their students.  Two, the … [Read more...]

Arts Entrepreneurship Class — Final Words

Last night was the last Arts Entrepreneurship class.  Student projects were nothing short of amazing.  The amount of hard work (hours in), plus creativity and demonstration of already-acquired skills and knowledge was impressive.  This experience once again reinforces what we have known in education for a century: that students working on projects of interest will greatly exceed expectations.  The larger question, and one worthy of addressing here is, does the teaching of arts entrepreneurship positively change the thinking … [Read more...]

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