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Majoring in Music Business: A Perspective from Jared Schmidt

Winona State University offers multiple programs to major in, one of them being music business. Jared L. Schmidt has been in the program for about 2 years now and I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions in regard to the program, as well as ask him about his personal experiences.

What made you want to major in music business?

Jared says he knew he wanted to major in something involving music. He has always had a strong passion for music but did not necessarily want to go into teaching it. In the past, he has recorded songs for his friends and acquaintances, so majoring in music business was something he took interest in.

What kind of careers can you get from majoring in music business?

Jared mentions that there are numerous paths one could go into. He says that he could open up a music store, manufacture instruments, or even market for music festivals. On the more legal side, music business majors can also work for bands and read/create copyright terms for music. One particular career he has taken interest in is becoming a music producer, which is producing and engineering music for other artists.

Which class is your favorite and why?

Jared’s favorite class is his Music Business Seminar. He says that it is a great time to bond with his fellow classmates that share the same passion for music. Here, they are able to ask any questions they have in regard to their major. Recently, Jared recorded his own song and shared it with the class. Together, they added lyrics and created a title. Jared says, “It’s a good learning experience and I learn a lot of new things that will help me in the future”. 

How many minutes a day do you revolve around music?

*Jared laughs* and says that it all depends on the day. Being a full-time student, Jared spends approximately five hours a day in his music classes. Afterward, he goes home to complete his homework as well as practicing for his voice lessons, which adds on a few more hours. Jared has an immense passion for music and even after spending hours listening, writing, and playing music, he still makes time to jam out on his guitar. His goal for the year of 2021 has been to play guitar every single day, and as of November, he has still maintained that goal! When you have a passion for music, it is not really considered work.

What is the biggest thing you have taken away from this program?

Jared claims that since the music industry changes so often, it is important to stay connected with others and be open to different perspectives. He says, “Be the student and accept what other people have to say”. Since there are so many different ways of interpreting music, there is always lots of information to share. Jared has also come to accept a wide variety of music genres, widening his own perspectives on music.

Are you taught on how to improve your performance in the music business program?

Jared states, “Yes, music business majors have the option to take any type of music lesson they desire”. From piano, to trumpet, to voice lessons, Winona State offers a wide variety. Jared takes voice lessons and with those one-on-one sessions, he can really focus on what he can individually improve on. In addition, choir is another class that teaches students how to improve their skills as a whole class. These courses really break down the criteria and teach students how to improve their performance.

What advice do you have for talking with parents who do not approve of their child majoring in music?

The music industry is always changing. Jared states, “There are so many opportunities for a music career in 2021, social media being a big influence”. If a parent does not approve of their child majoring in music, they could bring up the fact that there are numerous ways to make money from it. Jared also states, “There are always things to do and artists are always looking for someone to help them record or produce their music”. There is so much room for creativity as a music major and if you have a strong passion for music, it will definitely show.

What inspired you to learn music in the first place?

When Jared was at the age of nine, he used to play Guitar Hero with his friends. He really liked the classic rock songs and wanted to learn how to play a real guitar. However, instead of guitar, Jared’s mother signed him up for piano lessons, where he got a solid foundation of music and theory. From piano lessons, he implemented those skills and knowledge and took on guitar.

What is your favorite song to play?

Jared’s main instrument is guitar and currently he has taken an interest in a song titled Ghost Riders in the Sky originally released by Stan Jones in 1948. There have been numerous versions of this song in a variety of different languages. Jared says it is full of energy and very exciting to play. He also enjoys playing Sugaree by Grateful Dead, a band who has really inspired Jared’s music career.

Who is your biggest music inspiration?

Although not a lot of people are familiar with Daniel Donato, he has been a huge inspiration to Jared. In October, Jared had the opportunity to have a one-on-one music lesson on Zoom with Donato, where he shared many guitar playing techniques. On top of that, Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin have also been other influences on Jared’s music career. He states, “Jerry Garcia is different than any other musician, that’s what makes this music special”.

What is the biggest piece of advice you have for students looking to become music business majors at Winona State University?

“Stay grounded and always look for inspiration”- Jared Schmidt

After getting an insight on the music business program from Jared Schmidt, hopefully he can inspire others to pursue an education in music business at Winona State University.

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Maiah Motley

Winona '23

Communication Arts & Literature Teaching Major at Winona State University in Winona, MN.
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