by Dr. Paul Guise (originally published in 2005)

is an arts consultant, conductor and music educator living in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
Check out his website at

Last month we saw the variety of Canadian colleges that offer music business content. This month, we’ll look at Canadian universities, several of which have been making great strides to provide business education to music students without compromising the rest of their music education. Here are the schools, again listed by province, from west to east.

Want to include music business education in your university course mix? If you’re living west of Sudbury, ON, Brandon University (Manitoba) is your only choice, with one business course that is targeted specifically to musicians, Introduction to Arts Administration. This course is designed to provide students with certain administrative skills that are handy for musicians working within organizations such as schools and professional ensembles. These skills may, or may not, readily transfer to more entrepreneurial situations.

Ontario is home to five universities that offer music business programs, but only two of these offer music business courses. Carleton University, in Ottawa, has two music business courses. The first of these, Music Industries, is designed as, “an introduction to the structure and history of the music industries,” and as such focuses on historical and theoretical, as opposed to practical/professional, issues in the music industries. Carleton also lists Music, the Law and Morality, but this course exists only on paper and has not yet been taught. The University of Ottawa offers eight music business courses within their Arts Administration certificate program, four in English and four in French, followed by two Work Period options. The four courses are Selected Topics in Arts Administration/Thèmes choisis en administration des arts, Administration of Artistic and Cultural Organizations I-II/Gestion des organismes artistiques et culturels I-II, and Interdisciplinary Seminar/Séminare interdisciplinaire. The University of Ottawa has the broadest music business offering of any university in Canada, in both English and French (you can even mix & match!). The University of Waterloo, University of Western Ontario, and Wilfred Laurier University each offer musicians business content through their respective business departments, but this business content is not tailored to the needs of musicians or the artistic community at large.

University students in Québec have three options for music business education, one in English and two in French. McGill University, in Montréal, requires all students in its performance program to enroll in Life as a Professional Musician, a course which is closed to all other music students (despite great demand, according to the instructor). Guest lecturers are used for eleven of the thirteen class days, and thus content varies according to the guest list. McGill may begin offering a three-credit course in music marketing in the future. Université de Montréal offers Gestion de carrière (Career Management), a music business survey course that covers career development, management, marketing, finance, legal aspects, production, and distribution. Particular attention is paid to the subtleties of the Québec marketplace. Université de Sherbrooke also offers a single, French-language course, Industrie de la musique (The Music Industry). This course is similar to that at U Montréal, but is essentially taught as a music-specific exercise in strategic/career planning.

Two schools in Nova Scotia offer music business programs, with Acadia University in Wolfville combining discrete music courses and business courses. St. Francis Xavier (Antigonish), on the other hand, offers The Business of Music, a well structured survey course that touches on many areas of the music business. The course is guided throughout my materials that result in the students’ construction of a business/career plan, and is well supported by an excellent website,

Finally, Canada’s easternmost university, Memorial University of Newfoundland, offers a single music business course, Music Industries Seminar. This course is part of a new M.Mus. Performance program, and as such is the only graduate-level music business course in Canada. Because the course has only been taught once, content is still somewhat flexible, but Music Industries Seminar is a broad survey course that makes extensive use of guest lecturers.

Thus concludes our look at the majority of options facing musicians who want to improve their knowledge of the business side of the profession. Too much school? In the next few articles, we’ll move on to look at the basics of how to plan for your future business, including how to conduct an environmental scan. Not sure what that is? Tune in next month!