Adam Berkowitz teaches in the Hartt School Community Division, and his lecture linked concepts of entrepreneurship and concepts familiar to musicians through practice. His thesis is essentially that an entrepreneurial project requires the same sort of careful planning and tangible goal-setting that informs the process of practicing music. He suggested that analysis of our own individual skills and strengths is an important first step, followed by an analysis of the environment in which we hope to present our market idea. He created a distinction between goals and objectives, with goals representing large-scale, broad plans and objectives outlining the specific steps needed to achieve the goal. He underlined that these goals need to be flexible, so as not to cause paralysis if situations change along the way. The next step involves developing strategies for achieving goals, much like developing a plan for musical practice. He suggested that a certain kind of humility, acknowledging our own ignorance, is necessary, along with an honest assessment of the risks involved in any planned project. This allows us to decide whether the risk involved in our project is acceptable, in the same way that we can decide whether a new piece is appropriate for us based on the current level of our musical ability. Berkowitz argued that abandoning projects that turn out not to be feasible is a necessary part of project planning. This process of planning he likened to planning rehearsals or lessons, which require a long-term, comprehensive plan, and a shorter-term, operational plan. The process of developing an entrepreneurial plan thus requires the same balance of long- and short-term goals and continuous assessment that is required by healthy musical practice.
–Notes by Michael Rowlett
Michael Rowlett is the assistant Professor of Clarinet at The University of Mississippi. You can find his CD Close to Home: Music of American Composers on Amazon and Albany Records.