Super-Stardom is a Team Effort

Any big musical artist you see on stage isn’t necessarily a renaissance man that achieved super-stardom by himself. No no no… It is a combined effort from a dozen elite, and hundreds of “smaller roles”; all to produce one iconic performer.

Of course the main discipline is music. Performance and composition, which in many cases isn’t thought up by the one who sings it. Basically, if you google search any modern hit, it is written by multiple people. The song itself though, goes thru a series of edits by multiple fields just in the music realm. Lyricists lay down the blueprints, then audio nerds come in and put instruments behind it, then its recorded by a couple people, then its mastered by a producer. Generally, with big labels, it goes thru a process like this.

At the same time, there is a team of businessmen who deal with eh financial part of things. A team of marketers that deal with social media, and get the name of their star out there. A crew of people who know audio and stage equipment that set up before, during, and after shows. A choreographer that makes the dance moves and entrances of any back up dancers.

So many things go into the performance, into the music, and into the image of one music star, that it goes across several disciplines. Anyone who is in a big label works with a team of business, music, and arts orientated people to produce a persona and act for one person to take credit for. What goes behind the scenes itself is a success story, and the many disciplines that it takes to create it is crazy.


A link on the importance of marketing, showing how you need a team of them to be very popular:


A link on how many people it takes to put on a performance:

What does it Take to Put on a Major Concert at the Schottenstein Center?



Out of the blue the professor decides to take things to the next level. I feel like I’m ready. I know how to use the digital audio workstation. We have done a few practice assignments just like this before. Okay, I’m ready… –Basically what was happening, is that my class is about to embark on a cluster project. Clusters were very new at the time, and I wasn’t sure how this was going to go down.

My professor matched up our music technology class with a video production class. We were going to score their films. Everything went great the first time we met… The two professors planned for both classes to meet at the same time and place. Then, when we did meet, we all talked and discussed the type of styles we liked to produce from our mediums. The only problem was that many of the groups that were matched up from mingling never talked again.

One thing my professor has always said is that in this discipline, communication is key, especially when you’re dealing with people that don’t really understand yours. McCreedy states in her article that “our society is only starting to get the ball rolling on interdisciplinary communication.” He goes on to expand on that by sharing a story of architects affecting habitats with a damn, because of their lack of knowledge with environmental science.

What drew me to the disciplines that I am interested in are experiences such as the one I shared before. To be good at actually partaking in a project with a client I need good business skills. And then, thinking even before that, I need to be good at marketing myself, so that I can even have the opportunity to do my job. What was interesting to Chapman “was thinking about disciplines outside of education and how they interact with each other and in which ways they belong to a social community”. And she shows how there are communities, and how there are interactions between them.

All of the knowledge I’ve developed for disciplines is from experience as well. It is so interesting to see when two fields interact in their natural ways, and combining them (at least to me) is extraordinary. I feel like mastering the combination of two disciplines can be lethal in the job environment (lethal in the good way).

“The academic disciplines of today and the modern concept of disciplinarity are largely the product of developments in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries” (The History of the Academy and the Disciplines). Just because it is a field of study doesn’t mean that their isn’t more to it. Every field of study impacts more, and needs communication and consideration of other fields to be effective. This is what makes me interested in disciplinary knowledge.

Music Production and Entrepreneurship

The title I have chosen for my program is called Music Production and Entrepreneurship. It is a program designed to prepare myself in the music technology field to be better at the art of composing, as well as run my business. I created this program by taking the basis of a Music Technology degree, adding business courses, and exchanging out a number of music courses for ones that would make one better prepared to be a music producer/composer. There is no other major in the music realm that has a strong focus on composition. Every other music degree requires the specialization in an instrument, but no major with a composition focus exists. I have chosen each course carefully, assessing their importance to the job field intended. I acknowledged the necessities of being well informed in music theory strongly, as knowing how to understand and operate the technologies of digital audio workstations, as well as market myself out in the field via medias, is essential. The reality that there is no music degree with a strong focus on composition, as well as the fact that I wanted to mix the disciplines of music and business, are the leading reasons of why I believe this major is  appropriate.     

I created this program because I wanted to spend the focus of my education leading up to producing my own music and running my own business. My goal is to compose on a virtual platform and run my own business marketing my product. I have been composing for years now, and I believe that the classes I have chosen can help me become more educated and prepared. Ever since I took my first music technology class my freshman year of high school, I knew that this was something that I wanted to do as a career.  

This program is different than any other major or minor here at PSU because it focuses on the art of musical composition itself as well as running/marketing your business as a multimedia composer. Other majors here don’t focus enough on the compositional or business side of the trade, and those are two things that I feel are essential for my desired career path. This major is truly an interdisciplinary product, and could only exist with modifications from any other majors.  

The courses from the music department that I have included will both lay down a foundation for music theory, as well as give me the basis for technology for music. Piano Class I and Piano Class II are classes that I have already taken. They both laid down the foundations of keyboard theory while also focusing on skills such as reading sheet music. Piano comprehension is a basic necessity, and in those two classes I’ve felt like those skills have been enforced. Musicianship I, Musicianship II, Musicianship III, and Musicianship IV are all classes that I have taken for music theory. They have provided me with the basic skills and understandings of music theory. Seminar in the Music Business is another course very relevant to producing music. It goes over things like copyright, songwriting and publishing digital works, which is essential so I go about regular operations professionally. Intro to Hard Disk Recording is a class that I’ve taken that focuses on the equipment needed to produce my product. It explores the equipment crucial to recording and filtering sound for a successful multimedia workstation. Arranging is a class that goes over the basics for orchestral instrumentation, and delivers a strong compositional background for non-digital instruments. I took this class my junior year, and it continues to be highly applicable to any compositional work that I do. Composition is a one credit course that I have taken a few semesters of, and continue to for its constructiveness. I meet with a professor in a small group to discuss the piece that I am currently working on. It is helpful as it is me composing pieces, and then hearing reviews from peers and the professor.  Music Technology Senior Project and Music Technology Junior Project are classes that will evaluate mastering, composing, and the ability to produce a final product parallel to that of which would be in the real world. It is necessary as these will be an exercise meant to put many of the things I’ve been learning together.  

The courses that I’ve included for business will help me develop my business, and help structure my future career. Principles of Marketing is a class that I have taken that focuses on… well, the main principles of marketing. I feel like this is class is necessary from it giving the basic understandings of marketing, and how to market your business. A second class in business that I’ve taken is Organizational Behavior. A big complication of being a multimedia composer is communication with clients, and in this class you learn effect ways to communicate, as well as basic experimentation with teamwork and projects. When assessing which classes would be most appropriate, Small Business/Entrepreneurship Marketing and Operations grabbed my interest by being very relevant. The goal is to set myself up for running a small business, which means I need to know the basics, including how to market myself. Social Media Strategy is another class that I chose in the business field. I chose this class because much of what I will be producing will be for virtual medias, and the primary way to market is on social media. This class helps optimize your influence on social medias, giving you a breakdown of your marketing results.    

The interdisciplinary classes that I’m required to take are designed to help market and develop my business. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies is an essential class regarding the marketing side of my major. It will establish a way to market myself, and give me the knowledge on how to market myself. Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar is the final piece on completing my major, allowing for reflection and how it integrates into my next steps after this educational chapter.   

My QRCO is Statistics I, and it has given me the tools to interpret data and the ability to assess any trends from said data. I took this my sophomore year, and the skills it has taught me are important to have.    

The major I made is interdisciplinary due to its focuses, music and business, being two separate fields of study. I brought them together in a way that produces a pathway to use one to fuel another, in other words giving me the ability to create a product and market it. Giving me the tools to compose music, and run my own business. Being able to compose using the sound equipment and DAWs is an art form itself, but also bringing the ability to market yourself into the world sets one up for success.   


Looking back at this essay, I feel like it is time for some self-reflection. Time has passed, and I am progressing with my studies. Many other of the Interdisciplinary students writing for this assignment have probably spent a good two years or so following their road map to their major, while I, the last-minute minority, have had a small journey in IDS. I took the introduction seminar for IDS last semester, as I decided to make my own major my senior year. Now that everything is falling into place nicely, I can safely say that I am glad I decided to do it– but I wish that I decided to much earlier on. I feel like it is a success, even though this IDS status has only been on my shoulders for a number of months. Having my own major is pretty cool, if I am being honest. I stand out in many of the classes I am taking this semester, and am becoming quite the mutt. I am a Music Tech Marine, that is from the land of beaches (Cape Cod). I’m also learning about business and marketing within my studies, and loves to exercise. I’m proud of where I am at, and am in large part thankful to IDS for that.

Within the classes I am taking this semester, aside from standing out from what my major is called, I also feel like I have a different perspective on things. From all of my other focuses I feel like I bring a creative train of thought to discussions. Just the other day one of professors replied to my proposed concept to add to our collaborative list, and he stated that he never heard what I said applied in that way. Even though my IDS journey lasted a total of two semesters, I believe that the fundamentals of what interdisciplinary means gave me a lot.

Interdisciplinary Pros for Learning

I believe that interdisciplinary will improve my education by giving me a new lens to it. Education is straightforward in a way. There is a curriculum, and everybody follows the learning path that it states, even though everyones education goal definitely isn’t the same. With interdisciplinary I am making my own route, one that fits my desires. That is what initially attracted me, and that will improve my future by it being exactly what I want to do. I am passionate about this learning, and that will keep me more engaged. The tie spent learning is optimal, no time is lost in classes I won’t need– I literally handpicked these courses to fit my end goal.

An example of optimal application of learning here is a project from the developing phases of Plymouth’s clustering idea. Us Music Tech kids paired up with Film kids to score their films. It is exactly what I’ll be doing in the future. Communicating with clients, collaborating arts to create an end project that we can be proud of. This experience made me see that learning like that this, intertwining disciplines, results in the relevant exploration that is crucial for learning about your job field. I mean, my assignment in my example was ultimately my job. Gregorian states it nicely by stating “it is really just shorthand for saying that the complexity of the world requires us to have a better understanding of the relationships and connections between all fields that intersect and overlap”. Understanding the other fields that you will utilize or be in contact with is necessary for performance, and that’s what you need to learn– how to perform what you’re going to do. Most jobs, if not all, can arguably be being performed by using two or more disciplines.

Nissani agrees with this thought of mastering two or more disciplines together. “To overcome the negative sides of specialization, to retain its vitality, the academy must cultivate interdisciplinary knowledge and research.” By being knowledgable about multiple sides, I believe the education I receive through interdisciplinary will give me an edge. Ristuccia stated that “Engaging in Interdisciplinary studies has broadened my understanding of entrepreneurship, abstract thinking, metacognition, and love of learning”. I don’t think I could’ve stated that any better for how I feel interdisciplinary is making me feel.

Multidisciplinary is the fruit salad that pulls pieces from here and there. Sure that is nice, but having the full smoothie of multiple fields. Mastering the arts in a way that you synthesize it into something new and utilizable is innovative. I don’t want to be looking for what jobs accept my type of degree, I’d rather be looking now for what degrees match my type of job.