AEC-SMS: Entrepreneurship Working Group (Dec 2017-Dec 2021)

For over a decade already, Pearle* has been a key partner of The Association Européenne des Conservatoires (AEC) to bring in the scope from the daily practice of the sector.

Higher  Music Education Institutions (HMEIs) play a crucial role in safeguarding, developing and promoting European cultural heritage and diversity, facilitating access to cultural offerings and cultural education for all, and contributing to economic growth through the creation of new jobs and new business models in the creative sector.

The Music HEIs' graduates will become key cultural and creative players of tomorrow and, if equipped with the appropriate skills, competencies and know-how,  will contribute decisively to strengthening the cultural and creative sectors and to promoting innovation within them.

AEC has had a significant impact in encouraging Music HEIs to adapt to change, embrace innovation and open up new fields of activities. 

AEC-SMS represents a bold new step in the Association’s continuing work to provide this impetus. 

In the framework of the Strengthening Music in Society Project (SMS), Strand 3Entrepreneurship (Entrepreneurial mind-set for musicians), Pearle* is part of the working group on entrepreneurship.

The specific objective of this strand is to embed entrepreneurial skills in the education of the artist to better prepare students for the challenges they will face in their future role as musician-entrepreneur. To enable artists to gain new skills which will enrich their professional life and embrace their chances in the labour market.
Each project strand is carried out by a working group (WG), composed of representatives of AEC member institutions, a student and representatives of relevant external partners.
Activities and tasks of the working group will include:

    • Collecting practices in relation to entrepreneurship and audience engagement/development models among AEC member institutions, partners from the creative industry as well as projects funded by the European Commission
    • Developing a workshop model to be delivered in Music HEIs to train teaching staff in the latest teaching and learning techniques in the field of entrepreneurship from 2019 onwards
    • Work out guidelines on Entrepreneurship and Audience engagement models in the music sector
    • Prepare a handbook and online portal on how to integrate Entrepreneurship into Music HEIs training
    • Presenting the results of the WG at AEC events (such as AEC Congress 2019, dedicated to Entrepreneurship and the Early Music Conference organised by REMA in Autumn 2020)
    • Delivering a workshop/boot camp for students in connection with an AEC event
    • Contributing to preparing the AEC Congress 2021 (showcasing the outcomes of the SMS project)
    • Giving input to other SMS working groups (including to the WG on Music’s and higher music education institutions’ role in society)
    • Establishing close contacts with the Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe Pearle* (who will be asked to suggest a representative to be part of the WG), with the European Jazz Network EJN (in the form of a joint activity to support artists' development and new talents) and with more partners (e.g. REMA)

Working group members

  • Oana Michaela Balan - Academy of Music "Gheorghe Dima", Cluj-Napoca
  • Payam Gul Susanni - Yasar University, Izmir
  • Pieter Schoonderwoerd - Conservatorium Maastricht (Chair)
  • Vourneen Ryan - Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin
  • Pearle* representative - Anita Debaere
  • Student representative - Camilla Overgaard
  • Angéla Dominguez/Paulina Gut - AEC (Project Team Members)

For more information on the project, visit the AEC SMS website

SMS Podcast - The entrepreneurial mindset in time of uncertainty

In the framework of the project Strengthening Music in Society (SMS), the Working Group on Entrepreneurial mind-set for musicians – of which Pearle* is a member - is currently developing a set of podcasts addressing relevant topics on this subject.

Pearle is happy to share with you the first episode, titled The entrepreneurial mind-set in time of uncertainty.


The COVID-19 crisis has hit the culture sector very hard. Concert halls, venues, and festivals were the first to close and the last to reopen, with a part still not operating at all. Despite strict confinement to temper the pandemic, music didn’t stop, including live music! There is a need for a new approach to career-related education in conservatories. Knowledge, skills and mindset is important for all not only to cope with change but to see change as an opportunity.

In this very first episode, you will listen to Libby Percival and Canberk Duman who used their creativity, imagination and entrepreneurial mindset to explore new business models, build new communities, take their social responsibility, create new artistic work, and so much more. 

Listen here.



All podcasts are designed and prepared by the members of the WG and recorded and led by Olaf Bruns. The musical introduction and closing were composed by Camilla Overgaard and the voice was Vourneen Ryan (WG 3 members).

Other episodes of this series of podcasts are available here.

Olaf Bruns is a Brussels-based journalist. A former Deputy Head of the Brussels office of the international TV news broadcaster Euronews, he now works as a freelancer. Amongst others, he writes for the European Green Journal and is the deputy editor-in-chief of the quarterly magazine Progressive Post. He provides Media Training via Crown Media and teaches journalism at the Brussels-based media school IHECS. He holds a master’s degree in Social Anthropology from Paris XIII University with several years of social science research work in various African countries.

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