May 21, 2010 — Coral Gables—University of Miami Frost School of Music hosted Grammy® Career Day on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 for over 400 Miami-Dade public high school students interested in careers in music.
Presented by Gibson Foundation with support from the Ford Motor Company Fund and in partnership with The Recording Academy® Florida Chapter and the GRAMMY® Foundation, the outreach program provided insight about careers that are available in music and how to prepare for them.
Frost School of Music Dean Shelton “Shelly” G. Berg was a “super panelist” along with other musical heavyweights, Michel Vega, moderator (Vice President, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment), Kenny Cordova (Vice President, Creative, Universal Music Publishing Group), Eric Schilling (multi-GRAMMY/Latin GRAMMY-winning engineer/producer), Elsten Torres (GRAMMY/Latin GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter) and Dan Warner (UM Frost alumnus, Latin GRAMMY-nominated instrumentalist/producer).
The super panel opened the conference with concrete advice for the enthusiastic conference attendees. Michel Vega, who started in music as a trumpet player and later became a talent agent, counseled that “Music does not have a clear career path like doctors or lawyers” and encouraged the conference attendees to pay attention to the variety of career paths they would hear about throughout the day.
Kenny Cordova, a music publishing executive, recounted, “I got into this madness at about age 12 or 13…and I’m proud to say, I’m still a musician.” Early in his career he paid attention to how to fill out contracts and copyright forms, and became fascinated by the publisher’s role of the acquisition, exploitation and administration of copyrights. Dan Warner started playing the guitar at age five and “Never looked back. By eight or nine I was convinced I would play forever.” He still plays the guitar, but it was while attending the Frost School of Music that Dan’s interest was peaked by “the creators of the music…the mixers, the engineers and the songwriters,” and that is when he decided to focus his attention on producing.
Shelly Berg was asked to expand on the role of higher education in music, and he advised, “The music industry is a business of relationships and getting a college degree in music helps you deeply connect with other students and mentors who will become your musical peers for life.” He also encouraged students to become “as broad a musician as you can… more musical skills leads to a successful life in music.”
Eric Schilling agreed, saying a teacher inspired and helped him make his initial connection to music, and that having broad tastes in music and a passion for quality has helped him in his engineering and producing career. Singer-songwriter Elsten Torres emphasized “The music business is still a ‘people-business’ …it is all about building relationships. He also urged, “It is important to be educated. Go to school, learn an instrument as well as you can, go to shows, be out there and network, and have the right attitude. We are all here to help each other.”
After the super panel, the high school students attended a number of informative break-out sessions. University of Miami Frost School of Music faculty Shannon de L’Etoile, Ph.D., MT-BC (Program Director/Associate Professor of Music Therapy) and Rey Sanchez (Professor of Music) were featured panelists on a session entitled “Music Teaching Careers,” along with other noted professors from South Florida, Dr. Richard Rose (Miami Dade College) and Michael Zager (Florida Atlantic University); the session was moderated by Dean Shelly Berg. Other featured career workshops were The Creative Spark, A Look Inside the Studio, and Show Me the Money.
Frost School alumna Jessica Allen (B.M., Music Business, ’10) was this year’s GRAMMY U Representative to the Recording Academy’s Florida Chapter.
Elsten Torres treated the attendees to a private concert at the closing ceremony. Additional performers throughout the day included Miami Beach Senior High School Rock Ensemble and DJ Affect.
The University of Miami Frost School of Music occupies a unique position in higher education. It is one of the most comprehensive music schools in a public or private institution. Its 650 students represent well over 40 states and 25 countries and it has an international reputation for pioneering contemporary programs that have been emulated by scores of other institutions and organizations. It is the Frost School’s unique mixture of quality tradition and modern programs, along with the strength of its faculty that set it apart from the mainstream. For more information, visit www.music.miami.edu.
GRAMMY Career Day reaches thousands of high school students each year. Students participate in panels and workshops that include producers, performers, managers, A&R reps, recording engineers, arrangers, business executives, publishers, educators, attorneys, publicists, and songwriters. Students then break into smaller groups for hands-on career specific workshops. For more information, visit www.GRAMMYintheSchools.com
The GRAMMY Foundation was founded in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution that recorded music has made to American culture. The Foundation provides programs and activities designed to engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with the Recording Academy and its regional offices to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural legacy. For more information, contact www.grammy.com/foundation.
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