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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

Assistant director says that clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, United States, Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid