Bluffton University student Brianna Keith hopes to find clarity on her vocational goals as a result of her semester working at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville. She is shown here, in the blue shirt seated on the floor on the right, with other students studying at the Contemporary Music Center this fall.
By Micayla Hanover
A Bluffton University music student from Grafton, Ohio, is taking a semester to study at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville.
Brianna Keith is a junior flute performance and music business double major and a business administration and information technology double minor. This semester, Keith is one of 30 students chosen across the country to study music technology at the Contemporary Music Center (CMC) in Nashville as part of the BestSemester program.
“I am learning some of the critical skills that I need to survive in this field, and can be applied to other fields, too,” Keith said.
CMC has three tracks of teaching: Artist, Business and Technology. Students in the Artist track are responsible for writing, recording and performing music every week. Business track students are responsible for being managers for the artists and managing and planning their tours. Students in the Technology track, like Keith, are responsible for the audio, lighting, recording and any other technical aspects of the artists’ performances. Their final exam is a multi-state, weeklong music tour executed and performed entirely by the students.
In her first three weeks, Keith has already learned to operate two audio boards and do lighting for a show.
“This program prepares you for an entry level position in the music industry,” Keith said. “After graduation, CMC will help us find jobs and connect us with contacts in the field.”
Keith came across this program when meeting with Dr. Mark Suderman, professor of music and director of choral activities at Bluffton University, when she first visited Bluffton. Keith later talked to Dr. Adam Schattschneider, another professor of music at Bluffton University and Keith’s advisor, about the program and Dr. Schattschneider agreed she should apply.
Keith had to complete an application, send in a transcript and a sign a behavioral code. She said CMC is accepting applications for spring and fall 2017 semesters for anyone interested in applying. Students interested in the Artist track must send in audition material in addition to their application.
Keith hopes the experience will bring clarity for what her future might hold.
“I hope to find what I want to do after I graduate from Bluffton,” Keith said. “Even in just these first three weeks, I already have a better idea. I hope to gain the skills that I need to make it in the music industry.”