Project Management for Musicians

Author: Jonathan Feist   •   Course Code: OLSOC-180

Working in the music industry involves a never-ending series of projects. For musicians, managers, and industry entrepreneurs, this could include founding a new business, going on tour, a major marketing campaign, getting a Website up and running, and much, much, more. These projects come in all sizes, budgets, and levels of complexity, but for each, setting up a process for planning, executing, and monitoring your work is crucial in achieving your goals. Project Management for Musicians will provide you with an overall approach, with many specific tools, to help you successfully complete your music industry-related projects. You will develop a clearer sense of the work you want to do, and be able to break down abstract ideas into realistic components - along with realistic action plans to accomplish them.

Project Management for Musicians begins by exploring your ultimate vision of success, described in clear, methodical, tangible ways in order to bring it into the realm of possibility. From there, the course focuses on how to break down the goals of a project into smaller, more manageable units of work. Then, you'll learn ways of accomplishing the work while monitoring to ensure it's done in support of your intentions. You'll discover tools to help at all stages of the project's lifecycle, including planning, execution, and closure. The course explores how to keep the project on budget, run according to schedule, and yield the best results possible, with the least possible chance of failure. You'll also learn to create reusable tools and systems, so that completing similar projects will be easier next time.

You will learn project management techniques by applying them to relevant music-related situations, as well as to your own real work. It presents interviews with highly effective musicians and industry experts at all stages of their careers, from various segments of the music industry - a rock band leader, educators, a producer, administrators, a production manager, and others. You'll see how they do their work, hear them talk about their priorities, and then explore the project management structures that suit the type of work they are doing.

We will discuss a wide spectrum of approaches to project management that are useful for music projects, including those that have their roots in aerospace and aviation, manufacturing, and software development industries. The approaches include traditional project management, agile software development, scrums, Getting Things Done, Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, and others. It is a diverse and targeted tool set suited for the vastly complex spectrum of projects that music industry professionals are likely to undertake.

Ultimately, the reason to study project management is to improve the quality and reach of your work, so that you can be as successful as possible in the music industry and your musical endeavors. Weekly assignments in the course are tailored to your interests. With the learning gained in this course, you will gain the skills to advance your own project forward.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • analyze visions great and small, and develop systems to bring their work to successful conclusions
  • map project management tools to your vision and scope, so that the tools you use help fulfill your goals
  • mitigate risk to budget, timeline, scope, and level of quality
  • manage teams effectively
  • organize work flow, synchronizing all efforts to be in support of the ultimate project vision

Lesson 1: Project Management in a Nutshell

  • Introduction to Project Management
  • Lifecycle Models
  • What Does a Managed Project Look Like?
  • Your Path

Lesson 2: Vision and Scope

  • Vision
  • Project Scope Overview
  • Deliverables
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • Exclusions
  • Constraints
  • Assumptions
  • Dependencies
  • Stakeholders
  • Version Control

Lesson 3: Understanding the Work

  • Working Documents
  • Work Breakdown Structures
  • Imagining the Work
  • Other Breakdown Structures
  • Task Lists
  • WBS Dictionary

Lesson 4: Finances

  • Interview with Dana Levit, Financial Planner
  • Project Accounting Overview
  • Budgets
  • How to Estimate
  • Reducing Expenses
  • Breaking Even

Lesson 5: Time

  • Estimating Duration
  • Compressing Time
  • Dependencies
  • Critical Paths
  • Compressing Time
  • Events and Milestones

Lesson 6: The Project Team

  • Assigning Resources
  • Roles in Projects
  • Building a Project Team
  • Effective Meetings
  • Places and Things

Lesson 7: Execution

  • Initiation
  • Software Tools
  • Execution Models
  • Using a Project Plan
  • Delegating

Lesson 8: Managing Workflow

  • Office Triangle
  • Clutter Management
  • Prioritizing Work
  • Managing Multiple Projects

Lesson 9: Monitoring Progress, Risk Management, and Quality Control

  • Risk Identification and Mitigation
  • Management Techniques for Mitigating Risk
  • Contingency Plans
  • Checklists for Milestones and Q/A

Lesson 10: Creative Problem Solving

  • Crisis Recovery
  • Scope Redefinition
  • Intensive Management

Lesson 11: Contracts, Tax Forms, Royalties, Invoices, and Other Necessities

  • Contracts and Letters of Agreement
  • Invoices and Tax Forms
  • Copyrights and Royalties
  • Insurance

Lesson 12: Project Closure 

  • Assessing Success
  • Analysis for Reusability
  • Documentation and Archiving
  • Your Life's Work: Choosing the Next Project

Jonathan Feist

Author & Instructor

Jonathan Feist is editor in chief of Berklee Press, where he has been bringing music education products to a worldwide market since 1998. He is the author and instructor of Berklee Online courses "Project Management for Musicians" (2012) and "Music Notation Using Finale" (2002) and author of the book"Project Management for Musicians" (Berklee Press, 2013). He is also the co-author of the books "Essential Songwriter" (Berklee Press, 2004) and "The Berklee Practice Method Teacher's Guide" (Berklee Press, 2004). Jonathan is a composer and songwriter. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree in composition from New England Conservatory of Music. Read his blog at

Luke Stevens


Luke Stevens is the Director of Technology and CTO for Berklee Online. He leads the teams responsible for creating and maintaining the technology that powers the online learning experience and the supporting business. While not working, Luke has been a church music director, jazz trumpet enthusiast, volunteer coordinator, studio melodica player (one time) and a country preacher.


None required

Required Textbook

Project Management for Musicians: Recordings, Concerts, Tours, Studios, and More by Jonathan Feist, Berklee Press/Hal Leonard

Software Requirements

  • Smartsheet (a free, extended trial will be provided)

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)


Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

  • Level
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    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
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