Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Making it in the music business:

Alum uses experiential learning opportunities to springboard into career
Isaac Thompson Advantages of music degree program described by Huntington University alum.

“Huntington University cared about who I was, not just about giving me an education.”

Isaac Thompson took the scenic route to Tinseltown. Stops along his educational journey included Huntington, Ind., and Martha’s Vineyard.

After graduation, the 2006 Huntington University alumnus and aspiring music industry executive worked in Los Angeles, Calif., for Azoff Music Management, a company that represents many high profile artists such as Nick Lachey, Christina Aguilera, Jewel, Kenny G, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Eagles and Journey.

“We are responsible for overseeing every aspect of the artists’ careers,” said Isaac, a music business major. “We work extensively with the image of the artists and how they are portrayed to the public. I have the opportunity to work with the artists, managers and their record labels to ensure everyone is on the same page.”

Isaac maintained artists’ Web sites and assists with publicity, tours and albums in addition to office tasks.

“Some of the biggest challenges of this job are how fast-paced it is, the amount of tasks that need to be done simultaneously and the pressures to perform,” Isaac said. “In this type of atmosphere, all you can do is keep your cool, remain confident in your skills and stay professional.”

Huntington University gave Isaac tools and experiences that have helped him excel in his high pressure, demanding work environment.

“I grew so much during my time at Huntington, not just academically, but spiritually and in maturity,” Isaac said. “I was given the knowledge I needed to work in my field and was given chances to gain experience in real-life situations. One such example was the opportunity to organize, book and manage the Preeminence tour during the summer after my sophomore year. What better way to learn than by doing.”

In addition to his work with Preeminence, a traveling group of student musicians who tour the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions throughout the summer, Isaac spent a semester at the Contemporary Music Center located on Martha’s Vineyard. The CMC is a program designed specifically for aspiring recording artists and future music executives.

A job shadowing course Isaac took during January Term of his junior year also proved to be beneficial. He worked at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Ind., a 1,500-seat theater offering a variety of programming, as well as an art gallery, catering services, meeting rooms, a gym and a skating rink. There, he learned more about concert production and promotion.

Huntington’s small size contributed to Isaac’s positive experience. He acknowledges the faculty-to-student ratio and the tight-knit campus community as significant advantages.

“A smaller institution allows professors to invest more in their students,” Isaac said. “You never have to worry about just being a number. Huntington University cared about who I was, not just about giving me an education. The size also allows students a chance to really get to know a major portion of the student body. It’s great to have that positive community during the college years. You just don’t have that atmosphere at large institutions.”

Huntington’s faculty also invested in Isaac as a student and a person.

“My professors continually strived to challenge me to find the balance of living a Christian life in a secular world,” he said. “This was evident in every class. My professors did an excellent job of opening my eyes and not forcing any views or perspectives on me. They challenged me to take ownership and find my Christian perspective. Not theirs, not my parents, but my own.

“I also appreciated their pursuit of excellence. As students, we were held to a higher standard than just your average university. It was great preparation and education. They truly invest in you!”

Isaac not only felt challenged academically but also in his walk with Christ.

“Spiritually, I grew so much during my four years at Huntington. I experienced a great deal of growth as a person, but I believe much of that correlated with my growth spiritually. I became involved in ministry teams at Huntington and my church, but I believe my greatest growth came through small groups and mentors. I learned so much about faith, trust and just the character of God through spending time with the guys in our apartment living room.”

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