Huntington, Ind.—Huntington University senior Anna Briggs is taking a semester away from the traditional college workload to participate in an off-campus experience at the Contemporary Music Center located in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
“This program was built into my degree, so I had to either do this or some sort of internship to gain more knowledge about the music industry,” explained Briggs, a music business major from Russell, Pa.
The Contemporary Music Center, which opened in the fall of 2001, gives students the chance to gain hands-on experience in the music industry. Students, like Briggs, spend their semester learning the ins and outs of either an executive position or the role of an artist.
In the executive field, students are assigned to one of three different positions: artist and repertoire, marketing, or management. These positions put the student executives into a role which has many similarities to those they will face upon graduation.
The artists at CMC are assigned to a student executive to serve as manager. The artists are then in charge of writing songs and performing in a weekly concert. They also must create a three or more song demo of high quality to send to major labels or hand out to fans.
The curriculum is challenging, but students learn more than they could outside of the program.
“We’ve studied everything from American culture to artist management to signing contracts,” said Briggs. “I have learned more about the music industry in three weeks than three-and-a-half years of college.”
Most people would go into this kind of situation having some sort of preconceived notion of what they were about to experience, but Briggs did not.
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I came in here just knowing that it was where God wanted me and waited for things to happen.”
With the location of the CMC being on Martha’s Vineyard, Briggs thought it would be a more upscale. Instead, she compares it to summer camp, if summer camp had top-of-the-line recording equipment and cold weather.
Spending a semester away from everything familiar challenges people. For Briggs, it challenges everything she has come to believe. Being at the CMC has allowed her think about culture and Christianity in general.
“I no longer view Christianity as a set of rules, but rather a statement of faith, a realization that we are stupid humans, and we will make mistakes,” Briggs said. “That is why we are Christians, because we need a savior.”
Briggs knew how Christians are viewed in society before attending CMC, but so far, her stay has pushed these views to the forefront of her mind.
“Our society views the church and Christianity as a group of people who hate gays, despise drinkers and cringes with every swear word spoken,” said Briggs. “These are the last things a Christian should be concerned about. Christ called us to love Him, and love one another most importantly. The world is beginning to despise Christians, and Christ is not being represented.”
Briggs urges her fellow students who have the chance, to take the opportunity and engage in an off-campus experience.
“It’s been an interesting ride,” Briggs said. “I have learned many things that I think will benefit me in the industry. I also feel as if this is a place to be challenged in faith differently from good old HU.”