Title: Your pointless future

Contributor: James Kimo Williams, Associate Professor, Columbia College

Key Issues & Questions:

  • How does academic assessment impact professional performance?
  • Which education paradigm is best suited for students seeking to enter the music industry?
  • How can students develop professionally while in school?
  • K/12 environment emphasizes grades as consequences. When entering college, students should be weened off the educational mindset of pursuing points. Instructors should remind students that the attitudes, knowledge and skills they learn are linked to things much more important than grades or a degree. They allow a student to be competitive in business. If a program does not echo this mindset shift, it is no longer valid.
  • Improvements in education are needed – Current models must be re-evaluated.
  • Real priorities need to be established – Students need to understand the totality of the music industry, but maybe not the totality of music
  • Showing new consequences is key – Programs ought to consider more thoroughly weaving business and musicality together in their courses.
  • Going beyond lectures – Practicum approaches provide students with the most realistic consequences for their learning.
  • Gradual progressions are needed – As students move throughout their academic careers, their lessons and consequences ought to look less and less like those in K/12.
  • Freshmen students need to get their heads straight right away otherwise they may not ever reach their full potential.
  • Instructors must create new measurable tools – Traditional tests need to diminish in frequency. Interviews and mentoring needs to become more prominent.
  • Flexible curriculums enable the best outcomes – Adjustments in teaching and expectations must be flexible in order to mirror accurately the music industry. Capstone classes help segue students from previous learning mindsets to more career-appropriate learning mindsets.
  • Student segues should move past academic grades – Prior to graduation, music business program students should clearly understand their grade point average only generates a degree. It is their newly acquired learning mindset that provides them a chance to have a meaningful career in the music industry.
  • Students should challenge themselves to learn beyond your instructor’s rubric

Additional Resources:

– Book: Applied Music Theory for Managers, Engineers, Producers and Artists 2nd Edition
– MEIEA Journal article: Balancing Music Industry Curricula in Undergraduate Degree Programs: A Course Distribution Survey and Analysis
– ArtistsHouseMusic: Educator Profile