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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Crews benefits from music program

Friday, February 15, 2008  
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By Tracy Corcoran

The Contemporary Music Center (CMC), located on Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts, is a getaway for students looking to learn more about the music industry.

CMC's main goal is to teach their students the artist side and the business side of the music industry. The center offers two tracks to their students: a business track and an artist track. The tracks are designed to teach students the ins and outs of that aspect of the business. The artist track includes performers, song writers and vocalists, while the business track includes agents, executives and promoters.

This semester, Oklahoma Christian University senior Brandon Crews has been studying at CMC on the artist track. Crews is a communication major, but has always had a passion for learning about music and the industry.

"Music has always been another part of my life that I never really thought about going after, but I always wanted to," Crews said. "I felt like this was the time. I can't do this later in life, so I decided I'd see how I'd do now because it's something I really want to pursue."

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Lowry said Crews has always had a passion for music and is the kind of student who loves a lot of different things.

"From my talking with Brandon, he's always had this hidden desire to learn more about how to make music and how to do something with that," Lowry said. "It's sort of like Brandon is getting a good college education, but he has this music passion he wants to explore, too. I'm glad there was a point in his college career where he could do both."

At CMC, every student takes three core classes: Faith, Music and Culture, Inside the Music Industry and Practicum. However, the school is not just about classes. CMC also tries to educate its students about real life situations involving the music industry.

Crews has recently been learning about contracts.

"I learn a lot about the music business," Crews said. "I have a manager here, and I had to sign a contract with him. I had to negotiate that contract as if it were real life."

Crews said CMC is unique because students are in a secluded environment and receive help and advice from those who have already been involved in the music industry.

"You're kind of separated from everything," Crews said. "You have teachers who have been in the music business, and they know all about it."

Crews' teachers have been in bands, been managers and been in companies like Sony Music and Word Records.

"They know firsthand what it's like to be in the business, so they know how to get around different things that people might try to pull on you," Crews said. "OC doesn't really have a program that goes into the whole music business as far as rock music or whatever you want to get into."

Lowry said Crews should be learning very intricate parts of the music industry he can't learn at Oklahoma Christian.

"He should learn everything he needs to know about being in a productions studio, which is a very detailed type of knowledge you need to get," Lowry said. "I think he'll also learn some of the nuts and bolts of the music business so he can also sell his music."

CMC allows students to network with other students and faculty at the school and attending has encouraged Crews to start playing more shows.

"This is the 14th semester of this school," Crews said. "There are a lot of people who have gone here in the past who are getting into the record labels and who are artists out there trying to make it."

Crews said it's like a big connection between everyone.

"We can all go to each other's shows or collaborate and do stuff like that," Crews said.

Not only does CMC provide students an education, but it also gives them a certainty about their music and the business of it.

"It's making me a lot better, so I feel like when I'm done, I'll have a lot more to offer," Crews said. "I'm going to leave with a press kit and all of this different stuff that I can send to record companies. That's just going to change my way of living because I'm going to play a lot more shows and be confident with my music."

Students interested in music and the industry can learn more about CMC at

"It's always important to get as much experience you can while you're in college and sometimes, no matter how big or small your college is, there is always some area it doesn't offer that might be important to you, so I think it's a good idea to go abroad or in the country and see if you can get that little piece of study or information that you need," Lowry said.

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