What They Didn’t Teach Me in My Undergraduate Degree: An Exploratory Study of Graduate Student Musicians’ Expressed Opinions of Career Development Opportunities

  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18177/sym.2015.55.sr.10889
  • PDF: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26574402

Abstract

The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate graduate students’ expressed opinions of career development opportunities in their prior undergraduate music degrees. Respondents (N = 114) were a national sample of graduate student musicians drawn from the membership of a multidisciplinary professional music organization who completed a researcher-designed survey instrument. Results suggested that entrepreneurship coursework was absent from a majority of respondents’ undergraduate curricula and that career advisement varied across institutions. Respondents also reported a lack of undergraduate preparation among a variety of professional skill areas, even though they also rated many of these skill areas to be important for career success. Significant differences observed between the “undergraduate preparation” and “importance for success” ratings among 19 out of 24 professional skill areas suggest that these musicians perceived their undergraduate education to inadequately prepare them for certain skills needed for professional success. Implications for tertiary music programs are discussed.

Over the last few centuries, music education at the university and conservatory level has operated in a fashion deeply rooted within classical Western European traditions. As technology and the economy have developed, however, it is possible that these antiquated systems may no longer fit the profiles of 21st-century musicians who seek a variety of professional careers, including such careers as arts administrators, music publishers, arrangers, recording artists, and music librarians, among others. To provide a more relevant undergraduate education for all music students and to equip them with the necessary professional skills for successful music careers, music institutions might consider ways to adapt to changing career profiles by offering applicable coursework in entrepreneurship, career education, and music business.

The Role of Higher Education

Because today’s performing musicians are more frequently engaged in non-performance activity, the role of tertiary music education must be examined regarding how musicians are trained for the growing demands of modern society (Beckman, 2007; Bennett, 2007, 2008, 2009; Burland & Pitts, 2007; Poklemba, 1995; Scalfari, 1999; Tolley, 2008). Though students seek higher education for a variety reasons (e.g., personal enrichment, cultivation of aesthetic judgment, and the pursuit of knowledge), career preparation is increasingly important in this rapidly-changing field (Bartleet et al, 2012; Beckman, 2005; Bennett, 2008; Bennett, 2009; Marcone, 1984). Currently, many music schools and departments prioritize performance skills in their curriculum; however, the majority of professional musicians cite teaching as their primary activity—not performing (Bennett, 2007; Holloway, 1984). If teaching represents the majority of a musician’s income, then institutions of higher education might reflect this trend by including content related to pedagogy, studio development, and developmental psychology across coursework for all music students (Bennett 2007, 2008, 2009; Rogers, 1988).

Overall, many degree programs neglect to provide students with certain professional skills they need in their degree coursework, such as personal finance practices, grant writing, community engagement, pedagogy, networking skills, and music technology. This could be due to a number of reasons, including already time-consuming degree requirements or lack of faculty resources. As a result, graduating music students are often incapable of managing their careers, unaware of their career possibilities, and unable to market their skill set effectively (Beeching, 2010; Bennett, 2008; Chen, 1997; Jay & Smith, 1974; Myers, 2006).

As stated in the National Association of Schools of Music Handbook (NASM, 2013), the purpose of undergraduate music degree programs is for enrolled students to “develop the knowledge, skills, concepts, and sensitivities essential to the professional life of the musician” (p. 97). Furthermore, NASM recommends that students be provided with the opportunity to “gain a basic understanding of the nature of professional work, … develop teaching skills, … [and] explore multidisciplinary issues that include music” (p. 100). Although these goals are somewhat flexible and offer room for interpretation, they suggest that music curricula and degree programs could include preparation opportunities for undergraduates that extend beyond the traditional music core coursework. Only when referencing graduate programs in music (cf. “Graduate Programs in Music: Preparation for the Professions,” p. 124) do the topics of career development and entrepreneurial techniques appear explicitly, however. It is noteworthy that these statements are simply encouragements and recommendations for music degree programs made by NASM, not requirements.

Although entrepreneurship coursework is one way in which music institutions achieve these NASM recommendations, other means of providing career development opportunities for students do exist. Because of an already demanding music curriculum and the lack of qualified faculty and financial resources, music institutions often turn to student service organizations or specialized faculty outside the music realm to provide relevant workshops, give guest lectures, or organize service learning opportunities. Because these opportunities are often extracurricular and localized, they might not be as relevant to music students as compared to integrated coursework within the curriculum (Beckman, 2007; Poklemba, 1995).

The Importance of Experiential Learning

Although the inclusion of professional skills for career success in undergraduate coursework is beneficial for graduating college musicians in preparation for their future careers, these skills cannot be acquired by simply sitting in a classroom. A key component of successful entrepreneurial education is experiential learning, which can include educational partnerships, community involvement activities, job shadowing, internships, fellowships, and independent projects (Beckman, 2005, 2007; Brown, 2007; Myers, 2006; Rolston & Herrera, 2000; Tolley, 2008). Musicians must make their product—such as performance, teaching, composing, conducting, and repair services—relevant, local, and immediate to different musical constituencies within the community, because community engagement is a vital component to the livelihood of the music industry (Beckman, 2005; Beeching, 2010; Bennett, 2007; Myers, 2006). Without the involvement of the community, modern perspectives of musical activity would not exist, for the community is both the audience and consumer of musical products. Successful curricular models, such as the New England Conservatory’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship Program (Entrepreneurial Musicianship, n.d.) and Arizona State University’s Arts Entrepreneurship Undergraduate Certificate (Certificates: Arts Entrepreneurship, n.d.), among others, demonstrate that some institutions have recognized the importance of experiential learning through the inclusion of internships, fellowships, and performance projects. When music institutions provide students with the opportunity to engage with the community, they make their students’ learning more relevant, allowing them to gain practical experience and build relationships that could lead to future career opportunities (Beckman, 2007; Beeching, 2010; Bennett, 2007, 2008; Brown, 2007; Myers, 2006).

The Importance of Advising

To fully understand the nature of the profession, aspiring musicians need the support of mentors, arts organizations, future employers, and administrators to foster confidence, interpersonal skills, and musical identity (Beeching, 2010; Creech et al., 2008). Of utmost importance within this support system is the relationship between student, adviser, and primary instructor. For students, mentors are the most significant resource for career advice and experiential connections (Bennett, 2009; Branscome, 2010). Mentors who fail to advise their students effectively do them a great disservice, especially when it comes to realities of employment following an earned degree. By providing better guidance at the beginning of a student’s education, teachers are able to make clear the goals of the program, the realities of the field upon graduation, and the possibilities of a career as a 21st-century musician (Beeching, 2010; Bennett, 2007, 2008, 2009; Branscome, 2013; Rogers, 1988).

The Entrepreneurial Musician

Because of the multifaceted nature of the word entrepreneur, a clarification on its use in the context of music in higher education is necessary. Today, “entrepreneur” can extend beyond the boundaries of the traditional business school; as a result, more professionals are increasingly adopting this term in the humanities, education, art, and music (Beckman, 2005; Hanson, 2014; Ricker, 2011). Being an entrepreneur is, as Hanson describes, a “way of living” (p. 11), and it can be characterized as someone who takes risks, remains autonomous, and is an agent of progress. Ricker (2011) similarly describes an entrepreneur as “a person who recognizes an opportunity, envisions its possibilities, and creates an enterprise to take advantage of the situation, usually with considerable initiative and risk” (p. 19). He adds that entrepreneurial individuals also possess certain beliefs about themselves, a sense of commitment, a positive attitude, and great desire, drive, and energy (Ricker, 2011). For music students to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and succeed in the modern job market, these students need an expanded curriculum that includes the teaching of musical and related nonmusical skills, both of which could be integrated into music coursework and are embodied by a well-rounded music entrepreneur.

Skills for Successful Music Careers

Currently, professional musicians of all types—performers, educators, composers, sound engineers, and arts administrators—are dependent on a variety of skills not seen in many undergraduate music degree programs, including those associated with arts management, business, finance, copyright, marketing, communication, and others. These are skills that allow musicians to successfully adapt to the ever-changing nature of the market (Bartleet et al., 2012; Bennett, 2008; Millar, 2009/2010). These nonmusical skills—often described as business, interpersonal, or entrepreneurial skills—are revealed not only to be just as important as a high level of musical proficiency, but also allow musicians to advocate for their art and create new audiences within the community (Bennett, 2008; Branscome, 2010; Brown, 2007; Ricker, 2011; Teachout, 1997).

With the current advances in technology, institutions should encourage the collaboration among various disciplines, which could help prepare musicians to be conversant in recording and notation software, website development, concert streaming, social media networking, educational software, and database management (Beeching, 2010; Millar, 2009/2010). Some employers have begun to pass over specialized musicians in favor of more diversified musicians who are willing to embrace technological advances and are fluent in many musical styles (Bennett, 2008; Marcone, 1984). In the same vein, musicians are increasingly expected to be proficient and self-sufficient in many nonmusical areas, such as grant writing, arts advocacy, audience development, community education, self-directed research, financial management, recording demos, concert programming, administration, film, and technology (Beeching, 2010; Bennett, 2009).

Aims of the Study

To prepare music students for the professional world, music instructors in higher education need to focus on variety and versatility by including complementary courses in music entrepreneurship within their curricula in addition to other career preparation opportunities such as service learning and internships. Although multiple perspectives exist as to how higher music education should present career preparation opportunities, including the question of whether music institutions are even suited for the task (as opposed to business programs), we have decided to examine the topic by exploring the specific influence of entrepreneurship coursework and advisory services within music programs. As far as can be determined, no studies have explored the perceptions of graduate student musicians on these issues, the purpose of this study was to examine these students’ opinions of and experiences with career development opportunities, that is entrepreneurship coursework and career advising services), in undergraduate music degrees to assess the state of career preparedness from these musicians’ perspectives. In this context, the term entrepreneurship is used in a global sense to describe a variety of courses that address professional skills for successful music careers beyond the scope of traditional music theory and music history coursework, such as courses in music business, career development, and music technology. The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) What is the profile of career preparation opportunities within music degrees among accredited institutions of higher education in the United States? (2) How do graduate students rate career services and advising provided by their undergraduate institution? (3) How do graduate students rate their undergraduate preparation in a number of professional skill areas, such as grant writing, personal finance, and community engagement? (4) How do graduate students rate the importance of the same professional skill areas for success in the music marketplace? (5) Are there significant differences between graduate students’ perceived undergraduate preparation and their perceived level of importance for success among the professional skill areas?

Method

Instrumentation

For this study, we designed a web-based questionnaire using Qualtrics to gather data describing graduate student musicians’ opinions of career development opportunities and their experiences with these opportunities in their prior undergraduate education. The construction of the survey instrument was informed by the literature review for the present study (e.g., Beeching, 2010; Branscome, 2010; Ricker, 2011), and it was refined following a trial of the instrument with 22 non-participant graduate student musicians. Following the trial phase, we made only small changes to the instrument, including minor edits to the wording of certain items to improve clarity and a reordering of the survey items.

The survey instrument, composed of five sections, opened with a brief demographic section collecting data describing certain characteristics of the respondents, including age, gender, primary performing area, and state of residence. The second section included a variety of short items, which presented respondents with questions regarding their prior undergraduate coursework and advising satisfaction, such as “Were one or more entrepreneurship course(s) offered for music students at your undergraduate institution?” and “How satisfied are you with the level of career advising you received in your undergraduate degree(s)?” The items in this section included yes/no dichotomous response options and 6-point rating scales.

On the third section, respondents were asked “How did your undergraduate institution prepare you in the following areas?” In response to this question, respondents rated how well their undergraduate institution prepared them in 24 professional skill areas, such as personal finance, proficiency on major instrument or voice, grant writing, and professional networking, on rating scales anchored by 1 (not at all well) and 6 (very well). On the fourth section, respondents were asked, “In your primary area of study, how important are the following skills/areas for success in today’s job market?” Respondents rated the same 24 skills on rating scales anchored by 1 (not at all important) and 6 (very important). The final section of the survey included the following open-ended item: “Please share your thoughts regarding entrepreneurship coursework in undergraduate music programs.”

Respondents and Procedure

We sought to target a diverse population of graduate student musicians from around the United States for the purposes of this study. To obtain this type of national sample, we chose to sample from the student membership of the College Music Society (CMS), a professional music organization with membership representing a variety of music specialties, such as music performance, music education, music theory, ethnomusicology, and music therapy. Anecdotal evidence and prior research (Rojas & Springer, in press) indicate that the vast majority of student members of CMS are graduate students and that the membership of this association includes a variety of music specialties. For these reasons, we regarded these student members as ideal participants in this project.

After obtaining exemption from institutional oversight and approval from the CMS survey committee, we contacted all 1,401 student members of CMS with an initial recruitment email and two follow-up emails, which included a web link to complete the survey instrument. We received responses from 114 individuals, which is an 8.14% response rate. The sample reported a mean age of 32.81 years (SD = 7.53), which included an age range of 21 to 58, and there were more female respondents (56.5%) than male respondents (43.5%). In a national sense, respondents represented notable geographic diversity, as 34 states were included in the sample, which included the following regions (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.): West (17.8%), Midwest (25.2%), Northeast (20.6%), and South (36.4%).

The vast majority of respondents (94.5%) were pursuing a doctoral degree at the time of completing the survey, and 5.6% were completing a master’s degree. Among the sample, there were more instrumentalists (82.2%) than vocalists (17.8%), and as expected, respondents reported diversity in their major areas of study. Music performance was the most prevalent major area of study among the respondents (43.5%), although majors in music education (32.4%), music composition (7.4%), general music (6.5%), jazz studies (3.7%), music history/musicology (1.9%), conducting (.9%), music therapy (.9%), sacred music (.9%), music technology (.9%), and music theory (.9%) were represented in the sample as well.

Preliminary Analyses

Before conducting primary analyses, we conducted preliminary analyses to evaluate the psychometric properties of the two 24-item scales used for inferential data analyses—the “undergraduate preparation” scale and the “importance to career success” scale. In addition, we sought to evaluate whether these data met the assumptions of parametric analyses. Upon an examination of histograms and stem-and-leaf plots, we determined that these data were not normally distributed. Results of a series of Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests supported this observation, as all preparation and importance ratings significantly deviated from the normal distribution (p < .01). For this reason, we employed nonparametric statistical procedures for inferential analyses, and we used medians and interquartile ranges (IQRs) as descriptive measures of central tendency and variability, respectively. Because medians and IQRs were observed to be whole numbers, means and standard deviations were also included as an additional descriptive measure for better interpretation.

Split-half reliability coefficients using the Spearman-Brown prophecy formula indicated that both of the 24-item scales demonstrated strong internal consistency (rs = .90 for the undergraduate preparation scale and rs = .91 for importance to career success scale). In addition, because the sample included an unequal representation of master’s and doctoral students, we conducted preliminary analyses to determine whether significant differences existed between these two groups. A series of Mann-Whitney tests were conducted, and no significant differences were observed for any item (p > .05) between master’s and doctoral students, so all respondents were included in the data set used in the primary analyses.

Results

Profile of Entrepreneurial Coursework and Experiential Learning Opportunities

The first two research questions were focused on describing respondents’ experiences with entrepreneurship coursework and experiential learning in their prior undergraduate degree. The majority of survey respondents (67.6%) reported that entrepreneurship coursework was not offered as part of their undergraduate music curriculum. Furthermore, 20.4% of respondents answered “I don’t know,” while the remaining 12.0% of respondents noted that they were offered these entrepreneurship courses. When entrepreneurship coursework was offered, 41.7% of classes were required, 41.7% were elective, and a remaining 16.7% of coursework contained both required and elective course options. Music departments administered 75.0% of this coursework, while business programs (8.3%), music departments in conjunction with business programs (8.3%), and other sources (8.3%) administered the remaining. When asked to describe the entrepreneurship coursework, respondents listed a variety of classes, including courses related to career development, contemporary media, music technology, chamber musician development, and teaching internships.

Additionally, we asked respondents whether service learning, internships, and on-the-job training were required components of their undergraduate music curriculum. Almost three quarters of respondents (72.2%) did not have a required service learning component in their undergraduate degree. Similarly, over half of the respondents (53.7%) were not required to complete an internship or on-the-job training.

Career Services and Advising Satisfaction

Following the first section, respondents answered questions describing general and music-specific career services offered at their undergraduate institutions. Over half of the respondents (53.3%) were offered general career services, while almost one quarter of respondents (23.4%) did not know what services were offered at their undergraduate institution. At the same time, the majority of respondents (64.8%) were not provided with music-specific career services or a music liaison. Again, approximately one quarter of respondents (24.1%) did not know whether music career services were offered at their undergraduate institution.

When asked to rate their satisfaction of the quality of their undergraduate advising, respondents reported various levels of satisfaction on a scale anchored by 1 (very dissatisfied) and 6 (very satisfied). The mean rating for all responses was 3.47 (SD = 1.72), which suggests a mildly positive satisfaction about the quality of respondents’ undergraduate advising.

Preparation for and Importance of Various Skill Areas

On this section of the survey instrument, respondents rated how well their undergraduate music degree programs prepared them in 24 professional skill areas (e.g., grant writing and professional networking) on a scale anchored by 1 (not at all well) and 6 (very well). Descriptive statistics of these preparation ratings are provided in Table 1. The skill areas with the highest observed mean ratings for undergraduate preparation were notation and software proficiency (M = 4.90, SD = 1.22), proficiency on instrument or voice (M = 4.85, SD = 1.07), and composing/arranging (M = 3.85, SD = 1.53). In contrast, respondents reported to be the least prepared in the areas of personal finance (M = 1.71, SD = 1.05), publishing (M = 1.65, SD = 1.10), and arts administration duties (M = 1.55, SD = 1.10).

CareerTable1USE

Then, respondents rated how important they felt about the same 24 professional skill areas on their career success on a rating scale anchored by 1 (not at all important) and 6 (very important). As noted in Table 1, respondents reported that the most important skills for career success were professional networking (M = 5.37, SD = 1.09), teaching in the K-12 classroom (M = 5.21, SD = 1.26), and personal marketing skills (M = 5.06, SD = 1.30). Conversely, the least important skills, as deemed by respondents, were teaching in the private studio (M = 3.27, SD = 1.72), backstage management (M = 2.66, SD = 1.62), and grant writing (M = 2.41, SD = 1.49).

The final research question focused on the observed differences between respondents’ preparation and importance ratings, and as noted above, nonparametric statistical procedures were used since these data did not meet the assumptions of parametric analyses. We conducted a Wilcoxon signed-rank test on all pairs of importance and preparation ratings to determine whether the observed differences were statistically significant. Of the 24 pairings, 19 pairings were statistically significant (p < .05). The significant differences are noted in Table 1, and observed differences between respondents’ preparation and importance ratings are displayed in Figure 1.

CareerFigure1USE

Respondents provided qualitative data in response to an open-ended item at the end of the survey (“Please share your thoughts regarding entrepreneurship coursework in undergraduate music programs.”). Fifty-eight individuals responded to this question, and two common themes were observed. First, some respondents described the need for a greater focus on career preparation in undergraduate music programs due to the changing nature of music careers. Another theme suggested that respondents believed these types of career development courses and opportunities are needed in undergraduate degree programs to allow students to become more competitive by broadening their skill sets.

Discussion

Summary and Conclusions

The purpose of this study was to examine graduate student musicians’ opinions of and experiences with career development opportunities in undergraduate music degree programs. Results indicated that the majority of the sample had no experience with entrepreneurship coursework as part of their undergraduate degrees. When this coursework was offered to students, it was usually not required, suggesting many institutions feel this coursework is beneficial for music students but are simultaneously unable to require such courses due to a number of possible issues, which could include over-filled degree programs or lack of faculty resources. Also, it is clear from respondents’ descriptions of the classes that this type of curriculum is not standardized across the nation—a topic beyond the bounds of this study.

Most respondents reported having no degree requirement in terms of service learning, internships, or on-the-job training. The lack of such opportunities could be due to a number of factors, such as already time-consuming degree requirements, overextended resources within the institution, or desire for qualified faculty and mentors. Many sources, however, stress the significance of experiential learning, not only because of the connections and networking opportunities it provides for students, but also because of the hands-on, applicable experience valued by employers and clients in the job market (Beckman, 2007; Beeching, 2010; Bennett, 2007, 2008; Brown, 2007; Myers, 2006; Rolston & Herrera, 2000; Tolley, 2008).

Although the importance of career advising and assistance of mentors has been demonstrated in prior research (Beeching, 2010; Bennett, 2007, 2008, 2009; Branscome, 2010, 2013; Creech et al., 2008; Entrepreneurial Musicianship, n.d.; Rogers, 1988), the seeming lack of career services provided to music students in the present study speaks otherwise. It is perhaps more disheartening that nearly one-fourth of respondents were unaware of the services at their disposal, possibly signaling miscommunication between music institutions and their student bodies. Because well over half of the respondents were not provided with music-specific career services, it is not surprising that some students claim to be unprepared to meet the demands of the music job market.

Consistent with prior observations, respondents reported a lack of preparation from their undergraduate degree in many professional skill areas (Bennett, 2008; Chen, 1997; Jay & Smith, 1974; Millar, 2009/2010), yet they rated many of these skills to be very important to success in the music job market (Bartleet et al., 2012; Beeching, 2010; Myers, 2006; Ricker, 2011). For example, 22 of the 24 professional skill areas had mean ratings above 3.00 (on the 6-point scale) for importance to success, suggesting that respondents perceived nearly all areas to be more important than not to success as a musician. In spite of this trend, respondents rated only 11 of the 24 skill areas above or equal to 3.00 for undergraduate preparation, which are less than half of the areas assessed. As shown in Table 1, observed differences between the preparation and importance ratings of 19 out of the 24 skill areas were found to be statistically significant (p < .05). This finding suggests that respondents perceive many of these skills to be important for career success but that these skills were not well addressed in their undergraduate preparation. It seems that these respondents believe that they need to be not only proficient on their major instrument or voice, but also versatile in a variety of musical and nonmusical skill areas, which is consistent with prior research (Bartleet et al., 2012; Bennett, 2008; Branscome, 2010; Brown, 2007; Creech et al., 2008; Marcone, 1984; Millar, 2009/2010; Ricker, 2011; Rogers, 1988; Teachout, 1997).

In response to the open-ended question at the conclusion of the survey instrument, respondents wrote favorable responses supporting the use of entrepreneurship coursework in undergraduate music degree programs. Some respondents felt entrepreneurship coursework was needed to address the changing nature of music careers. One respondent stated, “[Entrepreneurship courses] will provide future musicians with the necessary perspective of what it requires to be a musician.” Others addressed how entrepreneurship courses are needed for students to develop a broader skill set in order to become more competitive in the job market. One respondent summarized:

Too much emphasis is on playing an instrument well, theory, and music history …. They are extremely important, but not more important than the ability to promote oneself, understand personal and business finances, how to navigate taxes for musicians or freelancers, how to utilize and promote recordings, run your own recital, start a recital series, manage a studio, etc.

Additionally, one respondent wrote, “I think courses should be in place that help students for the wide variety of experiences they will have in the professional world, and for the wide variety of skills they will need to have to survive in a rapidly changing music world.” Another respondent aptly concluded, “I think it’s time we prepare our students for the future, not the past.”

From the findings of this study, it seems that respondents felt unprepared in many skill areas they deemed to be important to their success as a professional musician. This implies that many undergraduate institutions are not adequately preparing music students in skills needed for what they consider to be requisite for success in the professional music market. The role of music education at the tertiary level must be reexamined regarding undergraduate curricula, including the possible value of entrepreneurship coursework, experiential learning, career advising, and integration of nonmusical skills focused on career success. It is vital that music educators and administrators construct music degree programs that reflect the changing nature of the professional music job market. Changing technologies and economic demands present musicians with different career prospects than that of even a few decades ago. To prepare music students for versatile careers, music institutions should offer well-rounded curricula—an ideal match for the entrepreneurial-minded musician (Beckman, 2005; Ricker, 2011).

Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research

Because the present investigation reports the results of a pilot study, these results should be considered with certain limitations in mind. First, the sampling frame was comprised of a national sample of graduate student musicians who were members of the College Music Society. It should be noted that the majority of respondents (95.5%) were pursuing a doctoral degree at the time of the study, and most were instrumentalists (82.2%), not vocalists. These proportions limit the validity of our findings, as they are likely not representative of the target population of graduate student musicians. As such, these results may not be directly transferable to other populations of musicians. Second, the low survey response rate certainly limits the results of this study due to the proportion of nonrespondents. We deemed this response rate acceptable for this pilot study due to the study’s exploratory nature and to the web-based survey data collection method, which has been reported to result in lower return rates than paper-based survey methods (Shih & Fan, 2009). In addition, because these data were collected from a relatively diverse national sample of graduate student musicians as intended, we considered the response rate to be acceptable only with the caveat that the applicability of these findings toward nonrespondents is unknown.

Despite these limitations, results of this study provide a cross-sectional perspective of a national sample of graduate students’ expressed opinions of music entrepreneurship coursework, and these results suggest other productive avenues for future research. For example, a descriptive study of undergraduate musicians’ perceptions of entrepreneurship coursework could provide another perspective, which could supplement the results of the present study. Additionally, an examination of course content among a sampling of institutions’ entrepreneurship coursework would offer practical implications for individuals who are interested in adding entrepreneurship coursework or modifying existing entrepreneurship coursework. Finally, an intrinsic case study of a purposefully-chosen entrepreneurship class could provide a deeper understanding of musicians’ experiences with and perceptions of this type of course. Results of this study suggest that graduate student musicians desire better preparation for career success, which can be improved with increased access to this type of coursework. For this reason, continued work in this line of research is needed and warranted.

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