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Tayloe Harding
Dean, School of Music: University of South Carolina
Posted 9.1.2006


What are the reasons to implement an Entrepreneurship program at your institution?

At both of the Music units where I have been executive in recent years, Valdosta (GA) State University (VSU) and the University of South Carolina (USC), these have been combinations of faculty-driven and administratively-supported efforts to do a better job at preparing students for successful futures in music, both as students in professional degrees and then as professionals in the music marketplaces of the real world.

At VSU, similarly channeled interests emerged at the same time. The primary one of these was a desire to prepare professional music students to do more on behalf of music by engaging audiences in a process of using music listening to improve their lives by helping them to learn to love more music and the music they already love more. An effort to augment traditional professional music curricula and experiences that might provide our society with more musical leaders in communities was the result there, and I hope it will be similar in the coming years at USC.

How did your faculty and dean respond to the effort?

At VSU, it worked just great. Some faculty needed persuasion of the importance of making changes curricularly where we could, but the final vote for creating the first required course was unanimous. Administration was on board. Again, I expect that the groundswell of faculty support that has been expressed by my colleagues at the USC School of Music will make this process similar here in the next few years.

What courses did you develop and how are they designed?

MUSC 1001, a zero credit introductory course for music majors that includes a good deal of exploration of fundamental musical understanding, advocacy and the basics of career choices in music are being taught at VSU. A more advanced course whose objectives are more specifically music entrepreneurship, MUSC 4001, has been designed to be implemented after the 1001 course has lasted through an entire 4 yr cadre of students there. Ultimately, a course for graduate students should be implemented as well. I hope to pursue a similar structure at USC in the coming few years.

Are there specific texts, readings or pedagogical techniques will you employ?

As to text--no, not yet. The only course actually in place is entry-level and part of an introductory course on being a music major that carries no text. I cannot answer the question about pedagogical methods since I do not teach the course and no longer run the dept where it is taught. I'll take a stab at this question after I have had some success here at USC with these priorities.

What are the desired student outcomes for the courses?

The MUSC 1001 course has objectives. The proposed MUSC 4001 has objectives too, but the main desired student outcome for the whole new entrepreneurship/ advocacy/leadership focus is to produce more professional musicians who can make careers for themselves with music at the center where they can be leaders for establishing enduring expectations for deeper aesthetic experiences through and in music in their communities.

Is there a specific philosophy by which you've designed your effort?

Yes, to be specific--we wanted to try an introductory course where students learn, along with other basics of musical life at college, how to discover what their talents are, how to discover what they do best, and how to balance life as a music student pursuing their talent while also learning what they must from a standards-based music curriculum. Then, when they are juniors and know a bit more about their talent and what they are good at, they can take a more advanced course on how to market that talent, build audiences around it, through it, with it in combination with others, etc... to make a living and to better people's lives with music. As I mentioned above, perhaps an entrepreneurship minor can also be added at some point for undergraduates who may want more than these two courses (1001, 4001).

Has interdisciplinarity played a role in the development of your program? If so, how?

Only to the extent that the 1001 course has a good deal of the University's 101 all-student orientation course activities and materials in it. But, adding a 4001 course, and perhaps additional courses that create an actual Entrepreneurship minor (which I hope we can do at USC) will require collaboration with the USC's Moore School of Business. As of now, these efforts are strictly music-based at VSU and USC--other arts are not involved.

How much "traditional business" education do music students receive?

At this point, none at VSU or USC.

What suggestions or advice could you offer those contemplating an Entrepreneurship component in their curriculum?

Be patient with faculty sentiment. There may be reluctance. Most faculty can understand that because they too are entrepreneurs to some extent, as very few of them make their livings entirely as college professors, but are also, at the very least, self-employed and practice good venturing activities in those rolls frequently. Their professional students will do this too and need our help. Getting a consensus of faculty to see that it is good and preferable to do this "business-type" presentation in music school, instead of "the school of hard knocks, like we did," is always a challenge. But it can be done.

You've mentioned "leadership" as key student outcome. How do we train the future leaders in the arts?

I see the challenge of getting more leadership education, training and experience in place for our music students more as an integration than as an elective add on.

As I write this, I should add that I find myself often arguing the other side, but my point is that leadership is as much inspired as it is taught (though this is not true of entrepreneurship or advocacy) and I want to work on getting a major music school to function itself around a culture of preparing leaders. How can we get students more involved in responsibilities that have to do with not only their own education and musical training, but also in creating and/or managing, for instance, structures that contribute to a better environment for music at USC, in Columbia, beyond etc. For example, working with the Music dorm community we have - getting them involved more conceptually in school external funding development efforts; having them involved in appropriate meetings of school faculty and community organizations with whom we partner through our String Project, Community Music School, grants and lobbying efforts with local governmental funding agencies, etc.

In short, I do not think we must go straight to the question of how do we add coursework or integrate leadership training in existing musical content courses when we need to consider doing a better and more thorough job of training tomorrow's musical leaders. Though, we must answer those questions as well. I have a plan for that which I described in my panel presentation at Brevard that utilizes a zero-credit required course for freshman first, like the MUSC 1001 course at VSU that I hope we will set in place here at USC in some form in 2008.

How long do you think your entrepreneurship effort at USC will take to implement?

I think we will get into the first course offerings in 2008. I hope to have my plans for a mechanism to do this and more entrepreneurship/advocacy/leadership that I am not ready to talk about, by 2008 as well.

How do you conceive or envision "entrepreneurship" and it's context in Arts education?

Well, I have some strong feelings about this. My approach is: For most American students studying music in order to try and make their living as a professional musician (or someone employed by/in the music industries in some way, and many of these folks are also professional musicians to a great extent), schools of music must provide them more skills to discover, invent, create, and partner to new and additional careers in music.

But, I also believe that it is through such non-musical instruction in music degrees that we can also prepare musical leaders for our communities who are able to use their individually developed livelihoods to make lives better for more of their companions in town in and through music. This goes way beyond traditional school-based music education to something we call education in

music. This is where our freshest new professional music graduates use new skills and methods to build audiences not only because these people hear and like the music our graduates make, but also because there is a relevance in the music being made to the lives of those who may not yet know about it or not yet seek it. We must prepare students who can do this discovering and to be champions of beauty--musical leaders for better lives.