main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

main menu

Courses: Fall 2016

1-Credit Mini-Courses

EXCEL mini-courses, for undergraduate and graduate students, meet one evening a week in only the first two months of a term – check each description for precise meeting dates. They allow you to learn new skills and strategies that will amplify your artistry, taught by a variety of experts from the U-M community!

Money Smarts for Artists

ARTSADMN 406/506, Section 001
Wednesdays, 6:30–8:30 9/14-10/26 Moore 2044
Instructor: Jonathan Kuuskoski, Assistant Director, EXCEL


Artists often treat money as a dirty word, yet an inability to develop sustainable income and, in turn, to manage their financial resources is one of the primary reasons highly trained arts professionals leave the field. What are the different ways in which artists earn money? How do you manage personal and professional funds? How do you deduct professional expenses from your income taxes? How does one save money for big projects or to meet financial goals. What about health insurance and retirement planning? How can a budget help you meet your artistic, personal, and long term financial needs? This course will explore these types of important questions surrounding personal and professional finances, coupling both the nuts and bolts of budgeting with an exploration of how to identify and balance multiple income streams based on one’s artistic passions, abilities, and demand areas. Each student will develop a personal financial strategy and related decision-making skills, such as how to price one’s products competitively in a way that still respects the value of his or her work. We will look at passive and active income models, and each student will leave the course with a personalized budget for the first year post-graduation and with a set of smart strategies for planning and balancing multiple income streams.

DIY Marketing and Social Media

ARTSADMN 406/506, Section 002
Mondays, 6:30–8:30, 9/12–10/24, Moore 2044 Instructor: Sara Billmann, Director of Marketing & Communications, UMS


The Internet presents an array of low- to no-cost tools from email, websites and blogs to Facebook fanpages, Twitter feeds, and online survey tools that individuals can use to share their stories and promote their own career opportunities. Yet such democratization has also fragmented the mass media, in an era where public arts coverage is also dwindling. This course addresses both marketing theory and best practices that will allow enterprising individuals to create a professional virtual toolkit that showcases their strongest assets. Students will learn which self-marketing strategies serve what purpose and how to prioritize the development of various materials and resources, as well as develop a customized plan based on individual goals. Classes will include a look into the backend analytics of the various tools to gain a full understanding of how to assess success. The course will be led by veteran arts marketer Sara Billmann, who has worked with hundreds of different artists of all kinds for the past 20 years as marketing director for UMS. Coursework will include in-class activities and several short papers designed to help students apply their learning to their own professional goals. At course’s end, participants will be on their way to developing a promotional tool, polished through peer and professional feedback.

The Recording Industry: Selling Your Music to the World

ARTSADMN 406/506, Section 003
Tuesdays, 6:30–8:30, 9/13–10/25, Moore 2038
Instructor: Jeremy Peters, Ghostly International & Quite Scientific Records


“How do I sell my music on iTunes? Do I need a commercial recording label? Can I release an album on my own? What rules and laws do I need to think about? How hard is it to get an album on Spotify?” Musicians of all stripes face these questions when considering how to release and promote the music they’ve created in audio or video format. This class will answer these questions (and more), focusing on the real-world application of entrepreneurial, legal, business, and artistic considerations required to promote and sell music digitally today. You’ll learn basic music industry standards and the necessary legal considerations that come into play when releasing music online. We’ll delve into the process of preparing recordings for release in digital formats, how to decide which service providers are most effective for your goals, and ultimately release your recordings online! You’ll also learn about promoting your work and how to track your business efforts. Finally, we’ll explore current trends and future directions in the music business. Active engagement and participation is vital to success in this hands-on, experiential class. Come prepared to participate and bring your recordings and videos! The course will be taught by Jeremy Peters, a director of Ghostly International and owner of Quite Scientific Records.

Writing About Your Art: Bios, Blogs, Websites & Grants

ARTSADMN 406/506, Section 004
Tuesdays, 6:30–8:30 PM, 9/13–10/25, Moore 2044
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Kuster, Executive Editor MUSA


Artists today not only have to perform compelling work at the highest levels of quality, but must be advocates for their creative vision. Writing well about your art can both help you identify your creative voice and inspire others to support your work by attending performances, donating to your cause, or approving grant funding to advance your artistic mission. In this course, you will explore how artists today are giving voice to their creative activities through traditional vehicles such as professional bios and grant proposals as well as new technology-enabled conduits such as tweets, blogs, websites, and crowdfunding appeals. Writing is an old technology but remains a vital skill for the twenty-first century artist who must serve as his or her own agent, publicist, development director, and program note annotator. In this mini course, you will develop a suite of small projects and exercises geared toward identifying your own artistic vision and sharing that vision with strategic audiences. Students will complete the course with a personalized advocacy plan targeting their own professional goals.

main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower