In order to major in a form of music, whether it is singing, conducting or music performance, there needs to be talent, and lots of it. So, if one decides to make music his or her major, what exactly is he or she to do after graduation?
That’s where “Running Start” comes in. This program, run by the College of Music, helps students gain the skills they need to apply their musical talent in the real world. It introduces students to business concepts and ideas specially designed for music majors to help them market themselves.
David Rayl is director of choral programs and associate dean for graduate studies and research at the College of Music. He’s one of the most instrumental faculty members involved with “Running Start.”
He coordinates the program with Rhonda Buckley, associate dean for outreach and engagement and executive director of the Community Music School.
“Together, our role is one of coordination,” he said. “In the College of Music, we believe in a bottom-up philosophy. The faculty needs to provide leadership and resources.” Rayl also directs the Choral Union, a program put on by CMS, which is a community outreach program run by the College of Music that brings music education to individuals of all ages and abilities in the community. There are two locations, East Lansing and Detroit.
So how exactly did “Running Start” get its name?
“A year ago, we developed an entrepreneurial competition to have students put together a grant proposal that would give them a ‘running start’ into a career-based activity,” Rayl said. “It was from that experience that we came up with the name ‘Running Start,’ and then we used it for the entire program. To me, it’s such an exciting thing, because it’s students putting into action everything we’re teaching them.”