Jan 4, 2013 5:05 PM
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's newly established music business degree offers graduates an education designed to prepare them for the boardroom or the concert stage - or both.
"We have very strong programs already in performance, jazz music, media theory and comp and piano pedagogy, but there are people who want to work in the business side of music," said Dr. Garth Alper, director of the UL Lafayette School of Music and Performing Arts.
The new degree is tailored for careers in a range of music-related fields including concert promotions, music and video production, contract negotiations and retail, Alper said.
The curriculum also serves aspiring musicians who realize their stab at becoming the next Pavarotti might not pan out as planned.
"It doesn't preclude them from becoming great artists, but many students want a solid back up plan," Alper said.
The syllabus contains courses covering topics like management booking, touring and legal issues alongside standard business classes like economics and financial accounting.
Music business majors also are required to take many of the same courses traditional music majors take like music history, ensemble lessons or playing an instrument.
"Students don't have to go quite as deeply into the performance side, but they are going to have some good music skills when they leave," Alper said.
The dual focus also widens career choices for music majors beyond becoming teachers or band directors, two traditional and popular jobs.
"The new program's going to broaden our appeal, and we're going to get a more diverse group of students," Alper said.
UL Lafayette's music program typically averages between 150-200 students yearly.
In addition to the new program, students can earn bachelor's degrees in music, music education and traditional music (Cajun, zydeco and other forms of Louisiana music). UL Lafayette's music program also offers master's degrees in a number of concentrations.
The bachelor of arts in music business program, accredited by the National Association of the Schools of Music in late 2012, is the only of its kind among the state's public universities.
Loyola University in New Orleans, a private school, also offers a music business degree.
"There's been a great need and desire for this degree, and it's been a really long time coming," Alper said.
For more information about the UL Lafayette School of Music and Performing Arts, visit music.louisiana.edu.