"Stand in your idea of what the music industry is, because that's what it is."
This was the parting wisdom from Kristy Osmunson of the Country duo American Young to college students from Tennessee, Hawaii, California, Arizona, and Florida at this year's Curb Creative Connection weekend. Students from 11 campuses who have benefitted from donations and support from the Mike Curb Family Foundation came to Nashville to network and to discuss how to make lasting connections between the people and resources on their campuses.
For the second year, I was part of the group that designed and implemented educational programming for this event. The reason I initially chose to pursue a PhD was to better understand how music industry careers work in order to support people who aspire to work in the music industry. Luckily, working with the Curb Creative Connection has allowed me to work directly with smart, motivated students who have creative aspirations.
Though I cannot counsel students directly on how to market themselves as artists, audio engineers, or songwriters, my intent in working with the Curb Creative Connection is to provide expertise and empirical evidence that can give students a more informed sense of what the work of a creative looks like. While the educational programming went well, it was gratifying to talk one-on-one with students about things like what a career in a creative industry looks like, why urban planning might be a student's unique contribution to a creative ecosystem, and how communities of "makers" might work more closely on some projects than others in mutually beneficial ways.