This week, I interviewed one of my fellow classmates, Laura Wilkinson, about her participation in the Club Management practicum class offered by the AEMM Department. Next week, the class will be hosting their first student-run event of the semester called the Homeroom Songwriter Showcase. I felt like it was an ideal opportunity to find out more about what’s in store…
Before I get to the interview though, a little bit about the event:
The showcase is taking place next week at Haus @ the Quincy Wong Center on March 7, at 6:30PM. The class has invited songwriters from diverse musical backgrounds to perform—Yoo Soo Kim of Hemmingbirds, Mark Goldberg-Foss of Marcel Marcel, Hanna Ashbrook, and Rockfalls. The artists will discuss their song-writing processes and influences, and each songwriter will be paired with another to learn one of his or her songs. Without a full band, the songwriters’ techniques and philosophies will be laid bare, and attendees will be given a glimpse into the intricacies of the songwriting craft.
So now that you know about the event, time to hear from one of the organizers!
Hi Laura. Please introduce yourself and the course to the Marginalia readers.
Hello! My name is Laura Wilkinson, and I’m a second-year graduate student in the AEMM Department. My background is in theatre, so I was thrilled to be able to take this club management practicum class. This class is perfect for anyone interested in producing events or managing a club or performance venue. I know it’s early in the semester for me to be saying this, but this is my favorite class I’ve taken at Columbia! It’s a great way to learn some practical skills with a focus on the performing arts.
What has been a highlight of the course so far? Have you been able to apply the skills you have learned on other courses?
Helping to plan the Homeroom Songwriter Showcase has definitely been a highlight, because it involved collaborating with an established Chicago non-profit called Homeroom. Our class produces events in small groups, and as the team’s marketing lead I had the opportunity to design a poster, write a press release, and ask businesses for sponsorships and donations. I’ve used my accounting skills to create a budget for an event, which will be presented to the AEMM Department for approval. It’s so real! One major skill I’ve picked up in grad school is the ability to reach out to people for help and information, and I’ve also had a lot of practice working in groups. This class is very helpful because each group member’s role is clearly defined, so even though we can all pitch in for everything, ultimately we know who is accountable for what, just like in an (ideal) office or professional environment.
It sounds like you guys are having a great time. Do you have any more exciting things in store for the semester?
Yes, we have really fun events planned for every other Thursday this semester! I am especially excited about the events I’m helping to produce, including an interactive music/spring break kickoff night on March 21st and a burlesque night on April 25th. I predict that the burlesque show will be insanely fun and packed!
What advice would you give to prospective students?
Try something new! The burlesque night is something I never thought I would help to produce, but after my team suggested it I thought it was a great idea, and I couldn’t be happier about it. My original pitches were safely inside my comfort zone, so I’m excited to follow my group members in new and unexpected directions. In the words of Tina Fey (and improv gurus before her), say yes and figure it out afterward. It’s more fun to contribute and take a risk.