June 8, 2012
Some Indiana State University students have taken their passion for music and parlayed it into a hands-on learning experience showcasing the talents of other students and local musicians.
Indiana State's student -run organizations, Music Industry Association and Spotlight Entertainment, teamed up to create "Sycamix 2," a 15-track CD which encompasses a variety of musical genres including country, electronic, pop, vox, rap, acoustic, and metal.
"The project was designed as an outlet for student and local musicians to record in a professional setting," said Ted Piechocinski, director of ISU's music business program and a music publishing veteran. "'Sycamix' gives students interested in entertainment and the business side of music important hands-on learning opportunities - coordinating the recording schedule, handling the copyright and contract process, working with outside vendors and marketing."
Tracy Machtan, advisor for Spotlight Entertainment, said, "'Sycamix was a great, multi-faceted, educational experience for students. Not just for the students producing the CD, but also for the student musicians featured."
ISU alumnus Matt Pauley recorded and engineered the CD with equipment and software acquired through a Lilly Endowment grant to the music business program.
ISU's music business program, established in 1977, is one of the oldest in the U.S. Students study as musicians and as business people through course work in music, business, and liberal arts. Students develop their skills and interests through involvement in student-run organizations such as the Music Industry Association and in Crossroads 321 Publishing.
Spotlight Entertainment is a student organization dealing in marketing and promotion of student activities throughout Indiana State. In addition to promoting the events of other organizations on campus, Spotlight Entertainment also hosts a number of events throughout the year, specifically centered on music.
"Sycamix 2" brought together a diverse group of students from a variety of majors, ranging from freshmen to seniors.
Cameron Callan, a sophomore music business major from Coatesville, had a lead role in marketing for the CD.
"It was a great opportunity to get real world experience while still being in school," he said. "I have learned a lot about the amount of work it takes to successfully market a CD. "
Callan quickly realized that marketing involves a lot of networking and legwork and said he has new respect for record company personnel.
"It was a little more work than I expected, mainly with working with a very tight schedule," he said. "It has given me more insight into what I can expect in the real world. I have learned to work more fluidly with a fluctuating schedule."
Elle Humbert, a freshman communications major from Jasper, was a member of Spotlight Entertainment who worked on the project.
"I was very interested in how a CD is made and what all goes into the process," Humbert said. "I definitely understand and appreciate the music industry as a whole a lot more seeing all of the work that it takes. I plan to work in public relations, and that is exactly what I've been doing with ‘Sycamix.' It's great to get hands on practice now, so in the future, I will know what to expect.
"'Sycamix' has been an amazing experience all in all," Humbert said. "I encourage students to get involved next time because it's an amazing opportunity, even if music isn't your chosen career path."
For Andre Brousseau, a member of both the Music Industry Association and Spotlight Entertainment, it was a hand-on experience in the music making process and how to spread it to the community.
"There was no way I wasn't going to be involved in this," said the senior music business major from West Terre Haute. Brousseau served as project manager - facilitating meetings, interacting with subcommittees and advisors to keep the CD moving on schedule.
"I learned many things throughout the process," he said. "The most valuable lesson I learned was having more direct and organized communication through the production phase, such as with the CD case designer and the sound engineer."
Brousseau is grateful for the experience and said the CD serves as a tangible reminder of the opportunity.
"It's one of the projects that really shows the awesome opportunities that Indiana State has to offer," Brousseau said. "I'm quite happy to say that I was involved with this project, and I thoroughly enjoyed it."
Josh Taylor was the seasoned veteran, having worked on the first "Sycamix" CD.
"I knew a lot about where the project has been, what went well, and where we needed to improve upon the first Sycamix," Taylor said. "This opportunity was something special. A project of this magnitude that is almost completely student driven is an amazing opportunity to help prepare, and propel or professional careers."
For this project, Taylor reprised roles he filled during production of the inaugural CD in 2010.
"I was in charge of the documentary that goes along with the project," Taylor said. "I compiled pictures and video to incorporate into the final product."
"I took care of the contracts, making sure everyone got them and understood what we agreed upon," he said, adding that he also collected information for inside the CD case, such as the credits needed for the tracks.
This time around, Taylor was able to attend more of the recording session with Pauley.
"I now have a much better understanding of how the recording process works," Taylor said. "It is not easy by any means. You have to keep recording parts take after take to make sure it's right."
Working on two CD projects has taught Taylor the importance of open and frequent
communication, teambuilding and balance.
"You have to have a great producer who knows what he's doing," he said. "You also have to have musicians that know what they are doing. When these are in balance with one another, the project runs smoothly. We had a great balance with all of our artists and Matt."
"Sycamix 2" was a finale for Taylor, a music business major from Evansville who graduated in May. But the lessons he learned will go with him into the professional world.
"The great thing about this project is that I can take what I've learned and apply it to whatever job I go into," Taylor said. "I can use the knowledge I've gained on negotiations, scheduling, communication, and even the recording process. I can take what I've learned and build from that."
Sycamix 2 is on sale for $2 and can be purchased by going to room 615 of Hulman Memorial Student Union between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Music Industry Association and Spotlight Entertainment, teamed up to create Sycamix 2, a 15-track CD which encompasses a variety of musical genres including country, electronic, pop, vox, rap, acoustic, and metal.