University of Minnesota Twin Cities on the banks of the Mississippi River

Hitting the Right Note

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Harry Sapienza

Back in December 2011, several hundred members of the University’s School of Music appeared flash-mob style in the atrium of the Carlson School’s main building for an impromptu, flash mob-style performance of “Deck the Halls.”

While the event was a welcome surprise to exam-weary students, it also sparked an idea. Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer and David Myers, professor and director of the School of Music, began looking for ways to collaborate. Several rounds of meetings eventually produced a unique new interdisciplinary course: Entrepreneurship and Musical Careers.

Harry Sapienza, a professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, is teaching the course. As he notes, it’s designed for undergraduate and graduate music majors who want to learn basic business principles, and for Carlson School undergraduates looking to parlay their musical ambitions into careers. “It provides an introductory overview of business principles, concepts, and vocabulary,” Sapienza says. “It also delves into current issues and practices in music entrepreneurship and introduces students to the fundamentals of new business creation.”

While working with music students might seem unusual for a Carlson School professor, Sapienza says it’s a natural fit. “My academic scholarship has been focused on the creation of new ventures and on the efforts of entrepreneurs to find ways to fund their dreams—whether from bootstrapping, crowdfunding, angel investors, or venture capital,” he notes. “Young musicians often struggle with ways to create and build their entrepreneurial projects and careers. This course will help them realize their musical and entrepreneurial ambitions.”