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The Music Alliance Gives Monmouth University Students Professional Industry Experience

SOURCE: Published: 2013-11-14
Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ has a music industry BA but the career-related offerings are fairly limited. One way students, faculty and recent alumni are improving the situation is by creating student groups that focus on real world music projects. I spoke yesterday with the co-founders of MU group The Music Alliance. They've joined with a closely related group, Blue Hawk Records, to create an umbrella organization called the Blue Hawk Music Group. Together they're a great example of students using school resources to take charge of their own education.

Monmouth University's Music Industry Concentration has a handful of industry classes with a three-part Applied Music Industry class. Both The Music Alliance and Blue Hawk Records came out of such classes.

The Music Alliance

Though a student group, The Music Alliance is organized like a music company. So rather than speaking with the President or similarly titled individual, I spoke with co-founders Andrew Boxman, the CEO, and Steve Curtis, the COO. They presented the idea to their music industry class in the fall of 2012 and the result is an active group with about 25 to 30 members including students, faculty and alumni.

Including alumni is a nice touch since, for so many of us, our primary contact after leaving college is from people hoping we'll donate funds. The group also includes non-industry majors, such as photographers, publicists and graphic designers, which is also worth noting because such experiences often open up new career possibilities even for those who think they've got it all figured out.

The Music Alliance focuses on creative marketing as well as event planning and A&R/artist development. Their goal is to tailor marketing to each individual musician or group rather than setting up a templated approach and just getting good at that.

Organizing Local Concerts and Helping Artists Develop

Their initial project was a series of shows on and off-campus. The acts were all from the student population including members of The Music Alliance themselves, many of whom are musicians.

In addition to giving young acts a boost and developing some skills, they also hope to “open the mind of the local scene." However that works out, taking their work beyond University boundaries is a great move.

Though it's been a minute, I was amazed at the lack of interest in doing such things during my graduate studies at Ohio State especially from educators whose perspective should have led them organically in that direction.

As well as putting on such events, The Music Alliance is planning an A&R project with a band called Right With It. The goal is to see if they can introduce and market the group to the East Coast which will definitely be a strong learning experience.

Earlier this year Blue Hawk Records, the related student group, formed with a focus on recording and publishing. Together with The Music Alliance they create a fairly complete range of opportunities for students and alumni to gather much needed experience.

I forgot to ask them about radio but if their campus radio station WMCX 88.9 FM is receptive, then that's another important piece of the puzzle. If they're not, well, there's your initial education in pitching stations that aren't necessarily interested in what you're doing!


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