By Josh Converse
Despite the bleak outlook on the economy, the professors at College of the Canyons remain optimistic as they train the next generation of musicians for work.
“Entertainment is based on people’s expendable income,” according to professional musician and professor at COC, Mark Converse. People have to decide whether to see a show or pay for their mortgage and eat.
Also as a consequence of the poor economy, some live theaters are filing for bankruptcy or closing down. Theaters often take short-term loans for around $250,000 to pay for rehearsal spaces, actors and musicians for preproduction. Once production starts, theaters make up the money and profit through ticket sales and subscriptions. In 2008, banks began lending less money to businesses due to the recession. As a result, a number of theaters folded almost immediately, according to Converse.
The musicians’ economy has always been a very highly competitive workforce. However, the way musicians acquire their jobs has changed. Musicians now have to be advocates for themselves and entrepreneurs rather than relying on one employer or group for employment..
Although the musician’s workforce is hard to enter, professors at COC are committed to preparing their students.
COC professors tell their students to “show up on time and prepared,” according to Jon LaCroix, founder of VTown Cartel Music and professor at COC. You don’t have to be a musical prodigy to get work, but instead focus on how you interact with the people you work for.
“It’s really about the relationships you have with people and whether or not they like you and trust you,” LaCroix said.
“There’s always room at the top,” said Converse, adding that persistence and uniqueness are required.
Converse tells his students to “think globally,” and to be proficient with new technologies. Students also need to be able to properly record their instruments since they have the opportunity to provide their musical services to anyone over the internet.
“It’s undeniable that the music industry has and will continue to change,” according to Dr. Bernardo Feldman, COC’s music department chair. With the advancement and proliferation of technologies, consumers expect musicians to deliver a high quality product at a low cost, he said.
Everyone “needs to be exposed to exciting musical productions to want to invest in public music events,” said Feldman. “The COC faculty should prepare our students to deliver a first-rate artistic product.”