Music Business and Industry at LSC: Growing into a Symphony
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011
Updated: Sunday, September 18, 2011 11:09
If you build it, they will come…
It wasn't long after meeting Britt that Beth received another phone call. This time it was a fellow by the name of Joe Gittleman. Joe said he was interested it being connected with the school and their new MBI program. Beth, being more of a fan of classical music than modern rock, wasn't exactly sure who she was talking to. After a bit of research she realized that the man who had contacted her is in fact a world famous performer. Joe Gittleman is the bass player for the band that invented the sub-genre "Ska-Core", The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. He is an original member of the band and has been instrumental in their rise to fame. Joe has been steeped in the music industry for decades, played concerts around the globe and worked with countless musicians as producer, A&R man, studio musician, tour manager, you name it, Joe's done it. He was the perfect person to really bring the Industry to the Music Business & Industry program.
"We couldn't do this program without Joe" says Beth Norris. "He brings in so many students. He hooks ‘em…" At the time of this writing Joe was unavailable for interview as he was busy rocking the socks off of thousands of Mighty Mighty Bosstones fans at none other than Fenway Park in Boston. I hope to follow this article with a full interview with Mr. Gittleman.
The MBI Department Chair is David Johnston, the very personable philosophy professor. Not sure what philosophy has to do with music? Have you ever met a musician? How about a song writer? I think you see where this is going.
Together with the other teachers in the program, Beth, Britt, Joe & David have built an MBI program that is drawing students from around the country and indeed around the world. The program began with 8 students majoring in MBI. By the end of the second semester the number had grown to 20. Now, with the program in its fifth year, the number has skyrocketed to 115 students majoring in MBI, making it the fastest growing program in the history of LSC. Last year the program graduated 7 students, 4 of which have already gone on the work in the industry with jobs at Skyline Music, Citadel Broadcasting, Atomic Music Group and Q Division. Of the 20 student enrolled the first year 90% have graduated, an incredibly impressive number for any program at any school. Usually only 30% of students graduate from a given program so 90% is basically off the charts (#1 with a bullet as they say in the biz).
Beth Norris still has big dreams for the future of the program such as offering more electronic music classes as well as Music Ed. to prepare students to be teachers and bring these modern music skills out to the public schools where art and music programs are struggling to survive. She and Britt Moore would love to one day see an MBI department building on the LSC campus complete with rehearsal rooms, production studios, performance spaces, and a student's Gold record hanging on the wall. Incorporating theater, dance and other performing arts into the program is part of that dream.
Jeremy MacDonough is a freshman in the MBI program. He came to LSC from Tolland Connecticut. Jeremy is a drummer and multi instrumentalist who's been playing since about 6thgrade. He started off playing improvisational jazz by ear but has since learned to read music. He has taught drums before, played in bands, roadied and been a sound tech. He looked around at other schools in the region but settled on LSC because as he says "I like the feel of the degree. There were other colleges who had similar programs but it was the overall feel [of the LSC MBI program] that I liked" He said "Though it's not the largest school, I felt like I'd get more out of it coming here than some of the other schools." Jeremy likes the program so far. "You can tell that all of the teachers in the program have a lot of background. They're the kind of people who know all the different ways to troubleshoot stuff. You get the feeling that, if there's a problem, they've dealt with it and can show you the fast way to fix it. I'm very content with their knowledge." He continues "They're all very friendly people, it doesn't feel so much like they're a big figure in the front of the room, its more like a friend teaching you and you always learn better from your peers." Jeremy likes the hands on aspect of the program saying" I do work better when I'm really into it instead of feeling distant."