The Beatles Help Students Learn the Music Industry
Anna Vaughan ’16 and Emily Hardy ’18 had been working hard for months with their fellow Music Business classmates, who call themselves “the MUBs.” The passion with which they approached this particular class assignment was rare, even among today’s grade-minded students. Their end goal: a benefit concert in tribute to The Beatles, which they titled “All You Need Is MUBs.” Producing the show fulfilled a practicum for the new Music Business and Technology Certificate program.
The MUBs’ hard work paid off on April 9, 2016 when they watched a sizable audience fill the seats of Daniel Recital Hall for the tribute performance. Popular local artists Buck Shoals and singer-songwriter Jim Avett, father of the Avett Brothers, participated in the show, joining 11 diverse musical acts paying homage to the Fab Four. The enthusiastic crowd spanned all ages and walks of life, from original hippies to college students to children and families. The money raised that evening will go into the Music Business students’ concert budget for next year to put together a bigger show with nationally-acclaimed talent.
The practicum that birthed this show is an exemplary illustration of the School of the Arts’ new initiative, Creativity That Works. The initiative presents all School of the Arts students with the opportunity to gain professional experience through their choice of internship, faculty-mentored research projects in the field of arts, or other opportunities. The Music Business and Technology students are not wasting any time taking their new skills into the music industry.
Emily, a fixture in both the certificate for Music Business and Technology program as well as the Contemporary Music & Media Applications major, has snagged a coveted summer internship at NPR in New York. Anna, also earning her Music Business & Technology Certificate, said the practicum as well as the music business classes have been indispensable to her. “I feel like I have learned so much over these past 2 semesters,” Anna said. “The classes were a great overview of all of the aspects of the music business and the Concert Promotion class has been all about putting on a successful show. I was not expecting the turnout for The Beatles show. It was so exciting to walk out on the stage and see all of those people.”
Anna was hands-on with various aspects of the Beatles show, in addition to her role as stage manager. “I was in contact with the bands prior to the show, I helped set up the backline the night before the show with Dr. Berry, Kayla Goller and Emily Hardy, and I also helped with sound check,” Anna said.
“I was so excited when I found out we were going to have this program because I had been trying to find ways to get involved in the industry.”
Anna is certain that the knowledge she gained both in class and during the practicum will be an asset as she begins her job search this summer. “I feel like after this short time of learning about the music industry and having this amazing hands on experience, I am confident that I am ready to go out into the industry and start my own career,” Anna said.
The man at the helm of the ship is Professor John Jeter, who brings more than 25 years of working in the music industry and possesses a rare ability to motivate and inspire his students. The concept for the Beatles tribute show was Professor Jeter’s idea, inspired by similar performances at his Greenville music venue, The Handlebar. “I knew just how difficult this particular show and its format were going to be, but I didn’t tell them that!,” Professor Jeter said. “Which is perhaps why they were so enthusiastic about it as soon as I mentioned it in class.” Professor Jeter’s faith in his students and his real-world experience as a working artist are just a few of the aspects drawing new students to the recently launched Music Business and Technology certificate program. Anna, who is also minoring in Arts Management, said “I was so excited when I found out we were going to have this program because I had been trying to find ways to get involved in the industry.” Professor Jeter has high aspirations for the MUBs. “My goal with this program is twofold: First is to create the most robust Music Business program in the state, giving Converse students the opportunity to learn, hands-on, what it takes to create, promote, and produce a full-fledged live-music event,” Professor Jeter said. “I’d like our Music Business students to build the program to such an extent that the program itself makes enough money and establishes itself in the concert-touring industry to put on larger and larger shows.”
Professor Jeter’s second goal for the program is to provide students with the skills, experiences and professional relationships in the industry, ultimately resulting in internship and job opportunities. “Overall, the program, as I see it, shows students what it means to promote an event and create a brand, which, essentially, is what we all do when we go out every day.” Professor Jeter explained. Professor Jeter and his students have already seen success with their first two shows, ‘Striking Matches’ which debuted in Fall 2015 and with the Beatles tribute show. His goal is take this success even further, by putting on major events at venues as Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium and the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Professor Jeter has high expectations for both the program and its students. “Our program prepares students to leverage their accomplishments, to promote themselves, to brand themselves, and show the world what they are going to do.”