Careers Outside the Academy

drapkin_michaelMichael Drapkin, Drapkin Institute for Music Entrepreneurship
Chairs, Committee on Careers Outside the Academy

This committee represents a diversity of backgrounds, including faculty, administration, leadership, industry and scholarship.

This year brought organization, goal setting, as well as a committee-sponsored presentation at the CMS 2013 National Conference in Cambridge as follows:

Career Opportunities in Music Nonprofit Organizations (Panel Discussion)

Abstract: 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
  • Areas for future scholarship and discussion within CMS 

This panel was moderated by CMS guest Karen Zorn, President, Longy School of Music and included the following panelists: Angela Beeching, Manhattan School of Music, Bernard J. Dobroski, Northwestern University, Lee Higgins, Boston University, and Michael W. Millar, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Plans for 2014

The upcoming year will be a busy one.  At the annual Committee Meeting, held at the CMS National Conference in Cambridge, the committee agreed to take as its goal the publication via CMS of the redesign of the Undergraduate Music Performance Curriculum by our committee based on the identification of career-related competencies.  Correspondingly, a committee proposal was submitted to review our committee findings at the CMS 2014 National Conference in St. Louis as follows:

Redesign of the Undergraduate Music Performance Curriculum (panel discussion)

This panel discussion presents and reviews the redesign of the undergraduate music performance curriculum by the Careers Outside the Academy committee of the College Music Society.

The currently adopted standards for undergraduate music performance curricula, many of which are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) have changed little over previous decades while there have been significant changes to the music world in general, and classical music in particular.

The current curriculum has been, among other things, heavily oriented around the career goal of obtaining full time employment in professional symphony orchestras.  As is well known, this arena is in crisis, and indeed the vast majority of professional orchestra jobs only offer part time or partial year employment.  Yet the supply of students graduating with undergraduate music performance degrees continues unabated, resulting in many unrealized careers as professional performers.  Students must be taught skills that will allow them to find other ways of expressing their skills and passion for music.

While there has been movement towards greater emphasis on career development and entrepreneurship in the academy, the basic curriculum remains essentially unchanged, resulting in a decided lack of career-related competencies.  This sparked the redesign and publication of a suggested revised curriculum through CMS by this committee, along with syllabi or descriptions of new courses that were added during this regimen.

Panel discussion will include the following topics:

  • What was the purpose behind this curricular redesign?
  • What was the process used to identify these missing competencies?
  • What are the competencies that were identified?
  • What changes were made to existing curricula to accommodate these changes?
  • How is this curriculum being distributed?
  • What are the expected outcomes from the adoption of this curriculum?
  • How does it address the future while preserving the past?

Specific panelists will be selected from our committee roster at a later date.

A second proposal for the CMS 2014 National Conference was submitted as well, which will include a majority of our committee members:

Ideas to Action: A 5-Stage Framework for Exploring Music Careers Outside of the Academy (Panel discussion)

Abstact: The CMS Committee on Careers Outside the Academy proposes a one hour presentation on an entrepreneurial thinking framework, examining the ways in which musicians can act as change agents in order to craft a career of means, meaning, and impact.

This presentation, involving seven committee members, will analyze the ways that musicians can think entrepreneurially when entering the marketplace and how the qualities of curiosity, creativity, collaboration, and tenacity uniquely position artists to thrive in the messy, fertile space of the entrepreneur.  This is divided into three sections:

I. First, an overview and framework will be presented

II. Next five components will be examined on each component’s impact on an artist’s pursuit of a career outside of the academy.  These include:

    1. Curiosity, Creativity, and Collaboration
    2. Critical Optimism: Mapping a More Promising Future
    3. Idea-Driven Storytelling
    4. Funding Priceless Ideas
    5. Ideas to Action

III. Finally, a model using the firm iCadenza will be presented, tying these five components together, examining how the relationship between music and passion for entrepreneurial endeavors now helps iCadenza serve emerging artists seeking to find their own unique position within the music profession.

Time will be allotted at the end of the presentation for questions and answers.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve CMS and our community!