Prelude: Music Entrepreneurship in Perspective and Remembrances of CMS’s 2010 Summit

November 5, 2023

Prelude: Music Entrepreneurship in Perspective and Remembrances of CMS’s 2010 Summit

Welcome to this special edition of Forum featuring essays revisiting the College Music Society’s (CMS) 2010 Summit entitled Music Entrepreneurship Education: Catching the Second Wave. This event took place at the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University on January 15–17, 2010,1The dates are listed incorrectly as January 16–17 on the title page of the Summit program. establishing a model that CMS would continue in the ensuing years to address critical issues in higher music education, such as community engagement, citizen-artistry, and 21st century music school design.2For more details on the eight CMS summits that have occurred since 2010, visit https://www.music.org/ index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2462&Itemid=2568 The summit model was the brainchild of several past presidents of CMS, including Tayloe Harding (who contributed an essay to this special edition), Cynthia Crump Taggart, Kathleen J. Lamkin, and Robert Weirich. CMS’s 2009–2010 Committee on Career Development and Entrepreneurship served as the steering committee for the 2010 summit. Members included Gary Beckman, Nathaniel Zeisler, Diane Roscetti, Douglas T. Owens, and Kevin Woelfel. (Both Beckman and Zeisler also contributed essays to this special edition, as did keynote speaker Douglas Dempster.) The Summit ran concurrently with the annual meeting of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), affording a unique opportunity for the worlds of the music school and the business school to come together on the topic of entrepreneurship. In his welcome message within the Summit program, Beckman noted that the aim of this convening was to enable the two worlds “to share information, best practices, disciplinary idiosyncrasies, and the challenges of entrepreneurship education in higher education” (College Music Society, 2010, p. 4). Continuing, Beckman asserted his hope that the summit would provide a rare opportunity for administrators, faculty, and students to collaboratively engage with one another on issues critical to the emerging field. To that end, the event comprised over 20 keynotes, plenary sessions, workshops, panels, and other presentations. An array of presenters offered rationales for infusing entrepreneurship training into higher music education, provided models for doing so, and addressed curricular, administrative, and logistical questions. The event culminated in a final afternoon session during which attendees crafted action plans they could apply in their home institutions or teaching contexts. Another outcome of the summit was a handbook authored by the steering committee (2010), a “how-to” manual of sorts intended to guide efforts to develop music entrepreneurship initiatives at colleges and universities.

So, why dedicate this edition of Forum to remembrances of the 2010 CMS Summit on Music Entrepreneurship Education? Well, first I feel I should disclose that entrepreneurship has occupied me as a scholar and educator for many years, punctuated by my service as President of the Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education (SAEE) from 2016–2021. Thus, I am fascinated by entrepreneurship’s role in curricular thought and policy in the arts and was interested in documenting its foundations within CMS, the leading organization supporting collegiate music faculty and students.3To be sure, the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) also guides and supports collegiate music faculty, students, and administrators, and has maintained a sustained interest in entrepreneurship’s infusion into higher music education. For a comprehensive history of NASM’s connection to music entrepreneurship education, see Brown’s (2019) dissertation “Stewarding College Music Training in America: The Emergence of Music Entrepreneurship Education and the National Association of Schools of Music.” But apart from my own interest in its content, the 2010 Summit marked a turning point in the history of CMS: an embrace of a more targeted approach to scrutinizing consequential ideas, problems, and trends affecting the music professoriate via summits dedicated to singular topics. Of course, the Summit also reflected the continued emergence of entrepreneurship as a framework for preparing music students to navigate their professional reality post-graduation. The subtitle of the Summit—“Catching the Second Wave”—alluded to music entrepreneurship’s evolution from a nascent idea (viewed by many as little more than a buzzword) to a credible field of inquiry and practice deserving of more consideration as the new millennium entered its second decade. Today, with more than 100 music and arts entrepreneurship programs in place at U.S. colleges and universities, perhaps we are entering the next wave of entrepreneurship’s development as a field, if not a true discipline. And so, it feels like an ideal time to take stock of entrepreneurship’s history within CMS so we might be better informed as it continues to evolve.

If you are relatively new to the concept of entrepreneurship and how it applies to the arts, you may be reading this and wondering exactly how one should define entrepreneurship in creative and artistic contexts. In truth, there is no consensus definition, a reality that often creates confusion and the well-intentioned but nonetheless imprecise or misleading application of the term. Bridgstock (2013), citing Beckman (2007), identified three senses of the term entrepreneurship in the arts: new venture creation, career self-management, and the rather vague “being enterprising.” Taking a more process-oriented approach, Nytch (2018) summarized the entrepreneurial process as “identifying opportunities, developing products/services, and finding value for them in the marketplace” (p. 6).4Nytch’s explanation of the meaning of entrepreneurship is much more comprehensive than this paraphrased version would suggest. Consult the first three chapters of his 2018 book The Entrepreneurial Muse for a full explanation. Chang and Wyszomirski (2015) conducted an empirical review of the development of arts entrepreneurship’s definition in scholarly journals and found little consensus. However, based on data they collected, they did suggest their own general definition: “Arts entrepreneurship is a management process through which cultural workers seek to support their creativity and autonomy, advance their capacity for adaptability, and create artistic as well as economic and social value” (p. 25). Perhaps this is a good starting point. In my own exploration of the multitude of meanings ascribed to arts entrepreneurship, I have found that the most accurate cast it as (a) a process of learnable actions, not an innate disposition or philosophical stance, and ultimately (b) an effort to generate novel value—whether financial, social, or cultural/artistic. If there is one thing I would like to see emerge from this recollection of CMS’s full embrace of music entrepreneurship education via the 2010 Summit, it is a more precise collective sense of entrepreneurship as a process of generating novel value, usually through the creation of an innovative organization or initiative. Things like developing social media savvy, assembling a quality press kit, and learning business accounting fundamentals—while important and supportive of the entrepreneurial process—are not in fact entrepreneurship! So, I kindly and humbly encourage music and arts professionals to avoid the temptation to use the term entrepreneurship indiscriminately or attach it to every “sexy” new initiative. Save it for instances when it actually applies—that is, when new value is brought into the world.

My sincere appreciation to Tayloe Harding, Doug Dempster, Gary Beckman, and Nate Zeisler for contributing essays to this special edition of Forum. Please enjoy reading their thoughts, and consider joining the conversation yourself by contributing manuscripts (and commentary on our website) as we reflect on the purpose and importance of entrepreneurship education in collegiate music programs.

[1] The dates are listed incorrectly as January 16–17 on the title page of the Summit program.

[2] For more details on the eight CMS summits that have occurred since 2010, visit https://www.music.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2462&Itemid=2568

[3] To be sure, the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) also guides and supports collegiate music faculty, students, and administrators, and has maintained a sustained interest in entrepreneurship’s infusion into higher music education. For a comprehensive history of NASM’s connection to music entrepreneurship education, see Brown’s (2019) dissertation “Stewarding College Music Training in America: The Emergence of Music Entrepreneurship Education and the National Association of Schools of Music.”

[4] Nytch’s explanation of the meaning of entrepreneurship is much more comprehensive than this paraphrased version would suggest. Consult the first three chapters of his 2018 book The Entrepreneurial Muse for a full explanation.

References

Beckman, G. (2007). ‘Adventuring’ arts entrepreneurship curricula in higher education: An examination of present efforts, obstacles, and best practices. Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society 37(2): 87–112. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.937333

Bridgstock, R. (2013). Not a Dirty Word: Arts Entrepreneurship and Higher Education. Arts and humanities in higher education12(2-3), 122–137. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474022212465725

Brown, K. L. (2019). Stewarding college music training in America: The emergence of music entrepreneurship education and the National Association of Schools of Music (Publication No. 27546914). [Doctoral dissertation, North Carolina State University]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/stewarding-college-music-training-america/docview/2362990351/se-2

Chang, W. J., & Wyszomirski, M. (2015). What is arts entrepreneurship? Tracking the development of its definition in scholarly journals. Artivate4(2), 33–31. https://doi.org/10.1353/artv.2015.0010

CMS Summit Handbook on Music Entrepreneurship Education. (2010). https://www.music.org/pdf/career/entrepreneur/handbook.pdf

CMS Summit Program for Music Entrepreneurship Education: Catching the Second Wave. (2010). https://www.music.org/pdf/summit/2010programbook.pdf

Nytch, J. (2018). The entrepreneurial music: Inspiring your career in classical music. Oxford University Press.

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