Business 101 for the Music Director

All online Summer MECA
courses begin on June 7
and conclude on August 1,
except as noted.

Registration Extended!
Registration closes at
5:00 p.m. CST on June 20, 2021
for ONLINE Courses.

Visit our MECA FAQs page.

Add, drop, change or withdraw
using the
 Add/Drop Form.

For all other MECA-related
questions, contact us at
or 312.788.1139.

All online MECA courses
conclude on May 3, 2020.

Visit our MECA FAQs page.

Drop, withdraw or change using
Add/Drop Form.

For other MECA-related questions,
contact us at

or 312.788.1139.


Business 101 for the Music Director

In this class, students will learn strategies and best practice having to do with the many off the podium tasks that directors are challenged with on a daily basis. A variety of topics will be studied with a practical approach providing directors with the ability to tackle these tasks immediately. Topics include finance and budgets, marketing, fundraising, human resources, volunteer management, facility operations, and creating a positive culture within your program.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Will be able to build a budget for their program

  • Will be able to design a marketing plan for their program

  • Identify grant opportunities and write a grant

  • Understand and implement new opportunities for raising funds for their program

  • Identify and manage facility operational needs for their program

  • Learn strategies in management and leadership

  • Create a positive culture within their program

Instructor: Tom Bracy

f-57-162-9957461_SbVcIKBK_Bracy_HeadshotTom Bracy employs his nearly 30 years’ experience in education, marketing, and management to perform a variety of roles. He is known as an advocate, consultant and educator. 
In July 2018, Bracy was appointed the chief executive officer of Harmony Project National Division, a research-based public health intervention program that builds safer schools and communities while closing the achievement gap through the teaching of music. Their primary functions are network development, collaboration and support; central data management evaluation; research and advocacy; and fundraising to support its affiliates nationwide. 
Bracy manages his own consulting firm, Bracy Group, LLC, specializing in organizational development, marketing and fundraising. He has helped equip educators, school districts and non-profit organizations with resources, networks and tools to build, enhance and sustain their programs.  As an advocate of music and the arts, Bracy has cultivated relationships with key educational influencers and educational policy advisors across the country.  He specializes in helping organizations maximize their potential growth.
He is an educational clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc., a division of Steinway Musical Instruments, where his last post included being director of urban education. He acts as lecturer at North Park University as well as VanderCook College of Music. During his 13-year tenure with Merit School of Music, Bracy served in nearly every capacity at the Chicago-based community music school, with his last post as their executive director.  Before joining Merit, Bracy was executive director of the Association for Catholic Music Education. He also worked for the Chicago Park District as an area manager. 
He started his career as a band director for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bracy’s primary instrument is percussion with additional studies in trombone. He earned his Master of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Human Resources Management from North Park University in Chicago.

Course Details

Instructors: Thomas Bracy & guests

3 Graduate Credits

Tuition: $1,020, due in full with registration
Course Code: 7529


Chat Sessions:
Sessions will occur every Monday at 7:00 p.m.

Required text(s):
Materials will be distributed weekly relative to the topic being studied. No textbooks are required.

Software/hardware requirements for Mac & Windows users:
Students will need access to a laptop, tablet or computer with internet access for this course.




VanderCook Online is powered by Schoology ( Through this learning management system, you'll be able to interact directly with your instructor, students in your classes, and members of the greater VanderCook Online community.

The summer online term officially begins on Monday, June 10. The week prior to June 10, you'll be added as a new Schoology user. Be on the lookout for an email from or with log-in instructions. Once you are given credentials, simply visit to login. On the morning of June 10, you'll have access to your classroom and course material.

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

You’ll have the opportunity to work at your own pace each week while completing assignments and posting responses to discussion questions. You’ll constantly be interacting with your instructor and classmates online, and working through new material each week. We know how crazy summer schedules can get, so our instructors try to make everything as flexible as possible!


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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