2017 Running Start Competition Winners

Four winners selected from creative live pitch presentations to audience and panel.

April Clobes, MSUFCU president (far left) and Christine Beamer (far right) pose with finalists: Lynnsey Lambrecht, Joseph Herbst, Meg Brennan, Carson Greene, Liany Matteo, Jessica Holmes, Oleg Bezuglov, Meg Brennan, Lia Wang, Hayne Kim, Tanyawat Dilokkun.

Students from the MSU College of Music pitched concepts for music-driven entrepreneurial projects to a live audience in Hart Recital Hall in January with the hopes of receiving financial support to bring their ideas to life.

Concepts presented for the fifth annual competition ranged from music practice apps to online tutoring, as well as singer-songwriter programs, concerts, social justice and community engagement initiatives, informative podcasts, and educational outreach.

At the conclusion of the 90-minute live pitch, four student projects involving a mix of six undergraduate and graduate students were chosen for funding through the 2017 Running Start Competition. Awardees were Carson Greene, Lynnsey Lambrecht, Jordyn Davis, and the Circulo Trio, which consists of Lia Wang, Hayne Kim and Tanyawat Dilokkunanant. See and read more about projects below.

“This year’s projects stood out for their outstanding creativity and competitiveness,” says Christine Beamer, director of career services and entrepreneurship. “In the past year, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the baseline of excellence as well as the number of  projects already in motion and engaging communities.”

Beamer says the competition attracted applications from 16 students or student groups—the most ever—with eight selected to pitch their ideas. This year marked the second year for the live pitch format, with previous years involving closed presentations to a panel of judges. Members of the audience included community members and representatives from MSU’s Undergraduate Entrepreneurship,  Arts and Cultural Management and the Hub for Innovation.

The live pitch format, Beamer says, simulates the experience of presenting ideas to stakeholders and investors—something many artists and musicians frequently do in today’s market. This year’s panel of judges was also expanded to include representatives from the economic development, legal and public policy sectors in addition to the university and arts organizations.

“Broadening our panel ensures our students get a more diverse, real-world perspective on the feasibility of their ideas,” says Beamer. “It also helps us to build an extended network of resources for entrepreneurial initiatives.”

Student presenters had five minutes to pitch their ideas, followed by questions from the panel. Judges included: Sarah Triplett (Creative Many Michigan), Tony Willis (Lansing Economic Area Partnership), Ann Marie Lindley (MSU College of Music), Courtney Millbrook (Lansing Symphony), and Davin Torre (Flint Institute of Music).

Judges deliberated on who would receive top honors, then announced their results to the audience. The first place award was funded by the MSU Federal Credit Union, and the second and third place awards were funded by Cynthia Kay and Company. This year's  new category of honorable mention was funded through the College's annual parents' fundraising campaign and funds raised through the Day-of Giving Campaign.

  • First place: Carson Greene, awarded $2,500 to help fund his project, The Scales App
  • Second place: Lynnsey Lambrecht, awarded $1,500 to help fund her project, Online Theory Tutoring.
  • Third place: Circulo Trio (Lia Wang, Hayne Kim, Tanyawat Dilokkunanant), awarded $1,000 to help fund their project, Shakespeare 400.
  • Honorable mention: Jordyn Davis, awarded $400 to help fund her project Composetheway.

The four other competition finalists who presented projects were Bronwen McVeigh, Joseph Herbst, Oleg Bezuglov and Tesserae (Jessica Holmes, Meg Brennan, Liany Mateo, and Dakota Peterson).

In other new competition features, finalists received expanded feedback from judges and had the opportunity to tour the MSU Hatch: a co-working space adjacent to campus where students can develop their business ideas. Both Greene and Lambrecht recently applied to be part of the Hatch, Beamer says, representing what she believes are the very first College of Music students to join the MSU incubator.  

“It’s a pleasure to work with students as they conceptualize their ideas and put them together for the competition,” says Beamer. “We have fabulous, creative, passionate students who want to make an impact in their field of expertise. Our goal is to open doors for students to engage in entrepreneurship through Running Start, the MSU entrepreneurship minor, and through university-wide entrepreneurial programs and opportunities; and then let those students take their ideas and run with them.”

Beamer says the competition continues to grow and attract interest from students, community members and investors who want to help build and foster entrepreneurship in the arts. To learn more about the College of Music’s entrepreneurial focus for students, visit the Running Start webpage.

Founded in 2012, the Running Start Competition was developed by the College of Music and is designed to help students think about their careers in an entrepreneurial way, formulate new paths, and forge collaborations that bring artistry into real-world applications. The Running Start Competition provides cash awards to selected students in support of projects that will likely have substantial positive impact on their careers. The 2017 competition is generously supported by the MSU Federal Credit Union and Cynthia Kay and Company.

Student presentations and projects

Click on profiles below to view details.

The Scales App. First place award. Carson Greene, pursuing bachelor’s in clarinet performance and computer science. The project involves the development of an app that makes it easy to practice scales in a random order. [see video]


Online Theory Tutoring. Second place award. Lynnsey Lambrecht, pursuing a doctorate in composition and master’s in music theory. The project involves creating an online music theory tutoring resource that provides students with free access to short-term live chat and appointments with qualified tutors. [see video]


Shakespeare 400. Third place award. Circulo Trio: Tanyawat Dilokkunanant, Zhao Wang and Hayne Kim. The project involves the commission of a musical-dramatic rendition of a Shakespeare play for violin, clarinet and piano trio, and one actor. The project enables an exchange of creative ideas between art forms for the purpose of creative a work that engages a wide audience. [see video]


Composetheway. Honorable mention. Jordyn Davis, pursuing a bachelor’s in jazz studies and composition. Composetheway is a singer-songwriter project meant to encourage and empower people to live for themselves while being more understanding of the lives of others. [see video]


Air Classical. Oleg Bezuglov, pursuing a master’s in violin. The project involves creating an online-based podcast channel and internet radio station that serves professional classical musicians and music students. The station will focus on gathering and distributing useful information to support the classical music community through live interviews with professional artists.


The Carbon Neutral Concert Series. Joseph Herbst, pursuing a bachelor’s in saxophone and jazz studies. The concert series project aims to bring together environmentalism and music to empower people to act on environmental issues.


Tesserae.  Jessica Holmes a College of Music master’s student, and Dakota Peterson, Meg Brennan, Liany Mateo, pursuing bachelor’s degrees in jazz studies. This project involves going out to grade schools to give jazz master classes that emphasize creativity and women in the jazz field.


Live-pitch videos:

The Scales App

Online Theory Tutoring

Shakespeare 400


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