NYU to Launch Study Away Site in Nashville This J-Term

The program will focus on music business and teach students the ins and outs of designing a record label.


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Downtown Nashville skyline on the Cumberland River. (Via Flickr)

By Julia Baxley, Staff Writer

The country music hub of the U.S., Nashville, Tennessee, will be home to a new study away program this upcoming J-term, joining the ever-growing list of cities with an NYU presence.

The Steinhardt program is for students interested in music business — taking one introductory course in the topic is a prerequisite for the program. Designed and developed by Professor of Music Business and Education Susan Dodes, it will begin this J-term from Jan. 5 to 19. The program counts as a two-credit course and costs the same as other undergraduate courses. In addition to tuition, students will be charged a $1,500 fee that includes housing and must pay for their own airfare.

In an interview with WSN, Dodes said the program is meant to provide a look into what it means to work in the music industry.

“In order for students to really understand what it means to work and create in the music business, they actually have to be in the business,” Dodes said. “This is experiential education, which allows students to learn and live while also working with the professionals.”

NYU has partnered with Universal Music Group, an American global music corporation that has represented artists from Drake to Frank Sinatra. The course will be run out of Universal Music Group’s studio in Berry Hill.

“Universal Music Group wanted to do something with educating students, and they have this incredible facility, so I chose to make a deal with them,” Dodes said, referring to Berry Hill’s expansive nine-room studio.

Universal Music Group also owns Abbey Road Studios in London (where NYU has a study away site) and Capitol Studios in Los Angeles (where NYU expanded to this semester), locations Dodes hopes the program will expand to in the future.

In the classroom, the program will be led by Grammy-award winning producers David Leonard and Steve Fishell. Leonard, who has worked with industry superstars such as Paul McCartney, Prince and Rush, said he hopes this program will allow students to gain a more complete perspective on how to create a record.

“The objective is that they will get an overview of how much time it takes to make a record, how much money it costs to make a record, the processes involved in making a record, the recording, the editing and the mixing,” Leonard said.

The first few days of the course will be taught by Fishell, who will guide students in picking artists and evaluating talent during pre-production. Afterward, Leonard will come in and work with the students and an artist to create a recording plan. Students will create their own record in a studio with the artist under Leonard’s guidance.

Gallatin senior Danielle Winchester, who is currently interning through the music business department, said she is excited about the new program. 

“The site in Nashville sounds like it’s going to be incredible,” Winchester said. “I think that having experienced people in the business teaching classes is such a rare opportunity.”

Steinhardt sophomore and music business major Brendan Quealy said the program offered opportunities that the students may not have gotten otherwise.

“Our program is made up of students who have interest in both the creative and the business side, and I think that a lot of the curriculum focuses on the business side,” Quealy said. “Sometimes the creative side isn’t completely fulfilled by the curriculum. This program is good because it fulfills that other side of it.”

Steinhardt sophomore and music business major Rupesh Barman said the program would offer a look into a side of the industry rarely covered in New York.

“Nashville has its own vibrant community that doesn’t get a lot of exposure in this area,” Barman said. “It’s really the place to be for country, Americana and bluegrass. It will be interesting to see that side of the industry.”

The priority application deadline for this program is Sept. 15, and the general deadline is Nov. 1.

Email Julia Baxley at [email protected]