Mixing music and business

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(Photo by Justin Hackworth.)
(Photo by Justin Hackworth.)

BYU Arts is taking a turn for the better by offering an opportunity for students to showcase their ideas regarding BYU music and business in the Entrepreneurship for the Arts Competition.

Andrew Maxfield, an adjunct professor in the School of Music, described the upcoming event as an event for students to work individually or in teams to prepare a plan for an arts-based business.

“They create financial projections; they do market research; they analyze their strengths and weaknesses,” Maxfield said. “They capture all of this in a brief, written business plan. These plans are vetted by a panel of judges, and the finalists are invited to present their plans in front of their peers and other attendees.”

Those who win the competition are awarded $500 for first place, and $300 each for second place and third place. A previous competitor, Jason Cassel, from Palm Springs, Calif., who is majoring in commercial music, had a winning business plan geared toward musical instruments.

“My idea was to start a piano tuning business with a friend of mine (Doug Patterson) from the class,” Cassel said.

Anna Dunford, majoring in percussion performance from Houston, Texas, was also a previous competitor, and her idea was based off of lowering costs for purchasing percussion gear.

“The basic idea was to contact percussion gear warehouses and buy bulk shipments for a discounted price and sell them to website users at lower-than-normal prices,” Dunford said.

The Entrepreneurship for Arts program stands out from other programs because of its opportunity to challenge students to make a realistic business plan that could end up being means to provide for their families.

The program also involves collaboration, which mirrors real-world experiences. The program also challenges students to make their presentation competitive for future investors.

Students interested in participating may do so by speaking with Andrew Maxfield and partnering with someone in his Music 286 class. Those who are students in the Music 286 class are eligible to compete by themselves because the program is designed for those in music to bring out the business side of the arts.

The competition takes place on April 11 in the Harris Fine Arts Center, room F-201.

Participating in the competition has many benefits and learning experiences for anyone. By partnering with a student in the music class, students are given the opportunity to gain knowledge about music and business combined.  

“It is simply empowering. Most people just say, ‘When I — fill in the blank — then I will do this cool project, or start my business, etc.,'” Cassel said. “This competition helps you realize that you not only can, but should, start now, and that helps you plan out how you will accomplish it; music major or not, it’s an empowering feeling.”

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