Can You Really Teach This Stuff?

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The music industry has never been more chaotic, though this was hardly a refined game in the old days.

Which begs the question: has it ever made sense to sit in a classroom and study this business, or is the better classroom on the road, online, at a label, or working with a struggling band?

Very little certification is required to get started in this industry, which raises even more questions.  But you have plenty of choices if you want to stay indoors.  On the east coast alone, a number of programs quickly pop out: NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music (‘the premier training ground for future music moguls’), Berklee College of Music’s Music Business Management major, and Full Sail University in Florida.

Those are just three, though something in the heartland has also been making ‘noise’ of late.  Ever heard of the University of Central Oklahoma?  Sounds like the middle of nowhere to a flyover elitist, though a lot has been happening here lately.  At the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO for short), a number of interesting master classes, programs and ‘professorial visits’ are taking place.

This is an extension of ACM in London, and the curriculum currently leans towards performance, professional gigging and musicianship (though it’s expanding).  The US iteration is headed by Flaming Lips manager Scott Booker, and recent master classes have been helmed by Roger Daltrey, Mountain Goats and Steven Drozd (of the Lips).  Another one featuring Jackson Browne is also on the way.  Also, Dr. Dog, Local Natives and the Goats recently performed at the Academy’s ‘Performance Lab’ in Oklahoma City.

Sounds fun, but are you ever going to use this stuff?  Actually, ACM@UCO promises an “intensive, yet practical, industry-related education designed to prepare [students] for a realistic career in the music business.”  Sounds like hard work, but also sort of refreshing.