Music industry degree debuts

Starting this semester, students will have another major to choose from: music industry.

The addition of this new degree program, according to Brian Fronzaglia, assistant professor of music, was in response to the “entrepreneurial spirit” that many people have gravitated to and a way to adapt to what employers are looking for in the job market.

“This is an opportunity for us to educate our students who have an interest in the arts to really have a chance to go out and find employment in the future while still being able to explore their creative side within the musical world,” Fronzaglia said.

Southern is the only university in the region to offer the music industry degree.

“They offer variations of this so we did a lot of comparing as to what those programs offer, what we currently offer in our curriculum within the business degree and then we tried to find the best possible match of what our students would need to be successful once they graduate,” he said.

Southern has also added classes that focus on aspects students within this specific field will come across. Fronzaglia is teaching the first class, introduction to music industry and copyright, this semester.

“We talk about a lot of the basics to kind of introduce people to what the program itself is, what they’re getting themselves into, so they kind of have a chance to get their feet wet and understand what they’re looking at, whether it’s the job possibilities or the legal side of things within our industry that a lot of people don’t know, whether it’s dealing with tax forms and deductions,” he said.

Music technology, which will be available next semester, and an internship requirement have also been added to the music industry degree program.

“When students are at the tail end of their degree plan, they’ll have an opportunity to go out and into the field and do internships and get some hands-on experience, which ultimately would be like student teaching for an [education] major, that we’re hoping leads to a job for them,” Fronzaglia said.

Interest in the music industry degree, according to Fronzaglia, has been high among students.

“With the emergence of GarageBand, iMovie and everything else, you know, everybody who buys a computer gets all this fun software and with the spark of that, a lot of people have been able to see whether or not they would be able to make it creatively, and because of the easy access that we have to all of this, there’s been a lot of interest.

“Right now we’re building but we have had upwards of 50 students looking at this degree alone. That’s not how many we have, but a lot of people have expressed interest,” Fronzaglia said.

Fronzaglia said he hopes the degree program will grow and become the leader in terms of the music industry standard in the region.

“We have a lot of opportunities here whether it’s within the management, performance, production side, there are a lot of opportunities.

“I think when we start to get this thing finally rolling, a couple years down the road, it’s going to be a real successful program and I think our community’s really going to benefit from it,” he said.