New Music Major Creates More Opportunities For Students – The North Wind
In the Fall 2020 semester, the NMU Music Department offered a new major called Music with electives in an outside field, or the music industry for short, to allow students to focus more on production. , promotion or commercial aspects of music.
In the past, the department offered a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education. With the new music industry majoring, students still take music lessons, but they also choose to focus their studies on one of four concentrations: music management, entrepreneurship, marketing and advertising, or multimedia production.
Mark Flaherty, head of the music department, said that when students pursue music studies, their careers often go in many different directions. The music industry major provides students with greater versatility when entering the workforce.
âThat’s kind of the whole problem with that: trying to give students skills and opportunities that will make them much more marketable down the road and allow them to pursue their own careers,â said Flaherty.
Flaherty said most music students, regardless of major, graduate with the need to sell themselves or other jobs that are still music-related while finding the perfect fit. This new degree helps students pursue more practical opportunities and even more training, including an internship requirement.
In degrees like music or the liberal arts, people often question the usefulness of making a career out of it, Flaherty said.
“This [music industry major] try to answer that a little bit by saying, you get that music degree and there are real world skills you could potentially add to that, âFlaherty said.
Some of the classes involved in this major focus on more commercial styles of music such as jazz. Core courses that would normally be taken in a BS or BA major have been dropped, like previous music history courses. Other introductory music courses, such as MU222 Basic Jazz Improvisation and MU128 Musical Notation Software, which are generally not required in other majors, are required for this major.
This major also requires courses in other disciplines depending on the chosen path, including courses in accounting, management, finance, etc.
Flaherty recalled two former music students whose post-graduation experiences ultimately helped inspire the creation of the Music Industry Major. One was a student who played the saxophone and after graduation ended up doing a lot of instrument repair and started his own business. Another student chose to double a major in Music and Marketing and eventually helped organize events at the John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington DC.
It was stories like this that made the music department collectively consider whether to provide a degree for students to help them achieve these kinds of goals. They submitted the major demand of the music industry to the undergraduate degree program in 2018.
âOur thinking is, can we make it easier for someoneâ¦ who wants to do this? Could we give them a lead to make this happen? ‘ âSaid Flaherty.
One of the students who chose to major in the music industry is junior Chloe Hall. She first started out as a major in music, then moved on to the music industry once the major was offered.
âI wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but when I heard they were offering it, I knew this was the route I was supposed to take,â Hall said.
Hall works at Jim’s Music in Marquette where she helps teach music lessons and manages other teachers there.
âI love being part of a leadership role, whether it’s in a classroom or backstage at shows,â Hall said. “I want to be involved in music every day, whether it’s acting with the music or managing musicians and their concerts.”
Currently the major is only one year old, so most of the students currently taking it are still taking basic music lessons. Flaherty said it was always a music degree, just a degree that allows for more flexible application.
âIf you love music, if you love to be involved in the arts, I think it’s definitely an interesting way to spend your life,â said Flaherty.