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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...]

A Successful Music Entrepreneur

Please forgive the personal nature of this post, as the central character is my older daughter, but nonetheless she possesses exemplary qualities of a successful music (arts) entrepreneur. Check out the link to the article in the NY Times: ( … [Read more...]

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...]

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