Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

New Music Entrepreneurship Program Paves the Way for Future Leaders

New Music Entrepreneurship Program Paves the Way for Future Leaders

Arts organizations around the country are working hard to appeal to audiences who live a saturated digital world. As a result, arts entrepreneurship is rapidly becoming an important and necessary cause in the arts world. SDSU is the only university in the country to house a Bachelor’s of Music degree specifically geared toward music entrepreneurship (although across the US there are programs in Music Business, which often align more with the commercial side of the music industry). The Music Entrepreneurship and Business emphasis is open to any qualified musician—singers, jazz musicians, composers, and instrumentalists.

This program is the brainchild of Donna Conaty, Professor of Music and Associate Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. “At the heart of it is the core rigorous music curriculum, with the college of Business Administration Entrepreneurship minor combined. There are 18 units of GE’s embedded within the major as well, which help to make it more efficient for the student to complete,” Conaty explains.

One core difference between this degree and other Bachelor’s of Music degrees are the options for electives. Conaty says, “when degrees are so prescribed and defined, it makes it harder for students with a broader interests. It’s designed purposefully that way to attract students of all different interests and backgrounds.”

There is a significant level of practicality infused into the Music Entrepreneurship degree track, in particular the internship sequence. Each student will complete a series of three internships, worth one, two, and three units as they progress through the program. SDSU has an agreement with a number of local arts institutions, and students in the degree can be placed into internships with the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, and La Jolla Music Society, among others. The three-unit internship serves as a capstone for the program, where students intern in a position that fulfills their most significant interests.

Paige Kobdish, a student in the program, shares her internship experience. “Working with both the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and the San Diego Opera, I have learned more about what makes up an arts nonprofit from the administration side. I have been able to find my strengths and passions in arts management, learn from expert mentors in their respective fields, and make so many memories that will define my college experience permanently.” After graduation, Kobdish plans to stay in the San Diego area and continue working in the field to further shape her interests and focus. She aims to attend graduate school and pursue a dual Master’s in Arts and Business Administration.

The Music Entrepreneurship and Business degree at SDSU is making an impact, both at the college level and in the broader regional arts landscape. According to Conaty, arts entrepreneurship is a new field that’s becoming established as a serious academic discipline. She speaks about her goals to empower music alumni to stay in the field and truly understand the value of what they do. “We want to produce cultural leaders, who will assume the mantle of leading our major organizations, or who will create new ones that don’t even exist yet. Students will develop the confidence to see an opportunity, have a vision, and pursue it.”

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