Running Start Bolsters Career Goals

New staff contributes to entrepreneurial landscape within the College of Music.

Jon Whiting conducts “Recording Smarts for Musicians,” a workshop for students to help them discover how to make their recordings stand out.

Christine Beamer is off and running as she works with College of Music students to chart pathways toward creative musical careers. 

As the director of career services and music entrepreneurship, Beamer is the first staff member at MSU who is dedicated to facilitating programs for career and musical entrepreneurship. Since starting in July, she has stepped up to lead and grow Running Start: an innovative, multidisciplinary program that can equip students for life as working musicians. As a member of MSU’s Career Services Network, Beamer has established connections with other university departments and programs to fully engage music students in campus-wide, career-focused opportunities and internships.

“We’re helping students channel their passions into 21st-century career possibilities,” says Beamer. “The program is all about showing you ways to set yourself apart and give you that running start in a very crowded marketplace.”

Within her first few months on campus, Beamer has added to the mix of resources and programs that enable College of Music students to build richer musical connections and networks. She has started a series of workshops that invited College of Music students to engage across areas and learn about topics that range from networking to recording. In cooperation with other music areas, she hosted three guest artists to talk about their careers. She booked more than a half dozen groups or individuals through the Greater Lansing Community Concert Series, and formed a student advisory board to broaden the educational outreach of the series. And she also formulated a music-specific career advising program so music students can access advice tailored to their career path.

“Running Start is truly a partnership among faculty, students, and the various stakeholders in the College of Music,” says Beamer. “We’re working to expand the offerings and we welcome input from both faculty and students as we grow and develop the program.”

Running Start was launched in 2012 through the vision and collaborative thinking of College of Music faculty members. As an enhancement to the college’s curriculum, Running Start now offers students the chance to tap a variety of services, activities, and tools that include individual career coaching, events and workshops, courses, entrepreneurial and performance opportunities, and online resources for internships, job, auditions, and more. The program also connects students with faculty, alumni, and professionals in business and music. An annual competition supported by the MSU Federal Credit Union encourages students to explore start-up businesses, while student-focused incubators at MSU like The Hatch and The Hive provide students a gateway to campus-wide resources for entrepreneurship.

Running Start, say College leadership, engages music students from the moment they step through the door. It’s a way for students to develop a career-mindset while they continue to build their musical talent, portfolio, and academic excellence at MSU.

“Running Start is a multi-faceted program designed to guide, teach, and prepare our students for a changing workforce from their first year on campus, through graduation and beyond,” says James Forger, dean of the College of Music. “It’s a program that is deeply committed to the future success of our students.” 

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