Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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Educators’ seminar on music entrepreneurship

How can we bridge the gap between higher music education and the demands of the profession? This was the main topic for the CEMPE and ECF seminar on music entrepreneurship.

Across Europe there is agreement on the importance of teaching innovation and entrepreneurship at higher education institutions. This applies to all sectors, professions and subjects, including music and arts education. A key issue is how this can be done in a way that is relevant and tailored to the needs of performing and creative musicians. Over two days, educators in higher music education tackled this issue as they met for an interdisciplinary seminar on entrepreneurship.

Participants agreed that integrating entrepreneurship in the curriculum as a supporting subject is important. Interdisciplinary, practical and experience-based learning projects have demonstrated high impact and relevance and should be included in the curricula.

Main topics

Two main topics were the focus of both the lectures and the workshops: professional skills, and possible transferability of these skills to higher music entrepreneurship education. The ECF collegium identified several sub-topics within the two main topics.

Professional skills:

  • Discussion and identification of requisite skills and competencies for entrepreneurship based on music and stage performance.
  • Methods for developing products and services from the music sector.
  • Concert production and dramaturgical analysis as tools for creative, cultural entrepreneurship.
  • Models for cooperation between the arts, the authorities and business.
  • Examples of professional best practice in musical entrepreneurship.

Possible transfer to music entrepreneurship education:

  • The importance of entrepreneurship in music curricula.
  • Curriculum for teaching modules.
  • Discuss and identify required skills and competencies for educators.
  • Explore appropriate teaching and assessment strategies.
  • Provide examples of existing teaching practices.
  • Initiate practice exercise – group task.
  • Sharing.

The goal of the seminar was to identify and discuss connections between these themes.

Framework and curricula supporting interdisciplinarity

One challenge highlighted throughout the seminar lectures and discussions were finding good solutions for curricula in higher music education. The curricula are normally filled up with traditional core subjects such as principal instrument tuition, interpretation and ensemble, orchestra or band. These subjects are often supplemented with music history, form analysis, aural training and arranging or composition, but they should also be supplemented with supporting subjects related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Interdisciplinary, practical and experience-based learning projects, as well as intensive courses over a short period, have demonstrated high impact and relevance. This means there is a need for institutional frameworks capable of running interdisciplinary courses. To further enhance the quality of this type of education, students and teachers should also be willing and able to participate and work in teams to develop skills in this field.

At Cork Institute of Technology, CIT, such interdisciplinary experience-based projects are well developed. CIT has a strong interdisciplinary profile, and it collaborates closely with external partners. It aims to inspire, educate, conduct research and support current and future entrepreneurs, not only on campus but also in the Cork region. Examples of entrepreneurship education at CIT were presented at the seminar by Dr Breda Kenny., prepared together with Gerard O’Donovan.

Extended skill sets

The seminar also highlighted how evaluation criteria for the students’ professional self-sufficiency should include skills on how to survive outside the institution. Such extended skill sets seem to be best acquired through interdisciplinary experienced-based learning in supplementary competence teams. Also, specialist institutions should prioritise organising this as part of the compulsory curricula.

Musicians should not have to be experts on business or on the technical aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship, but they should have some knowledge and insight to enable them to contribute in teams with their individual artistic skills.

Read more about the seminar in the articles The sound of innovation and Musical Entrepreneurship.

About ECF

European Creative Futures is a network established within the Erasmus programme and works to promote interdisciplinary entrepreneurship in education and build networks across disciplines and geographical regions. The network has five institutional members:

  • Cork Institute of Technology. Business, fine art, music, media and engineering.
  • Lahti University of Applied Sciences. Business and fine art.
  • Norwegian Academy of Music
  • Solent University. Music performance and production, fine art, graphic design and fashion, business.
  • HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. Business, innovation and music management.

ECF has developed a model for interdisciplinary entrepreneurial education, organised as intensive courses over a short period. Since 2010 the ECF collegium has collaborated on “Intensive projects” (IPs) for students once a year (from 2010–2012 under the title “Towards Creative Entrepreneurship”). This is an elective course at the NMH. The lecturers have experience in the professional field. There have also been teacher exchanges between the ECF member institutions. Members of the ECF collegium strive to share their knowledge and experience from various attempts to incorporate entrepreneurship in their day-to-day teaching.

Contributors and content

Read the programme for the seminar.

Further reading

Have a look at the Oslo Agenda for Entrepreneurship Education in Europe.

Resources from the EU: