News / USA

New York Music Conservatory Plays Entrepreneurial Song

The 21st century musician must also be business savvy

A professional panel gives tips to students in the Center of Music Entrepreneurship program.
A professional panel gives tips to students in the Center of Music Entrepreneurship program.

Multimedia

Audio

Not long ago, most professional musicians lived in a world far removed from the nitty-gritty of business management, distribution and promotion. But today, social media, laptop production techniques and fragmented musical tastes have largely replaced the old relationship between musicians, their audiences and the marketplace, making entrepreneurial savvy more important than ever.

A leading U.S. conservatory now teaches students how to create successful careers in this brave new world.

In transition

Robert Sirota, president of New York’s prestigious Manhattan School of Music, takes a small break from his chores to play one of his own compositions. It’s one moment of traditional musical expression in a conservatory that recognizes that the music industry is in major transition.

Manhattan School of Music President Robert Sirota
Manhattan School of Music President Robert Sirota

"Everything we know about the business of music-making, and the industry of music - including recordings, the dissemination of published materials, concert venues, the way people get compensated  for performance and concerts - have changed radically in the last 20 years," he says, "and it became clear to me and other people of like mind to figure out how to develop young artistic leaders who are truly capable of making their way in this brave new world."

That’s why the Manhattan School of Music created the Center for Music Entrepreneurship, where students can learn about new media, fundraising, launching their own concert series, producing their own recordings, creating a press kit and other necessary skills.

Business sense

In a nearby lecture hall, students like pop composer Yuma Sung are learning about intellectual property rights law as part of the center’s "Setting the Stage" program.

"If someone tries to steal some of my stuff, and if I chose to go to court, I’d know how to deal with it properly," says Sung.

Sirota, who completed his own conservatory education in the 1970s, contrasts today’s hyper-wired world with what used to be.

"The status quo as we understood in the music world, was that there were a small number of major international symphony orchestras, there was a select coterie of very elite performers, and there was an established audience of concertgoers," he says. "There were in addition, several multi-national record companies. But what has happened is the way people listen to music has changed."

Indeed, most people now listen to music through digital music players, or through downloads, and CDs are mostly a thing of the past, which is why Sirota believes the old business model no longer makes sense.

Responsible advocates for art

Edward Klorman, who directs the center, says the 21st century musician is a multi-tasking entrepreneur. "Sometimes you’re performing. Sometimes you’re an administrator. Sometimes you’re the one marketing your own concert. If we’re passionate about the music we play, we need to be responsible advocates for our art."

Student Mari Hwang
Student Mari Hwang

Mari Hwang studies piano, harpsichord and conducting at the conservatory. She's learning marketing skills, which connect her to audiences in ways that have little to do with musical talent. "In a conservatory setting we always focus on performance, but a lot of times we [stay] in a practice room and we don’t really learn how to speak to your audience or how to interact with it or how to create new programs for people. And here we learn how, and it’s going to be very beneficial for my career."

Klorman knows that many young musicians are daunted by the expertise needed to sustain a successful career today. However, he says the current climate rewards personal initiative and imagination as never before. "And if we are creative about putting together new opportunities, we can carve out a whole new market for ourselves."

Non-traditional approach

He encourages classical musicians can play in nightclubs and other non-traditional venues.

Klorman himself initiated the highly successful "Classical Blue Jeans" series in upstate New York, where both audience members and musicians wear blue jeans, share a pre-concert barbecue and repair to a barn for the concert itself, where concertgoers are invited to offer instant feedback to the musicians.

Ed Klorman, director of the Center for Music Entrepreneurship, encourages students to try different venues to showcase their music. Here he performs at one of his Classical Blue Jeans Concerts.
Ed Klorman, director of the Center for Music Entrepreneurship, encourages students to try different venues to showcase their music. Here he performs at one of his Classical Blue Jeans Concerts.

Klorman says it’s all done in a spirit of inclusion and fun. "It makes for a much more dynamic music world for all of us, and it’s a much more exciting way to live your life as a musician."

The courses at the Center for Music Entrepreneurship are among the most popular at the Manhattan School of Music. In fact, demand has begun to exceed slots, and the program is expanding. This success has in turn inspired other conservatories to teach business skills for tomorrow’s musical careers.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More