Vol. 17, No. 30May 7, 1998

Music management

 New degree applies beyond teaching, performing

In a music management studies class are (from left) Jaime Bowman, Alison Newitt, Cathy Short, guest speaker Heather Hitchens, Harlan Landes, Kendra Molee and Todd Hearn.

Somewhere in between all the music majors who yearn for performance careers and those who hope to teach music are the students whose lives will eventually combine aspects of performing and teaching with professional positions in the music industry.

According to Elaine Brenchley, administrative coordinator and lecturer in the Department of Music, to help ensure the success of that group, and of non-music majors who want to build behind-the-scenes music-related careers, the department recently created a new minor in music management studies.

The degree examines the theories and practices in both the nonprofit and the for-profit sectors of music. The minor is intended for music majors who wish to broaden the scope of their studies and enhance their career options and for non-music majors with musical experience who want to further their interest in music-related fields.

"Musicians are accustomed to building their own career packages- many engage in some combination of teaching, performing and management," Brenchley said. "The department realized we had programs in place to help our music education majors prepare for the work force, but we also felt other music majors could benefit from some extra tools."

The new minor leads the department in a new direction, by recognizing that forging careers in music in the 21st century will require not only high-level musical skills, but also management skills and an understanding of the impact of "extra-musical" forces, such as the socio-economic and political environments, she explained.

David Herman, chairperson of the Department of Music, thinks the new minor is an excellent addition to the department's offerings.

"It provides a solid introduction and practical experience in this important field and, at the same time, helps the department build bridges to the arts and business communities and to UD alums who have achieved success working in these fields," Herman said.

The minor has been ideal for students like Todd Hearn of Newark, a senior clarinet major, who is working as an intern this semester for the Delaware Symphony.

"I've been doing a lot of different work there because I had asked to learn a little about each department. I have been helping the operations, development and marketing directors. The majority of the work is things like proofreading, creating press releases, data entry and creating school seating charts for the upcoming school concerts at the Grand Opera House."

Craig Weinrich, the symphony's assistant development director, said the internship has been extremely worthwhile.

"For me, personally, it was an internship that fueled my interest to go into a music business career and I'm happy that the symphony can offer a similar opportunity," Weinrich said. "In turn, we've found the internship very helpful to our organization. It's been very valuable to have an extra pair of hands. Offering the internship also helps us know we are doing our part to support the University and higher education."

Brenchley agrees that an extra benefit in the establishment of the minor is the opportunities it provides to establish connections with people in the music business. In addition to the internships, the regional music community supports the minor by supplying guest speakers, many of them UD alumni, from the business, cultural and governmental sectors to address the classes.

In the past, speakers have come from such organizations as the Christina Cultural Arts Center, the Grand Opera House and First Night Wilmington. Music publishers, compact disc makers for independent labels and freelance musicians who have done everything from touring with a band to playing the classics also have spoken to classes.

Brenchley and John Sarro, instructor in the music department, teach the courses that compose the minor's core curriculum and both serve as advisers for the internships that are the capstone of the minor.

Sarro teaches "Principles of Music Industry Practice," which offers students an understanding of the fundamental workings of the music industry. It examines such issues as copyright law, standard agreements and the influence of professional organizations, and the interaction that takes place among writers, artists, performers, publishers, record companies and producers.

Brenchley teaches a class geared to the nonprofit side of the music business, "Elements of Music Management." The course introduces students to the principles involved in planning and management for performing arts organizations. Included are basic concepts of project development and implementation, production issues for public performances, communication skills and marketing techniques.

Additionally, Brenchley teaches "Patterns of Patronage," a course that examines music in the broader context of the economic, political, social and technological environment.

The minor benefits students seeking performing careers by giving them exposure to the practical aspects of building such a career. Students who choose nonperforming careers in the music industry or the nonprofit cultural sector also will gain important skills and knowledge, Brenchley said.

Non-music majors who enroll in the minor must put together a group of core music courses based on their experience and interests to get a firm grounding in the subject matter.

"The minor is still a work in progress," Brenchley said. "We are always making new connections and looking for ways to broaden our outreach. Right now, we have a regional network of music industry and nonprofit organization support. Eventually, we hope to make that a national network."

For more information on the new minor, contact Brenchley at 831-8245.

-Beth Thomas