Major Changes: How Arts Management at Miami Helped me Find My Way

By Emily Larson

According to a statistic published on the Career Services site of the University of La Verne, 50-70% of college students change majors at least once before they graduate. I never expected to be a part of that statistic.

When I entered college, I was certain that I wanted to study Music Education. I loved music and I had enjoyed tutoring younger students in music during high school. A doe-eyed college freshman, I dove headfirst into my studies. I loved studying music, one of my passions, and gaining skills to become a teacher of music.

However, in my sophomore year, I began to have major doubts (no pun intended!). I realized that while I still enjoyed what I was studying, I no longer wanted to travel the career path I was headed towards. I needed to find a different path. A different major. The decision to change majors was not easy. It took weeks to figure out what kind of path I wanted to follow for the remainder of my college career. At the end of this intense personal process, my academic advisor’s remarks to me about this decision really resonated with me: the decision to change majors is not an easy one but it is a mature one.

I came across the Arts Management and Entrepreneurship program at Miami and it piqued my interest. A program that combined my love of music and the creative arts with practical business learning opportunities? Sign me up!

I found out more information about Miami’s Arts Management and Entrepreneurship program and set up a meeting with the director of the program, Todd Stuart. We had a conversation about the major and potential career paths in the field, and we both agreed that arts management would be a great fit for me. So I dove into business courses and arts management courses.

One of the parts I love most about the Arts Management and Entrepreneurship program is its interdisciplinary nature. Both the co-major and the minor involve taking business courses through Farmer School of Business for non-FSB majors. Due to this interdisciplinary focus, I am able to blend my creative musical background with practical business concepts that prepare me for a future career leading arts organizations. Since my decision to pursue another area of study was career driven, I was delighted to find that the Arts Management program is driven with a focus on career (this facet also delighted my parents, who wanted to be sure I will be employed after college rather than becoming a starving artist).

An interesting challenge I didn’t initially expect that came up frequently when I told people I was studying Arts Management was that they weren’t quite sure what exactly it was that I was studying. In order to answer the question “what is arts management?” over time, I’ve crafted a short explanation for those not familiar with the field. My standard response is that arts management is a discipline that manages and leads creative nonprofit arts organizations using business skills and this field will prepare me for a future career working for theaters, music halls, museums, performing arts organizations, and more. Arts management perfectly blends creative arts with practical business skills.

I have found my niche in the Arts Management program. I’m studying something I love while pursuing a future career that I’m excited about.

Emily Larson is an aspiring arts manager and writer and is a student at Miami University studying Music and Arts Management.