The Country Music Association has expanded CMA EDU, the Association’s education-based, national college initiative, to Lipscomb University in Nashville, and Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The program is designed to reach and engage undergraduate college students with a hands-on opportunity to enhance their skills in marketing and promotion. The program launched in February at Belmont University in Nashville with 115 members and has grown to more than 250 this semester.
“We are pleased with the growth and success of this new initiative,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Interest in starting similar groups at schools outside of central Tennessee has been high and we are looking forward to building a program that will benefit college students interested in Country Music and gaining valuable business experience.”
With the support of CMA and the Country Music community, students will gain networking opportunities, unique educational experiences, and leadership training all while promoting the Country Music genre. The program will also serve as an opportunity for CMA to partner with the music industry community on different levels in an effort to engage and grow the format fan base.
“By establishing a CMA EDU chapter on campus, I hope to introduce Lipscomb students of every major to job opportunities they may not have thought about before,” said Jacob Street, a Lipscomb University sophomore and president of the new chapter. “Through the opportunities provided to network, volunteer at events, and meet one-on-one with industry professionals, this organization will open up new job opportunities to students and help them refine their leadership and networking skills for the future.”
“Middle Tennessee State University is located just a short drive from Nashville and the Country Music community there. With its claim of having the largest music business and audio production program in the nation, it only made sense for the university to partner with CMA in order offer students the unique educational and networking opportunities available through CMA EDU, said Angela Johnson a MTSU junior and president of the chapter. “Students are particularly excited about CMA EDU coming to MTSU because it provides them with all of these opportunities, and gives them a way to share their love for the art of Country Music.”
"MTSU’ s Department of Recording Industry could not be more proud to forge these ties with the Country Music Association,” said Matthew O’Brien, MTSU faculty sponsor of CMA EDU. “The CMA has developed a great program to genuinely enrich our students in a manner that is perfectly integrated into their academic experience and moves them closer to their career goals and all the while having fun doing it! Similarly, we believe the CMA will benefit from the input and unique insight our students will give it with respect to today's young Country Music audience."
CMA has already received interest from schools in Alabama, California, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia. Students enrolled in CMA EDU commit to holding monthly meetings and work closely with CMA and members of the Country Music community to develop workshops, panels, networking opportunities, and leadership training.
“CMA EDU is a great opportunity for college students because we not only get to hear about the industry, but are able to get an inside look and actually work in it,” said Lauren Klausing, a Belmont University Junior and chapter president. “It’s a meaningful way to take what we’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real situations. It says a lot for the future of country music that the CMA is reaching out for our input and involvement.”
"It's impressive that CMA is so forward thinking that they reached out to our Belmont students in this way,” said Dan Keen, Belmont University CMA EDU faculty sponsor. “As the pilot program we've worked closely with Sarah McGrady (CMA Senior Coordinator of Partner Programs, who spearheads the project) to create a vibrant ‘real world’ learning experience for the students. It is working so well that the number of students participating has doubled this year!"
CMA EDU provides a platform for the discussion by building an interested community of eager and interested participants. Communication is a central feature. CMA has developed several tools including an e-blast bulletin dubbed, CMA EDU Insider; Twitter, Facebook, and inclusion on CMAworld.com (@cmaedu; facebook.com/cmaedu; www.CMAworld.com/CMAedu), so that students can blog about their experiences and upload photos and videos. An application form is available at www.CMAworld.com/CMAedu.