Music Career and Skills Enhancement


The Shepherd School of Music recognizes that today’s musicians must possess a wide variety of skills in areas beyond those taught in traditional areas of music study. To ensure that our Masters of Music (MM) performance majors are fully prepared to meet the demands of the profession, we have created a new instructional area entitled Music Career and Skills Enhancement. Within this area, specific courses have been designed to complement the superb musical and academic training already provided at the Shepherd School.

The Shepherd School understands that a one-size-fits-all approach in the area of career development cannot fully address the wide-ranging needs and interests of our students. We have crafted therefore a diverse menu of courses, many of which are unique, for our students to choose from.

Each course is designed to be interactive, with project-based learning, and will have a limited, small enrollment. For most courses, twelve students will be the average class size. Content for the courses will be relevant and valuable for all performance majors. At least five courses will be offered per semester. A total of 4 credit hours is required for all MM performance majors.

Equipping students with multiple skills and enabling them to excel in a dynamic and fluid job market is our aim. Additional courses will be developed over time in response to the challenges presented by an ever-changing cultural landscape.

Courses: A total of 4 credit hours is required for all MM performance degrees

LPCR 200: Advanced Mental Training for Performers
This course is designed to focus on the psychology of performance excellence.
Specifically, it will highlight the relationship between mental toughness and performance, and will explore the ways in which psychological skills training can be applied to a variety of performance settings (e.g. business, drama, music and sport).

MUSI 413: Introduction to Dalcroze Eurhythmics
Dalcroze Eurhythmics is a musical education which aims to engage and utilize one's whole being in the learning process. Students will explore very basic to quite complex rhythmic concepts through experiencing their own inner fluidity and spatial energy. The class is designed around the philosophy and teachings of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze.

MUSI 500: Imagination and Communication: Developing Musical Skills through Theatrical Techniques
This course focuses on teaching communication skills through techniques from other areas of the performing arts. Through exercises that enhance imagination and creativity, students will learn to use their physical presences more effectively, thus becoming more effective communicators with audiences, musician colleagues, and future employers.

MUSI 501: Enhanced Performance: Writing, Speaking, Playing
Music students learn how to communicate with audiences effectively beyond their musical performance through the use of words, both written and oral. Students will study, practice, and gain practical experience in writing and speaking about music through a variety of performance situations.

MUSI 502: Conducting: An Overview of Practical Skills
This course is designed to present an array of conducting tools to instrumentalists, vocalists and composers. Discussions and presentations will cover diverse topics ranging from baton technique to education/outreach programming.

MUSI 503: Music and Performance: The Mind/Body Connection
Students address the physical and mental stress of performance by developing an awareness of the mind/body connection. This course introduces a variety of techniques that help musicians to notice and change unhelpful practice habits and move toward a better performance experience.

MUSI 507: Technology for Musicians
Student musicians become familiar with the computer skills necessary for modern musical life. Computer assisted notation, the basics of audio/video production, and website creation will be covered as students learn to use a number of computer applications.

MUSI 508: Fundamentals of Private Teaching
This course will focus on the teaching of individual lessons to music students. It will emphasize effective ways to start a beginning student, how to develop musicianship, and how to teach good practice habits.

MUSI 509: The Alexander Technique for Musicians
The Alexander Technique is a mind/body educational process that teaches balance, poise and efficiency of movement. Students will discover how the Technique can be applied to performance and practice, thus gaining greater awareness and ease within their art.

MUSI 510: Professional Development for Musicians
This course will explore the practical aspects of building and sustaining a career in music. Using networking, self-promotion, and presentation skills, students will create projects needed for pursuing their careers. Guest speakers will offer additional resources for students as they learn how to navigate the world of the Music Business.

MUSI 515: Music Entrepreneurship
Music Entrepreneurship introduces the music student to the idea and development of a business strategy via introduction to the business plan model. Students learn to develop mission statements, analyze markets and competition, research advertising and promotional strategies, and put together financial assumptions and forecasts into business friendly templates.

MUSI 518: The Art and Business of Studio Teaching
Independent studio teaching offers musicians both income stability and flexibility in scheduling, but requires clarity of approach, organization, and business savvy to be effective and rewarding. In addition to practicing these skills, students will learn how to attract students and build a reputation as an exemplary teacher.

MUSI 519: Thematic Programming: The Art of the Recital
This course concentrates on ways to revitalize and re-invent the traditional recital so that it appeals to performer and audience alike. After gaining an understanding of innovative and thematic programming, presentational skills and production planning, students will create, produce and perform an invigorating and exciting recital program.

MUSI 532: The Feldenkrais Method and the Musician's Body
Students will experience the Feldenkrais Method through the group learning modality of Awareness Through Movement in order to develop a practice that will serve to mitigate stress, reduce the likelihood of repetitive use injuries and create a more easeful presence in performance.

MUSI 538 The Art of Performance: Presence on Stage
Students will gain skills promoting stage presence in performance and in daily life. By identifying, developing and implementing elements of mental, physical, visual, aural, and musical presence, they will learn how to develop an expressive, confident, communicative, creative, and polished performance. 

MUSI 540: Applied Jazz Improvisation
The goal of this course is to introduce and develop jazz improvisational skills for the classically trained musician. Students will use "swing style" accompaniment to learn to develop and perform improvised jazz solos on a variety of harmonic formats.

The following courses will be offered through Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business

MGMT 621: The New Enterprise
Evaluating opportunities and developing a business concept; analyzing new ventures; pricing, selling, and cost control; attracting stakeholders and bootstrap finance; the legal form of business and taxation; financing, deal structure and venture capital; harvesting value; developing a business plan.

MGMT 625: Creative Entrepreneurship
Designed for those wishing to form their own business. It takes the prospective entrepreneur from the conception stage through the opening of the doors on the first day of business. Students will form teams to make final presentations of their business plans. The winning team of the final presentation will be eligible to participate in the Southwest Business Plan Competition at Rice University. Numerous invited speakers.

MGMT 629: Business Plan Development
This course is based on reading, analyzing and discussing business plans of actual companies in motion. Class participation is important for this course. Reading the material, discussing the business plans, and interacting with company management will also make the course more enjoyable and meaningful. During the course, we will have entrepreneurs and founders as guest lecturers. SalvageSale, BizSupplies and SimDesk are examples of business plans we will discuss.

MGMT 676: Social Enterprise
What might constitute social responsibility in a market setting? If social responsibility connotes a connection between a person and a social problem say between you and a poor person in Bangladesh or Houston how might it be exercised in a market transaction of buying or selling? Is there a role of private enterprise or of private consumption for alleviating some of the social problems (e.g., health, education, pollution, poverty, etc.) that we observe and experience in communities across the world? Social Enterprise explores these and related questions in the context of business.