Ohio University students preparing for careers in the music industry are not limited to just learning in the classroom; they also have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with industry leaders.
These opportunities occur on campus and off, including two off-campus programs coordinated by School of Media Arts and Studies faculty member Josh Antonuccio and the Office of Global Opportunities (OGO).
“It was a life-changing experience for me,” said Grant Eppley, who took part in one of the trips during the 2015-16 school year.
Antonuccio, a lecturer of music production and the recording industry who has worked in the music industry for two decades, prepares students for each trip and then travels with them in order to assist with their educational and networking opportunities.
OGO, which is well-known for its excellence in coordinating study abroad opportunities around the world for OHIO students, also manages a wide range of programs in the U.S. These programs allow students to take part in unique educational experiences in areas such as Los Angeles, Orlando, Arizona and Washington, D.C.
One of the programs the offices coordinates with Antonuccio is the annual visit to the popular South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.
“South by Southwest is the biggest convergence of the music, film and interactive industries in the country,” Antonuccio said. “The whole city of Austin becomes a networking event. All of the people who are shaping those three industries are at South by Southwest, and many are available for mentoring, workshops and interviews.”
At South by Southwest, the OHIO students sign up for one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry leaders, take part in workshops, listen to speakers, attend performances and spend time networking and making contacts.
“It’s an unprecedented way to see how all of these industries work,” Antonuccio said. In addition, the festival serves as an access point for students to create relationships in the industry, and these relationships often lead to internships and jobs.
Kimberly Reynolds, a media and social change major who is on track to graduate in the spring of 2017, said the South by Southwest trip in 2015 gave her experiences that could not be facilitated in a classroom.
“Participating in the biggest and one of the most innovative music conferences in the country was also very validating,” Reynolds said. At one event she attended, Reynolds took part in a discussion with the CEO of Glassnote Records, numerous music journalists and other industry leaders.
“We were all participating in the same discussion and working toward the same goal – to make art accessible, genuine and forward moving,” she said.
Reynolds also enjoyed the performances she attended and explained that the mentoring sessions were extremely valuable.
“I met a lot of great people I am still in contact with, but most importantly, I met my current boss, the director of public programming at Lincoln Center, during one of these sessions,” Reynolds said.
During the 10-minute mentoring session, Reynolds told her about items she was interested in and she asked her for advice. Later, they stayed in touch through email and Reynolds was eventually offered a summer position at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York City.
“Attending South by Southwest two years ago has completely shaped my career and understanding of my own passions, and I am incredibly grateful for that,” Reynolds said.
OHIO graduate William Hoffman took part in the South by Southwest trip when he was a senior in 2015. He only knew the event as a music festival when he signed up, but he found that the trip also allowed him to learn more about the industry.
The students receive all-access badges that allow them to attend numerous shows, workshops and special events, Hoffman explained. And in addition to talking to experts in the mentoring sessions, Hoffman was able to talk with two of his favorite music critics who happened to be at a performance he attended. Those conversations meant a great deal to him, and the trip as a whole was an important experience.
“It was actually one of the more valuable career-building experiences I had at OU,” Hoffman said.
Antonuccio and the Office of Global Opportunities also coordinate the Music Production Master Class experience offered every year in December. Students in the course have the opportunity to work side-by-side as assistant engineers with a well-known music producer for one week.
In 2015, the OHIO students worked with producer Jim Eno in Austin, Texas. Eno is an on-demand producer, who is also the drummer and co-founder of the band Spoon. Students work at Eno’s legendary studio, Public Hi-Fi, which has welcomed an array of artists throughout its storied history. That list includes Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Miguel, and Explosions In the Sky, just to name a few.
“He got them really involved, it was awesome,” Antonuccio said. “I was jealous of the students.” The students assisted with the production of an album, worked directly with notable Austin artists, and even received an album credit for their work.
Grant Eppley was one of the students who took part in this trip, and it led to him being offered a job with Jim Eno and Spoon. Eppley explained that he and the other students were impressed just to see the equipment and meet Eno, but to be able to work with him and the other engineers was incredible.
“A week of 9-12 hour days gave us a great insight into the life of an engineer,” Eppley said. It was important to him to gain the experience and to able to learn from Eno and the other engineers.
“The trip spawned my first job after graduation as an assistant engineer, so I owe everything to it,” Eppley said. “The experience opened me up to which rules to break, which rules to follow, when not to speak, how to be present and how to take initiative. It also showed me how important it is to be versatile. There is still a mountain of information that I have yet to learn, but the trip provided all of us with an indispensable experience that we wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. I can’t thank Josh and the University enough for it.”
For more information on these two programs, as well as other U.S. study away programs offered by the Office of Global Opportunities, please visit https://www.ohio.edu/global/goglobal/domestic-programs.cfm.
Article was provided by the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies