September 9, 2012 at 10:34 PMThis week V.com member Michelle Jones made some great suggestions for how universities can help their music students adapt to a changing world, where symphony jobs may be more rare and less likely to offer a full employment or salary.
I thought it would be interesting to poll readers about which of those kinds of classes would be the most important to implement first.
Some of her ideas included classes in business that encompass marketing, law, accounting and more. I've tried to boil them down into possible subjects for a university class. Let's say a music school or conservatory agreed to start by offering one of the following classes. Which would you like to see the most?
I agree that business classes for musicians are very important. When I was an undergraduate at Northwestern University, the percussion teacher there (alas, what was his name?) offered a class in the business of music performance. I had the impression that this class was his idea and the university went along with it, not the other way around. He was a fountain of business advice to his students, encouraging them to start right away, marketing themselves. He encourage students to think about all kinds of ways to set themselves up to succeed not just as an artist, but also in the business in music. Having that class as part of the music school curriculum benefited not just the students who took it, but also students throughout the music school, who caught on to those ideas from their colleagues. People marketed their college recitals, talked up their performances, wrote out their resumes, debated the merits of non-profit status over dinner -- they already started practicing certain business techniques while in school. I'm most grateful for the fact that so many aspects of the music business were already familiar to me when I graduated from music school!
Corwin said computer classes. Maybe the idea of having to do web programming or data entry in your PJs to make ends meet does not appeal much to aspiring musicians, but the more you can do on your own in terms of developing a web site, programming an SQL database, etc., the less you have to pay others to do that kind of thing for you.
Yearly cost of a daily coffee at Starbucks: $700
Paying someone else to do your taxes: Priceless AND Cheap.
Snark aside, there is something to be said for outsourcing. Time vs. money, the second oldest story in the book.
I pay my CPA to keep up with the never-ending, ever-changing tax laws, let alone accuracy. If y'all want to spend your lives wading through IRS "literature", well, you do that.
"Real" businesses use professional accountants. Why shouldn't musicians?
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