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School of Music launches new music industry major program this fall

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is pictured. The School of Music began offering a music industry major this fall. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Katya Tankimovich

Nov. 3, 2023 8:44 a.m.

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music started offering a new music industry Bachelor of Arts program this fall.

Robert Fink, an associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Music, said in an emailed statement that the major will consist of many of the same classes as the existing music industry minor, in addition to capstone projects and presentations.

Preparation for the major includes taking Music Industry 1: “Music Industry Forum” three times and also classes such as Music Industry 10A: “Finance and Accounting in Music Industry I.” Further lower division coursework entails one class that satisfies the History and Culture of Music requirement and one class for the Race, Culture and American Music requirement.

Fink, who is also chair of the music industry program, said the idea for the new major was motivated by student demand for the music industry minor, which is only available to students with a major in the School of Music.

“There were students asking, ‘Why is it that only music school students can take this minor?’” Fink said. “That first change was motivated by students wanting to do the music industry minor.”

In an emailed statement, Eileen Strempel, the inaugural dean of the School of Music, said the music industry major will provide students with internships and practical experience. Strempel added that she feels the new major will build on the strength of other majors in the School of Music.

“We have top programs in ethnomusicology, musicology, music performance, music composition, and music education,” Strempel said in the statement. “We combine the critical facilities of the humanistic disciplines and the liberal arts with rigorous musical training.”

Catherine Provenzano, an associate professor of musicology and music industry, said the new program provides students with the media, musical and cultural literacy they need to thrive in today’s complex media environment.

“This program is so unusual in that it really emphasizes the liberal arts, critical thinking side of things, so we’re hoping that that will give them a competitive edge as they pursue their careers,” she said.

Thomas Hodgson, an ethnomusicologist and assistant professor of music industry, also said the new major helps answer questions about how students can start their journey in this career field.

“It’s a notoriously hard industry to get into, and the way in which the music industry program at UCLA has been set up is to, in a sense, answer that question,” Hodgson said. “One thing that we do with the students is try and give them a university experience that equips them with practical skills in order to succeed in the music industry.”

He added that the practical skills students can develop in the major allows them to network with future employers.

“Students are rubbing shoulders with industry executives. They’re meeting potential future employers. They’re developing relationships among themselves,” Hodgson said.

Fink said in the statement that although students do not need to have prior formal musical training, they will have to apply to the major by submitting either a portfolio of materials or an analysis of critical writing about the industry. As part of the major, students will also have to put on a public festival every year, in which they perform, play their recorded work, present their business ideas or projects or present research and analysis, he said in the statement.

Provenzano said the multidisciplinary aspect of the major is a benefit to students since music intersects with many different parts of everyday life.

Strempel added in the statement that the overarching goal of the music industry program is to assure talented students thrive in a program dedicated to both their academic and career success.

“In this major, our students receive both practical instruction and the critical thinking skills that are essential to a liberal arts education,” she said in the statement.

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