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The Boulder

Top: Peter Nicieja ’20. Middle: Anna Roth ’20. Bottom: Mark Rabideau.

DePauw Magazine

Fall 2019

The Boulder


21CM: Enhancing Careers and the Community Through Music

Written by: Sarah McAdams

Musicians have always had to be entrepreneurial.

But music students “were expected to learn that magically on their own or to learn it in real time,” said Mark Rabideau, director of DePauw’s 21st Century Musician Initiative.

The initiative, known as 21CM, was created to change that, to prepare students in DePauw’s School of Music not only to make music, but to make a living.

The initiative is the eighth of DePauw’s centers that provide cocurricular programming and exploration activities for students, especially those participating in the Gold Commitment. Commitment students must pursue certain activities to be eligible for DePauw’s guarantee that they will be in a positive outcome – a job, fellowship or graduate school – within six months of graduation or DePauw will find them a first job or bring them back for a tuition-free term.

21CM was launched in 2013 to enhance the School of Music curriculum with the goal of creating entrepreneurial professionals prepared for today’s music world. Judson Green ’74 and Joyce Taglauer Green ’75 donated $15 million to establish the initiative, which teaches music students about community engagement, audience development, business and entrepreneurial skills and advocacy.

“Music is embraced throughout every culture without boundaries,” Rabideau said. “We live in an increasingly connected world, which offers influence and inspiration for opening our imaginations, as technology provides unprecedented access to global audiences.

“Yet it has never been more of a struggle for musicians to make a living at their art – at least when following traditional paths.”

 Peter Nicieja ’20, a baritone voice student with a double major in communication, said the approach has had a profound effect on him. 

 “After engaging with 21CM, students will likely never look at their instruments the same,” he said. “Instead, they will see the countless opportunities to use their musical talent and personal skills to make lasting impacts.”

Nicieja said the most exciting aspect of 21CM is learning skills in leadership and creativity in the classroom and applying them to the real world. 

In his Entrepreneurship class taught by Rabideau, he worked with fellow students to create a music-related, multimedia project that raised more than $1,000 for the Alzheimer's Association.  

“The following semester, I took the skills I learned from Professor Rabideau's class and hosted a similar event for WGRE 91.5 that featured live musicians and collected school supplies for Greencastle students.”

Senior Anna Roth, a mezzo-soprano studying vocal performance and minoring in German language, said she has developed a sense of confidence in her ability to navigate the modern music industry because of her involvement in 21CM.

If students pay attention to the details of their 21CM classes, “not only will they grow as artists and widen their perception of what is possible, but they will acquire the skills and experiences necessary to build confidence and ensure their success as professional musicians,” she said.

Students outside the School of Music also benefit from 21CM through “opportunities to explore their own personal creativity – a critical attribute of leaders the world needs – through artistic experiences, career-building workshops, inspired talks and winter term courses,” Rabideau said.

In addition, 21CM has spawned an online music magazine, 21CM.org, and Music on the Square. 21CM.org provides resources to help professional and aspiring musicians thrive, not just survive, in the modern musical landscape. It offers, among other things, tips to help musicians find their niche; profiles of musicians finding their way; and events notices.

Music on the Square, located in a former Goodwill store on the Greencastle square, has performance and rehearsal spaces and offers programming by Communiversity, a DePauw-Greencastle collaboration; storytellers; faculty recitals; student performances; and more. The Greens purchased the building and gave it to DePauw with the hope that music and the arts strengthen the fabric of the community.

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