Huntington, Ind.—Huntington University senior Joel Wentz is spending his last semester participating in an off-campus experience at the Contemporary Music Center located in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
“I’m learning valuable lessons and details about the nitty-gritty business of the music industry, including how to look for good and bad contracts, how to peruse a record deal, and most importantly, how to maintain integrity as a Christian artist throughout the entire process,” explained Wentz, a music business major from Greencastle, Pa.
The Contemporary Music Center, has given students the chance to gain hands-on experience in the music industry since 2001. The program offers two tracks, the executive position and the one Wentz is experiencing, the artist.
Wentz has been exposed to the industry as an artist by learning from music industry professionals who have worked with big-name artists including Phil Keaggy, Amy Grant and Jars of Clay. He also performs in a concert that features past and currents students at the CMC every three weeks with a back-up band.
“It has been neat to interact with former students of the program that now have substantial careers in music.” Wentz has met the current back-up singers that tour with Kelly Clarkson, who are both alumni of the CMC program. Another alumnus that Wentz sat down with was the marketing manager for Sony Records in New York.
“It’s encouraging to know that alumni of this program have found opportunities in the music industry,” Wentz said. “It is quite common to see college-aged people move to Nashville or Los Angeles to try and burst into music scene without any practical knowledge of how to do so. I know that I have a definite advantage over those people, and I’m gaining a realistic picture of what my future could be like if I try to make it in music.”
“Huntington University has provided me with a very well-rounded education, which is now very valuable in conjunction with the vocational training I am receiving from the Contemporary Music Center,” expressed Wentz. “I feel that I have been adequately trained in both the basic areas of music and business, including theory and ear-training, alongside accounting and marketing.”
“I’m constantly learning new lessons throughout my stay here, but possibly the most important one I’ve learned so far is that art, whether it is music, writing, or theater, is more than just eccentric people trying to express themselves,” explained Wentz. “As a Christian, it is an awesome opportunity and responsibility to create art, in an effort to glorify the ultimate Creator.”
Wentz is not only gaining hands-on experience of the music industry, but CMC also has provided Wentz a chance to think about culture and Christianity.
“Our culture is crying out for meaningful art that challenges the observer, and no one is better equipped to great this art than followers of Christ, the ultimate of example of sacrifice and excellence.”
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