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New entrepreneurship initiative to develop savvy musicians

Participants from 21 states and Canada will descend on the University of South Carolina campus June 6-9 for The Savvy Musician in ACTION, a unique 4-day experiential retreat designed to help musicians increase income and impact (think The Apprentice meets higher education.) Music professionals, faculty and students will pitch arts-based business ideas, vote on their favorites and form teams to design business models and marketing campaigns to compete for awards. Attendees will experience a variety of learning opportunities including training sessions, peer-teaching, mentorship, an “expert expo,” field research, prototyping, reflection sessions and more. The Savvy MusicianLed by pianist, composer, “The Savvy Musician” author and USC director of music entrepreneurship David Cutler, the retreat brings attendees face to face with thought leaders and entrepreneurs from the arts world. Participants take part in training sessions and learn from experts including Lance LaDuke of the Boston Brass, internationally known as a performer, writer, producer, speaker and educator, and Justin Kantor, co-founder of (Le) Poisson Rouge, a multi-media performance space, art gallery and cabaret in New York's Greenwich Village. The retreat culminates with a Venture Challenge, where teams pitch their proposed arts businesses to a panel of judges including Ken May, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, and Greg Hilton, executive director of Midlands Center for Entrepreneurial and Technological Innovation, as well as a panel of Columbia-based leaders involved with the arts, entrepreneurship and economic development. USC School of Music Dean Tayloe Harding says, "This retreat is a perfect collection of learning and doing experiences for delivering the profound message and companion skills necessary to make one’s way in the world of professional music. The USC School of Music has championed, through its distinctive SPARK: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory, the very principles and visions for our musical futures that are at the heart of this intensive retreat. We are so proud to be able to offer it to musicians and music lovers everywhere who are committed to tomorrow's musically enriched America that is essential for our society." The Savvy Musician in Action is about both music and entrepreneurship. To emphasize this dual goal, one of the retreat’s initiatives is a Chamber Music Competition with winners chosen through a competitive juried process. Open to forward-looking students and young professional chamber groups, the competition's judging criteria included artistic excellence and innovative event design. The winning ensemble, C Street Brass, was awarded full tuition scholarships to the retreat, a $500 stipend and an add-on professional development workshop with retreat faculty. The public is invited to performances by C Street Brass and two runners up during First Thursdays on Main Street, Columbia's cultural festival, on June 6 from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. at Tapp’s Art Center (1644 Main Street). About Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory taps into the creative and imaginative energy of USC music students and faculty and organizes a number of initiatives that benefit the university community. Focused on success, innovation and community, Spark, formerly Carolina Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music (CILEM), prepares music leaders for the 21st century. Spark’s formula for developing leaders is at the core of its mission: Success + Innovation + Community = Leadership. Spark and the USC School of Music are committed not only to cultivating outstanding musicians, but also leaders who are well equipped to succeed professionally.