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The Entrepreneurial Muse: Inspiring Your Career in Classical Music 

Released from Oxford University Press in 2018, The Entrepreneurial Muse explores principles of entrepreneurship in a classical music setting, inspiring students, emerging professionals, and educators alike to gain the broader perspective and strategic understanding required to negotiate the complex and ever-changing landscape of a professional music career. The author's own career journey creates an additional narrative intended to inspire a broader and more creative view of career possibilities. Readers will acquire strategic and observational tools designed to expand their view of possible career paths in classical music, stimulate creating thinking about how their unique skills can find value in the 21st-century marketplace, and realize their professional goals through the entrepreneurial process. And, because entrepreneurship is itself a creative endeavor, readers will learn how entrepreneurship and artistic integrity in music can not only peacefully coexist, but actually nurture and inspire each other. The Entrepreneurial Muse is designed to supplement, not replace, traditional music career development texts by illustrating a new approach to developing and maintaining a career in classical music. The book is intended to provoke the creative imagination of readers, to inspire them, and to give them tools to help realize a personally authentic career that is sustainable, fulfilling, and impactful.

“Classical musicians can indeed balance artistic integrity with entrepreneurial relevance! The Entrepreneurial Muse leaves readers optimistic and armed with a plan.”

David Cutler, author of The Savvy Musician

Arts Entrepreneurship: 

A new field for a new century

25,000 undergraduate music degrees awarded on average every year. Orchestras filing for bankruptcy. Public funding for the arts drying up. The demise of the publishing and recording industries and the rise of internet piracy. And a conservatory model that perpetuates a 19th-century paradigm of concert-making and the passive role of the audience. These are but a few items on the long and familiar list of challenges facing classical music today. And while there are innovative individuals and groups exploring new ways of creating, presenting, and distributing their work, there remains a cavernous void of guiding principles and effective training for the current and future generations of musicians faced with breathing new life into their field. In the DIY era of self-promotion and management, there are abundant and high-quality resources available to acquire the basic tools necessary to build a self-guided career in music; what’s lacking, however, is any strategic paradigm for deploying those tools in the ever-shifting field of the performing arts. Without such guiding principles, what should be precise tools with sharp edges end up being blunt instruments. 

“Entrepreneurship is about enabling art’s deepest, most valuable purpose: connecting with people, creating com-munity, challenging us to view the world from new and different perspectives, stirring the soul.”

The Entrepreneurial Muse

Enter entrepreneurship, an often misunderstood concept that has become a buzz-word and been appropriated by civic, business, and political leaders for their own ends. However, when we can cut through the web of misunderstanding (and, in the case of the fine arts, fear and suspicion), we find that entrepreneurship is simply a set of principles designed to unleash value in the marketplace for our product or service.

The field of entrepreneurship in the arts is only now reached the stage where conservatories and university are embracing it: what was a tiny handful of programs a decade ago has grown into dozens of initiatives, certificates, and even degrees offered by a wide range of institutions. What’s still lacking, however, is a clear and concise introduction to the principles of entrepreneurship and how they operate within the world of classical music. The Entrepreneurial Muse is just such an introduction, designed to explain entrepreneurial principles and offer a wide range of examples on how it operates in the context of today’s concert music world. The work also advances a new theory for how entrepreneurship and artistic activity can occupy the same creative space. His penultimate chapter, “Can Entrepreneurship ‘Save’ Classical Music?” offers a new paradigm for solving the myriad challenges facing the classical music world and helping it regain a place of relevance in our civic life.

The Entrepreneurial Muse is an extremely valuable resource for budding music professionals, both in collegiate settings and outside the academy. Exploring from a variety of perspectives, Nytch illuminates a path to entrepreneurship that inspires musicians to pursue a successful career without sacrificing artistic aspirations.”

Alain Barker

Director of Entrepreneurship & Career Development

Jacobs School of Music-Indiana University

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