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School of Music

Spark-Carolina's Music Leadership Laboratory

Spark Laboratory

Sparks ignite. Sparks are catalysts that fire innovation, creativity and imagination. Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory taps into the creative and imaginative energy of USC music students and faculty.

Spring 2015 Events


Discussion Over Dinner

My Unexpected Musical Journey: Life After USC

Fri., March 20, 4:45–6:30 p.m.
School of Music, room 006
Guest alumni: Danny Infantino, Russ Zokaites and Cary Byrd. 
RSVP for free dinner.
See the details.

Bach in the Subways Day
USC Musicians play Bach at Drip on Main

Sat., March 21, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
It’s J. S. Bach’s 330th birthday, and musicians are filling the world with his music...129 cities, 39 countries and growing! Bach in the Subways Day is an international movement founded to sow the seeds for future generations of classical music lovers. Every year on March 21, Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, musicians around the world celebrate the master by offering performances in public spaces. The music is given freely as a gift, and as an invitation to explore classical music.

C Street Brass Residency

Feb. 11–18
See the details.


Musicians as Educators: Practical Advice and Innovative Ideas

Mon., Feb. 2 - Professional Opportunities
Wed., Feb. 4 - Transforming Teaching
Regardless of specialty, just about all music professionals have a teaching aspect to their career. Presenting 30 USC faculty and community leaders, this event is designed to help you succeed as a musician-educator. See the details.

Fall 2014 Events


Discussion Over Dinner

Practice Strategies: How to Maximize Results in Less Time

Fri., Nov. 7, 4:45–6:30 p.m.
School of Music, room 006
Featuring Rebecca Nagel, Tina Stallard, Charles Fugo and Daniel Sweaney.
RSVP for free dinner.

C Street Brass Residency

Sept. 22–26, 2014
Read about the residency.

C Street Brass Concert
Wed., Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m.
School of Music Recital Hall – FREE

Beauty Slap Concert
Fri., Sept. 26, 10 p.m.
Conundrum Music Hall (626 Meeting St, West Columbia)
$10 Purchase tickets online.

Wellness Friday: Advice for your musical mind, body, and wallet

Sept. 5, 2014
Reserve your spot for dinner at Wellness Friday (it's free). Dinner is at 5:45 p.m. in room 006, just before Rick Ackerman's powerhouse presentation: "6 Habits for Personal Financial Success." See the schedule.

Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory

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 our mission:
Success + Innovation + Community = Leadership

Learn about these nine leadership pillars and the initiatives we support.

Success Innovation Community
1 - Career 4 - Entrepreneurship 7 - Collaboration
2 - Finances 5 - Creativity and Big Ideas 8 - Engagement
3 - Wellness 6 - Technology 9 - Advocacy


Are there too many musicians?

Emphatically no! On the contrary, there are not nearly enough musicians. Music affects our mind, soul and psyche in a way that few other things can. It brings communities together and provides relief for the many stresses, large and small, that face humanity. In today’s culture of workaholics and high-pressure negotiations, where the bottom line often takes precedence over inner peace and happiness, music making has the potential of unlocking a better life.

Are there too many professional musicians?

This question is far more complex. If it asks whether there are too many individuals seeking existing traditional opportunities, the unfortunate answer is yes. We are now forced to confront a workplace reality that is over-saturated with well-trained, outstanding candidates vying for a shrinking pool of traditional positions. In the years ahead, these trends will likely intensify. It is the age-old equation of supply and demand.  But the ways in which people receive their music is changing, as are the types of experiences they seek, and that provides an exciting opportunity. Musicians who broaden their outlook and approach have distinct advantages.

We need leaders

The music world is in need of creative artists who understand current realities and are brave enough to experiment with new solutions and paradigms. There are opportunities waiting to be discovered by performers who bring great music to new settings, educators who instill its transcendent and spiritual values to students, and administrators who foster new audiences while insisting that artistic integrity remain high. There is a shortage of entrepreneurial leaders unveiling new models for success and artist-citizens leading the crusade to keep meaningful musical experiences vibrant.

Above excerpt from "The Savvy Musician," by David Cutler