MusicBiz Conference Nashville | May 2017

Monmouth University Music/Music Industry students traveled to Nashville to attend the Music Business Association annual convention.   

The Music Business Association is THE music industry trade group, bringing together over 2000 senior representatives of major and independent record companies (i.e. Warner, Sony, Universal), technology companies, such as Google (YouTube), Spotify & Apple, and hundreds of management/marketing agencies, artists, etc. 

President of the Music Business Association and Monmouth Music Industry Adjunct Professor James Donio assisted in the coordination of this student trip to Nashville through Monmouth University’s education partnership with the Music Business Association.  The students formed a committee and worked directly with the university’s Student Activity Board who supported the trip.

While there, students were given the opportunity to participate and network directly with industry professionals as they attended panels, presentations and awards banquets.  

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music & Theatre Department and Director of the Music Industry Program helped organize and provide exclusive access for 20 Monmouth University students to the Music Biz conference where he also spoke on a panel and performed with industry legends such as Felix Caveleiri of the Young Rascals.

MU in LA

Over this past spring break, Professor Joe Rapolla, chair of the music and theater department, together with Music Industry student Aja Armstrong, organized a trip to Los Angeles for 16 university students, from the Music, Communications, and Business programs. Accompanying Professor Rapolla was Professor George Wurzbach. While in LA students had private tours and meetings with senior executives at the GRAMMY Museum, the Microsoft Theater at LA Live, the Broad museum, Universal Studios/CityWalk, and Capitol Records.

While at the Grammy Museum students learned of the many resources that they can take advantage of through Monmouth University's Grammy Museum affiliation. Students participated in a real-time music sampling and recording session with Education Coordinator Schyler O'Neal. They also had private access to the Grammy Museum and a private career panel with Director of Education, Kaitlyn Nader, museum Curator Nwaka Onwusa and Director of Communications Crystal Larsen.  

Students then went on to have a private tour and discussion with the Director of Operations and Special Events, Russell Gordon at the Microsoft Theater, where superstars such as Stevie Wonder and Christine Aguilera have performed. There they discussed production, talent and venue management, and had access to exclusive VIP backstage areas.

Students also had VIP access to the Broad museum, a modern art museum with exclusive pieces by Kara Walker, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

A personal tour and presentation by senior executives at CityWalk Universal Studios was arranged by Music Industry student Aja Armstrong, who interned at Universal. There students learned of the full operation of CityWalk and its Main Stage production management. While at Universal they also visited the set of Entertainment Tonight while they were filming a segment of the show.

"The LA trip was organized to help students build their music industry network and give them a glimpse at west coast entertainment. With new connections made at Universal Studios and Capitol Records, I'd say the trip was a huge success and should continue to be utilized by the music department of years to come”, commented Aja Armstrong, Music Industry major, class of 2019.

Professor Rapolla arranged for personal tour by senior-level management at Capitol Records and Studio at the famous Capitol Records tower. There students sat in the control room and performance space of the famous Studio A and in the archive where master tapes of the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra are housed and are being digitized. 

Students had one-on-one conversations with executives across all the organizations visited in LA and exchanged personal contact information.  They were invited to follow-up with executives for questions, career advice and employment opportunities. 

“I’m thrilled that we are able to give students this kind of unique access and experience. I constantly stress to them that developing and maintaining relationships and their personal brand is key to their career development. I also always want them to see the many ways that they can apply their training in the music and arts related industries”, said Joe Rapolla.

A video summary of the spring break trip is being produced by the students. 

The music students are now organizing a second annual trip to Nashville where they will attend and participate in the Music Business Association Conference. Last spring 23 students made the trip, supported by the Student Activities Board, where they attended presentations and events with senior executives and major artists. They also had a private meeting with Warner Music Nashville Chairman, John Esposito and the Warner headquarters in Nashville.