Music Entrepreneurship Education

cutler david 3David Cutler, University of South Carolina, Columbia
Chair, Committee on Entrepreneurship Education

The primary work of the Music Entrepreneurship Education committee during 2015 has been to imagine, organize, market, and execute a Summit focused on 21st Century Music School Design. The event will take place June 3-5, 2016, at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Far from a staid academic conference, this event features lively interrogation and conversation centered on a specific question each day:

  • WHY are we here (Friday)?
  • WHAT should we teach (Saturday)?
  • HOW do we make this change happen (Sunday)?

Keynote speaker Aaron Dworkin (Dean, University of Michigan) will address THE WORLD THAT WELCOMES OUR GRADUATES. The event then considers solutions music programs can take to best prepare students for today's realities. The point is not to arrive at a singular dogmatic formula, but rather to encourage each institution to define and design distinct approaches relevant to its mission.

48 BIG Ideas at a Fast Tempo—short TED-like talks—will consider 21st century VALUES music curricula may want to emphasize, while suggesting strategies for RE-IMAGINGING TRADITIONAL REQUIREMENTS. Participants will form interdisciplinary teams to design new 21st century: (1) BM performance, (2) BM education, and (3) BA music degrees. There will also be focus throughout on the process of change, examining vision and implementation approaches of progressive institutions that have already undergone significant evolution.

Summit director David Cutler (author, The Savvy Musician), “change expert” Elizabeth Hinckley (founder, DefCult), and an impressive roster of 90+ presenters representing the full range of disciplines and institution types will help shape the conversation. On this list are a number of leaders who have overseen major change initiatives and contributed to the national dialogue, including Shelton Berg (Miami), Robert Cutietta (Southern California), Tayloe Harding (South Carolina), Richard Kessler (Mannes), Mark McCoy (DePauw), David Myers (Minnesota), Mary Ellen Poole (UT Austin), Timothy Rice (UCLA), Ed Sarath (University of Michigan), and Brian Pertl (Lawrence).

With a number of activities addressing design thinking, participants will emerge with a concrete framework for catalyzing change within their home institutions.

In order to facilitate the most meaningful dialogue, we believe it essential that the full range of music school stakeholders play an active role. Therefore, the Summit is marketed to graduate students, faculty, and administrators from a variety of institution types representing the following specialties:

  1. Applied (all instruments and genres)
  2. Ensembles (chamber and large)
  3. Music education
  4. Music theory/composition (all genres)
  5. Musicology/ethnomusicology
  6. Music entrepreneurship/business
  7. Executives (chairs, directors, deans)
  8. Miscellaneous (all other areas)

Interest in this event is unprecedented.  Because of logistical and programmatic concerns, we capped enrollment at 220 and reached that number weeks before the stated early bird registration date of April 17. Participants include individuals from all 48 continental US states, several Canadian provinces, Europe, and Australia. This list contains a balance of private and public school employees from various institution sizes.

There has also been industry wide interest in the Summit. Three corporations approached us about getting involved—Yamaha, National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), and ArtistWorks. Each will sponsor a lunch.

In order to maximize impact, we are taking several steps so that activities from the Summit may impact the larger community. The following items will be placed on the CMS website.

  1. BIG Idea videos. Produced and archived videos of the 48 BIG Idea presentations.
  2. BIG Idea summaries. An e-book containing one-page summaries of each BIG Idea presentation.
  3. Degree summaries. The three ultimate degree summaries designed at the Summit, in addition to feedback from key respondents.
  4. Innovation by discipline guidelines. Specific, actionable tips from each discipline group on how individuals representing their specialty can play a pro-active role in helping advance institutional culture.
  5. Other videos. We will film all sessions presented to the entire community, and may opt to share some online.

This Summit represents an expansion of the conversation of the Music Entrepreneurship Education Committee. Rather than addressing issues specific to the important but narrow discipline of music entrepreneurship, we have instead taken the belief that music entrepreneurship can become a cultural value in many contemporary music schools, touching every part of curriculum and institutional identity. To that end, our committee includes members from a wide range of disciplines.

Working with CMS has been an incredibly rewarding experience. We have found this organization to be open, responsive, and supportive.

Under the guidance of past CMS president Patricia Campbell (2013-14), a task force presented Transforming Music Study from its Foundation: A Manfesto for Progressive Change in the Undergraduate Preparation of Music Majors. This document, proposing a set of solutions for music schools moving forward, has ignited much dialogue in our industry. We see the Summit, created with the support of CMS president Betty Anne Younker (2015-16), to be the next logical step. While an event like this Summit is unlikely to be duplicated in the coming years, we hope that CMS will continue to focus on music school evolution.