Music & Arts Management Leadership Skills

Music students and musicians have discovered music & arts management to be a career field where they can integrate their passion for music with business, management, and entrepreneurial skills. Training in this field is typically at the graduate level, although there are some undergraduate programs scattered around the U.S.

A 2016 article in the newsletter of the National Guild for Community Arts Education speaks to an important aspect of arts management that’s gaining increased attention. It argues that in order to be effective in their roles, arts leaders must understand the effects of power within organizations and must take the “transparent steps to build a culture of equity.” Ama Codjoe, who facilitates social justice trainings, writes about implementing “anti-oppression practices” in order to be able to provide the quality of leadership needed in 21st-century arts organizations.

Codjoe addresses how privilege shapes one’s life with both advantages and disadvantages. She defines privilege, particularly in the U.S., as the “unearned (conscious or unconscious) access and power based on systemic bias.” In simplistic terms, skin color, economic class, education, first language, religious background, birth country, gender and gender expression, and sexual orientation all influence the availability of opportunities. Codjoe offers a list of suggestions to assist those in arts management – and those aspiring to be – to assist them in becoming more aware and therefore effective around issues of bias and privilege.

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