Summit 2016
April 1-2, Washington DC

Session 10: Saturday 11:45
Moderator: Melissa Wald

Kristina Kelman
Lecturer – Music Industry, Music Education, Musicology and Performance
Queensland University of Technology

Philip Graham
Professor – Creative Industries
Queensland University of Technology

Yanto Browning
Associate Lecturer – Creative Industries
Queensland University of Technology

Event-based Research for Music Industry Learning Environments: Two Case Studies

Scholars in the music education field argue that skills and knowledge required for success include entrepreneurship, professional networks, technology skills and community development. However, there are few studies of learning environments that are designed for this purpose and which could test their claims. In addressing this gap, this paper presents two case studies of innovative, real-world learning designs that have been deliberately engineered to foster collaboration, with grounded, realistic opportunities.

The first case study, Youth Music Industries (YMI) is an organization, operating since 2010 that was established by the teacher/researcher in collaboration with her high school students.  The teacher’s aim was to establish a social learning environment where students could develop music industry and entrepreneurial skills experientially in a community of practice. The students’ aims were to create opportunities for young musicians across Queensland to perform, record, publish and network, with a bigger vision of building a youth music scene. Some of their initiatives included running an all-ages venue for emerging bands (Emerge), an annual four-stage, ten-hour music festival (Four Walls Fest), regular networking sessions, and an annual youth music industry conference (Little BIGSOUND).

The second case study is a practice-led, large-scale annual event called Indie 100 led by the Queensland University of Technology since 2010. The event produces one hundred new songs in one hundred hours over five days.  It involves local and national industry figures, between three hundred to four hundred local musicians, and around seventy students from music, management, marketing, law and entertainment industries. The aim of the exercise is to bring students into personal contact with professional producers, local artists, to induct them into the intensity of a commercial production environment, and to showcase and promote their efforts globally following the event.

Our cases use iterative cycles of development, implementation and study, allowing us to gather more information that might lead to improve future iterations. In this paper we use the experience of both YMI and Indie100 in which we acted as both researchers and educators to observe the interconnections between learning and industry practice in this work. These studies have both a pragmatic element and a theoretical orientation with the researchers’ intent to produce new theories, artifacts and practices that potentially impact learning and teaching in naturalistic settings. Communities of practice theory, in particular the concepts of engaging, imagining and aligning (Wenger 1988) and social capital concepts - bonding, bridging and linking capital as explained by Putnam (2000) not only informed our designs but provided a lens for our investigations.

Our research has found that both “classrooms” welcomed triumphs, failures and the challenges of professional musicianship in creating a learning ecology where new relationships were formed, insights into student motivations and potentials were gleaned firsthand by faculty, and students’ positioning within their chosen field of professional practice were accurately gauged by both the students themselves and by the faculty. 

Storm Gloor
Associate Professor
University of Colorado Denver

Student-run Enterprises and the Advancement of Music Cities

The particular focus of this research is centered on potential opportunities for “student-run enterprises”: record labels, publishing companies, booking agencies, and other entities operated primarily by college students as part of their music or music business degree curriculum. In recent years more and more universities have been adding these types of programming to their offerings as hands-on experiences in which students apply their knowledge in real-world situations. For instance, their creativity and entrepreneurial skills, among other factors, can affect the level of success of an artist, public concert, or a recording. Meanwhile there has been much work done in promoting a focus on the importance of a sustainable music economy to cities. The advancement of a music community can do so much more than simply provide more entertainment options for citizens and tourists. With the notion of a university’s role within its community, how could those with music business programs better support the local music economy? Could student-run enterprises provide such support, as well as a unique and meaningful learning experience for its participants? An exploration of such questions might yield new approaches to improving learning outcomes and accomplishments of student-run enterprises. It might also provide a basis for better partnerships between higher education institutions and their communities. It might also have relevance in developing more leading-edge curricula that could address the challenges of attracting quality students in an age in which the value of a college degree and higher education as a concept is even being questioned.