Music industry students learn the business of making beats


Cristian Orellana

A student adjusts the volume dial on a mixer. The music industry college offers a mix of music and business classes for its students.

Erin Haynes, Assistant Life and Times Section Editor

No matter how amazing the song is, it’s all about who you know to make it heard. Loyola’s School of Music Industry students face the music and learn what it takes to be a creative entrepreneur in the industry.

“We tell them you may be a freshman, but you are now a music industry professional,” said Jeffrey Albert, an associate professor and director of the school of music industry.

Before playing their first note or warming up their singing voices, students are thrown into a mini-music industry by connecting with and learning from working professionals.

“I’ve been in the industry for 30 years playing the trombone,” Albert said. “I have recorded with U2 and performed with Stevie Wonder.”

The professors expose students to all areas of the industry to help them uncover new skills.

“Tim Kappel teaches our legal issues courses, is a practicing entertainment attorney and brings stuff to class from real life, not a textbook,” said Albert.

Though she first wanted to be a singer, music industries studies junior Surya-Isis Ndedi fell in love with music business in her Introduction to Music Industry class.

“Your intro project is to sign an artist and be their marketer, financial agent, legal person and anything else you can think of,” said Ndedi.

From producing music videos on YouTube to releasing popular songs on Apple Music and Spotify, Ndedi helped her freshman “client” gain a foundation for her career.

“I can’t see myself at any other university because no other music school throws you in like ours,” said Ndedi.

It was New Orleans’s music venues and funky music that drew Ndedi to the city.

Students perform hip-hop, rock, pop, or anything they desire at Tipitina’s for their final semester music ensemble class projects.

“I call [my genre] ‘black noise’ because I’m proud that I don’t label myself as anything, and it is an accumulation of black music,” said Ndedi.

People can hear Ndedi’s black and limitless sound on her latest EP “Tour Eiffel,” which is featured on Apple Music.

“The knowledge [I’ve learned] is profound and has helped a lot, but it is the connections that I’ve made that are going to last far beyond graduation,” said Ndedi.

Like Ndedi, graduate Adam Gerber, A’16, first wanted to be a singer, but encouragement from his professors led him to explore music production.

“Encouragement from the professors to try things, even if you’re bad at them at first, is making entrepreneurial moves and was the biggest impact,” said Gerber.

While a student, Gerber started multiple music clubs on campus and attended networking events to make industry connections. It was when he got the opportunity to volunteer at Voodoo and Buku that Gerber saw the doorway to his career as a freelance event specialist for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and tour manager open.

“There is a universe where I could’ve been a choir director, but I am happy where Loyola has gotten me,” said Gerber.