Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Music Entrepreneurship Alumna Advances the Arts

Paige Kobdish pursues arts leadership at the San Diego Symphony

Music Entrepreneurship Alumna Advances the Arts

By Teresa Monaco

Studying music at the collegiate level can be an experience filled with uncertainty—many students know that they have a strong affinity for music, but are not necessarily oriented toward becoming professional performers or educators. The San Diego State University School of Music and Dance offers a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Entrepreneurship and Business, the first degree of its kind in the United States.

Now in its fourth year, this program teaches artistically qualified students how to translate their talents into practical skills that can be utilized in the professional world. It has been developed in partnership with SDSU’s Fowler College of Business, and requires rigorous musical training paired with topics like marketing, developing a vision for a venture, economics, and more.

Leadership in practice

Paige Kobdish is an exemplary recent graduate from this program. After completing her degree in May 2017, she has moved to working full-time as the Annual Fund Manager at the San Diego Symphony, a pillar in San Diego’s musical landscape and a major orchestra in the United States.

When asked about how her time at SDSU has translated into her career, Kobdish replied “SDSU strives toward raising up leaders. During my time there, I was challenged across disciplines and classes to be creative and an individual. I’ve taken those lessons and applied them to my job at the Symphony—I question the old and the new, and aim towards the goal of connecting our members with the mission of this great organization.”

From intern to employee

An integral part of the Music Entrepreneurship and Business degree is the internship requirement. Throughout her time in the program, Kobdish interned with Young Audiences of San Diego, the San Diego Symphony, and the San Diego Opera—all major players in the San Diego arts scene. “I focused on a different area of arts nonprofit at each internship, so I really came out of the program with a well-rounded understanding of each component of the industry,” she explains.

Kobdish praises Dr. Eric Starr, Internship Coordinator for the program. “He does a great job getting students internships with strong and varied arts organizations across San Diego. I am very thankful for him connecting me with the San Diego Symphony. It was through my internship with the San Diego Symphony that I met my current team in Advancement and found my knack for fundraising.”

So what is an Annual Fund Manager? Kobdish oversees contributions to the Symphony of $5,000 and under, through mailing acquisition campaigns, monthly renewals, and stewarding current supporters. “The Symphony has a fantastic work culture, and I love my team! One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting new people and helping them develop a relationship that connects them more deeply with the Symphony and the music they love. Seeing the funds that I help raise being put to work through our Education and Community outreach programs is also very fulfilling for me.”

A transformative experience

When asked about a favorite memory from her time at SDSU, Kobdish has a hard time choosing just one. Something she misses most about being a student is having the opportunity to play oboe every day under Dr. Shannon Kitelinger and Professor Michael Gerdes. She also cites the mentorship and guidance from Associate Dean Donna Conaty as transformative to her college experience. “From professional development to personal betterment, Dean Conaty single-handedly influenced my time in college like no one else did. With her guidance and belief in me, I was able to accomplish anything I set my mind to!”

Paige Kobdish is one of the first students to graduate from this new program, but most certainly not the last. Keep an eye out for future Music Entrepreneurship and Business graduates making positive changes and innovations to the arts landscape in San Diego and beyond. For more information about the program, visit this link.

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