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October 31, 2014

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Students get a crash course in music industry

Grammy Career Day

Music industry professionals answer student questions at the first seminar for GRAMMY Career Day at the University of Southern California on Feb. 4. From left; Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter West coast regional director Lizzy Moore, GRAMMY Award winner Ne-Yo, singer/songwriter Jesse McCartney, singer/songwriter Keri Hilson, head of Urban Music for EMI Music Publishing Big Jon Platt and Recording Academy Chair Jimmy Jam.
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Beyond the Sun

About 100 students from Las Vegas joined more than 1,000 students from California earlier this month to talk about the realities of the entertainment industry.

The students participated Feb. 4 in the 21st annual Grammy Career Day, which was made possible through a partnership between the Grammy Foundation and the Recording Academy’s Los Angeles chapter, bringing together industry artists and professionals to teach students interested in the music business what really happens behind the scenes.

The 100 students were chosen from the Clark County School District from Las Vegas Academy and Chaparral High School.

Chaparral band director Paul Beuning said he made his selections based on student seniority and attendance records, as well as marching band performances and band shows. He said he wanted to reward students who had made a commitment to the band this year.

“The kids still haven’t come down from cloud nine yet,” Beuning said. “One of my junior clarinet players looked up at me (during a seminar) and said, ‘This is the best day of my whole life.’”

Beuning said he liked that students could choose to attend panels that exposed them to many careers options.

“They featured the top people in the business who really made it. In one seminar the guy said, ‘I have no musical talent whatsoever, but I know what I like,’ and he signs top artists around the world – he’s a talent scout,” Beuning said.

Bri Bernstein, 16, from Las Vegas Academy, attended the artist-management workshop to learn more about how she could help her singing career along.

“They talked about how a manager really helps you move things along in your career and how you should establish a good relationship with someone before they become your manager -- you should really be friends and it should be a marriage … and when it works out some really good things can happen,” she said. “This workshop definitely gave me a little taste in reality in the music business.”

She said Grammy-winning artist and former Las Vegas resident Ne-Yo, and artist Jesse McCartney, were present, offering students advice on how to be successful in the industry. Ne-Yo told them “patience, passion and persistence” were the three things they had to keep in mind, she said. And new artist Keri Hillson advised the students to stay in school, but to get their music out to the public via MySpace.com.

The planning for this year’s event started in August, said Lizzy Moore, regional director for the Recording Academy. Moore said she didn't know if Las Vegas students would be invited again next year because of funding, but Bernstein said she's hoping for one more year.

“Starting out young in the music business and getting that thick skin is important and to have something like this sponsored by the Grammys, which is the dream music award, is really amazing to give kids like me this opportunity to see what the music industry is really like,” she said.

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