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On Music Entrepreneurship – 7

(Continued)

Perhaps all of this talk about our students knowing how to do something is moot–after all, I’ve heard the argument that “our students learn what they need to despite what we teach them,” and this is largely true. Most musicians I know (myself included) haven’t had much in terms of entrepreneurship training, and yet we figure out how to get our music performed or how to find performances.

An assignment I’ve put into my music entrepreneurship class is a travel funding assignment. It’s pretty open ended–Assume that you’re going to a professional conference and you’d like to ask for funding. How do you construct a budget, and how do you present a case for how much funding you need?

It’s a fairly straightforward assignment: Look up airfare or mileage, look up hotels, list your fixed costs like registration, and figure out a way to ask for per diem. These are all very obvious things–if you already know how to do them.

Some assumptions we operate under, and some mistakes my students have made on this assignment:

  • Flights are usually listed round-trip, as a total. Hotels are usually listed per-night. I’ve had students not realize that they have a 5-day conference and they have a one-night hotel stay.
  • There is a federal mileage reimbursement rate that many organizations use. If you claim mileage, or if you estimate your gas costs, make sure you calculate mileage there AND back.
  • If your hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle, then you have to get from the airport to the hotel somehow.
  • If you have oversize luggage (say, an instrument) then that’s another cost.

Trivial mistakes to make on a class assignment. Disastrous if you’re on an actual trip. Compounded even more so if the trip is international.