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Music Business A&R Course in Nashville

students pose in recording studio

This winter, our Music Business program will be presenting a unique off-campus opportunity focused on Production and A&R in the Music Industry in Nashville, Tennessee.  

Led by NYU Steinhardt Music Business faculty member Susan Dodes, a senior executive in A&R and music publishing for nearly 30 years, the course offers both studio and classroom instruction ranging from talent discovery to record production.

Throughout her career, Dodes has developed longstanding relationships with creators, music executives, and studio professionals who share her vision of being able to educate the next generation of music industry professionals in a hands-on way.  

students pose in recording studio

“My belief as a university educator for the last 12 years is that academic programs in music business and music technology are most effective when there is an experiential component, one which allows students to interact and contribute to the creative process all the way to distribution,” Dodes said. “My relationships have allowed me to build programs like this one, which is a partnership with Universal Music Group that meet these goals.” 

The 16-day January term (J-term) course, open to all NYU students who meet the pre-requisites, takes place in Nashville, which Dodes calls “arguably the creative center of the North American music industry.”

“Its community of songwriters, artists, studios, and studio professionals spans across the musical spectrum, well beyond country music, and is second to none. Additionally, the size and friendly nature of the music community makes it ideal for students to really connect with creators and executives who are willing to share their time and expertise.”  

Based at East Iris Studios, one of Nashville's premier recording facilities and campuses, students have access to a large assortment of classic, vintage gear and cutting-edge studios. “It is a very friendly, chill place, which creates a great atmosphere for learning and creating,” remarked professor Dodes. “And you never know what music superstar may be recording in the room next to you when you are there. The studios themselves have been the recording home of many legendary artists and recordings over the last 40 years.”

students pose in recording studio

Students are able to experience and understand the process of creating a commercially viable recording from start to finish in a state of the art studio with musicians, songwriters, producers, mixers, and mastering engineers.  

Music Business major Matthew Tung said, “Nashville was definitely one of my most life-changing experiences in the NYU Music Business Program. Not only do you get to bond with people who are equally passionate about music, but you also get to network with industry professionals such as A&R executives, Grammy Award-winning producers, and engineers. The experience was a big step into my future endeavors, as it opened my eyes to the multitude of opportunities pertaining to the industry itself.”

“Most young creators are making music on their computers today, at least initially, which is fine. Our program demonstrates what is involved in making a truly organic and commercial level recording,” said Professor Dodes.   

The curriculum allows students to participate and lead the process working with the artists, studio personnel and guest practitioner instructors. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in A&R, production, and mixing will be able to get a real understanding of these career areas and be better prepared to articulate their goals when pursuing jobs in these fields.  

Dodes expounded, “students get to meet and hear from various industry executives and creators during their time in Nashville as well as experiencing the history and culture of Nashville and the music community there. And don't forget the hot chicken!”

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