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State University of New York at Fredonia
Music Industry — offered for years at the State University of New York at Fredonia as a concentration within its School of Business — has become what is believed to be the only Bachelor of Science degree program of its kind in Western New York.
The State Education Department and SUNY recently approved the B.S. degree, effective beginning in the spring 2016 semester, making Fredonia one of only a handful of schools statewide that offer such a distinctive undergraduate degree.
“The creation and approval of the Music Industry degree is part of an ongoing process of curricular development and renewal at Fredonia, where we are responsive to the changing interests of students as well as the needs of employers,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Terry Brown.
Students receive both theoretical and applied learning in an exciting, ever-change interdisciplinary field, Dr. Brown noted.
School of Business Dean Russell Boisjoly indicated the ability to offer a separate degree in this field improves the stature of the degree itself and distinguishes Fredonia Music Industry graduates.
Offering a B.S. in Music Industry degree will enable Fredonia to strengthen the program through new courses and faculty and increase the number of events these students produce, according to Music Industry coordinator Armand Petri, a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
“It definitely brings recognition, prestige and room for growth,” Mr. Petri said. “Students will be able to take more courses and have a better foundation when they graduate, and have a broader job placement base.”
Music Industry joins Accounting, Finance, Management, Business Administration and Economics as distinct degrees within the School of Business. Previously a concentration option in a traditional Business Administration degree, Music Industry remains in the Applied Professional Studies department within the School of Business.
Associate Provost Lisa Hunter indicated current Music Industry students will have the option to switch to the new program or remain on track for a Business Administration degree with a Music Industry concentration. The Music Industry concentration will be phased out as the current students graduate, so beginning this summer, newly admitted students will only be admitted to the B.S. in Music Industry program.
Music Industry enrollment, which exceeded 160 students in the 2015 fall term, has grown dramatically in the 15 years since Petri joined the program as an adjunct faculty member. “There were three Music Industry students in my classes, and the rest were Sound Recording Technology and Music majors,” Petri recalled. “We had a lot of students come (to our classes) as liberal arts majors, and then transfer over into Music Industry once they discovered it.”
Petri, who enrolled in the forerunner of today’s Sound Recording Technology at Fredonia and has a B.A. in Media and Performance Arts from SUNY Empire State College and M.A. in Arts Management from the University at Buffalo, wants to grow the program and increase collaboration with other academic disciplines, such as theatre, graphic design and marketing. A new tenure-track faculty position is to be added in the fall 2016 semester.
In addition to taking the core courses — The Business of Music, Music Copyrights, Music Contracts, Student Record Label, Music Marketing and Promotion — students study music, business, accounting, economics, statistics and computer science, and must also meet Fredonia’s general education requirements. Courses are taught by faculty in the Schools of Music and Business, along with industry professionals from Western New York.
Internships have always been an integral component of the program. Students are placed with booking agencies, radio stations, recording studios, orchestras, promotional and marketing firms, record labels and performing arts venues. Graduates are prepared to work in management, the recording industry, production, touring, radio and publishing.
Music Industry students are also engaged in numerous off-campus projects, such as the annual Battle of the New Bands competition, concerts that raise money for charities, and guest artist appearances, through the campus’ Music Industry Club. They are also involved in Fredonia Radio Systems (the campus’ two radio stations).
The program has taken on an entrepreneurial focus, with students being taught how to start their own businesses rather than working for someone else, Petri said. The Student Record Label class is a prime example on this approach, and Petri indicated it’s the most appealing feature that draws transfer students to the program.