Careers Outside the Academy

drapkin_michaeldobroski bernardMichael Drapkin, Drapkin Institute for Music Entrepreneurship and Bernard J. Dobroski, Northwestern University

Co-Chairs, Committee on Careers Outside the Academy

The CMS Committee on Careers Outside the Academy was appointed in the fall of 2010 by CMS President David Williams as a new initiative within the CMS Career Development Initiative. The Committee has guided the initiative during David’s tenure, and provided information and resources concerning professional music careers outside academia so that CMS members may more effectively mentor their students and professional colleagues.

Mission of the Committee on Careers Outside the Academy
The mission of the Committee on Careers Outside the Academy is to provide information and resources concerning music careers outside traditional academic fields.

2012 Activities
The Committee on Careers Outside the Academy organized a number of activities to help benefit the CMS membership interested in non-academic and non-traditional music careers. These included

  • A presentation at the 2012 CMA National Conference in San Diego on The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), organized by Committee Member Gerald Klickstein. SNAAP is an online survey, data management, and institutional improvement system designed to enhance the impact of arts-school education. SNAAP provides the first national data on how artists develop in the U.S., helps identify the factors needed to better connect arts training to artistic careers, and allows education institutions to look at the systemic factors that helped or hindered the career paths of alumni. In this session, SNAAP leaders summarized and interpreted findings from the 2010 and 2011 SNAAP surveys (close to 35,000 completed surveys from more than 200 institutions) Attendees learned about the career profiles of music graduates, the incomes of graduates and how much debt they carry, how alumni rate the career preparation they received in school, ways in which institutions might use the data to implement curricular enhancements, and more.
  • Working meeting: The CMS Careers Outside the Committee met during the CMS 2012 National Conference in San Diego to map out proposals for the CMS 2013 National Conference as well as other initiatives listed below.
  • As part of the Quick Starts in the Strategic Vision Plan, the Committee made contacts between CMS and Chamber Music America.

Proposed 2013 Activities

  • A survey of the CMS membership to learn aggregate information as to how our colleagues are handling advising issues as they meet with students who are encountering our difficult job market, as well as ascertaining if faculty are finding out more about their career centers, whether they have a departmental person specifically engaged in thinking about alternative careers, and whether their institutions have an arts administration curriculum.
  • Implementing a CMS bulletin board system within the CMS web infrastructure for up-to-date and near real time exchange of information among the CMS for issues and discussions about non-academic careers.
  • Updating the Resources on Music Entrepreneurship Education document on the CMS Website.
  • Proposal 1 to the 2013 CMS National Conference: “Career Opportunities in Music Nonprofit Organizations.” The nonprofit arts industry generates $1.6 billion (Americans for the Arts) in economic activity every year. Music nonprofits provide employment for large numbers of graduates of music programs in organizations including symphony orchestras, performing arts centers, opera and theater companies, arts councils and other advocacy groups, professional organizations, and education groups. This interactive panel discussion will investigate possibilities for music programs as well as their students and alumni in the following areas: Full- and part-time career opportunities in the field, Social Entrepreneurship, Setting career goals and objectives, Effective nonprofit course work in music academia, and Areas for future scholarship and discussion within CMS 
  • Proposal 2 to the 2013 CMS National Conference: “Stepping back from full-time to part-time: mental, emotional, and physical impacts on quality and personal satisfaction as a performer.” Many of us innocently set the lofty goal of seeking becoming a fulltime performer, and strive to attain that goal through private lessons, high school and college musical educations and practice, practice, practice. Even if that goal is attained, reasons may spring up that cause one to move from full time to part time performance. Health, family, relocation, economic changes and employers may all involuntarily cause one to transition to a life where full time performance is not possible. This panel discussion examines these issues, and looks at methods and strategies for maintaining quality of life and satisfaction as a performer, even if is or can no longer be the focus in one’s life. Issues discussed include: What causes a full time musician to transition to part time music? What are the emotional effects and impacts? How to avoid losing music altogether from one’s life. How to attain balance in life, with music remaining a positive and active role. Strategies for maintaining a professional edge in a life with intermittent performing, and the role of avocational music and education in the part time performer.