Gaining an Edge in the Business as a Music Industry Major: Alyssa McAvoy’s Story

Alyssa McAvoy is currently a junior from Monmouth County here at Rowan University, majoring in Music Industry with a double concentration in technology and business. She is also pursuing a minor in Entrepreneurship through the Rohrer College of Business.

What is the music industry to you?

The music industry, to me, is … the community of people that help musicians and are the backbone of music. I basically explain it as Becca from “Pitch Perfect:” it’s behind the scenes that you’re doing either sound or levels or audio or you’re promoting an artist so it’s really just that behind the scenes. Like a musician is the best way to describe it.

Alyssa doing what she loves most!

What kind of opportunities and internships are open to music industry majors and what’s the coolest job opportunity/internship that you’ve done?

In our program, we actually require two to two internship classes. An internship is a great way to push the students to get involved in finding internships for themselves or at least try to find contacts for internships.

I actually just did some remote work with Travie McCoy’s manager over the summer, and I did some work with Live Nation, which is a big venue company, and it was a great experience. There are some job opportunities, and there’s so so many in the music industry, but some to list are mixing engineers, sound engineers for whether it’s movies or TV shows, and then on the business side, promoting or marketing or even a manager, and that’s just a few. There’s so much that you can do in this major for sure.

My next internship will probably be in tech. But I got to, like I said, I did some remote work over the summer, which had Travie McCoy’s manager, who’s a rapper that was featured on the Bruno Mars song “Billionaire.” I helped him book flights and I made some phone calls to venues and basically, just kind of saw the behind-the-scenes and worked hands-on with his manager to plan and just see how things are executed while you’re being a manager.

Alyssa is hard at work!

Alyssa also discussed a summer work opportunity she did here at Rowan.

The summer camp was my first year, so in 2021 summer, I was the only student worker because it was on Zoom. I helped manage the signup sheets, the Zoom links and all that. And then last year, it was me and three other music industry students, and we basically just helped run groups. I got to have a whole group of high school seniors, and I got to tell them the ins and outs about the program, kind of just guide them in the right direction, and give those connections to my professors that were here during the summer. It was a really great experience because I got to see the next face of the major.

Do you feel like you maybe inspired them to take the major?

I would hope so. I enjoy being a girl in this major because I don’t think a lot of people will see that a lot, where it’s very male based, and I want to make a difference of like, girls can do this, too. There’s no certain type of person you have to be to do this kind of work. If you want to do it, you can do it. And that’s what I really love about this. It’s very inclusive, anyone can be a music industry major. It’s not just one specific person.

How did you decide you wanted to be a Music Industry major?

I always did the sound for my dance studio growing up since I was in like seventh or eighth grade. I did all the sound, and I was really good at it. But I just did it as a hobby. And one day, my parents were like, “Why don’t you look into doing this as a career if that’s something you like?” So I actually was going to go to school down south. And the day before my last day of high school before COVID shut everyone down, I actually came to an open house and I really liked Rowan’s program. I applied right away and it was very late into my senior year, which was March. So, that’s how I became a Music Industry major.

What drew me to Rowan’s Music Industry program was that there are so many connections here. And we have such a good range of equipment. Being close to Philly is so vital, and even New York’s an hour and a half away. And just seeing the credentials that all of our professors have, they have tons of experience, whether it’s working in Philly as I said, or New York, or one of my professors just did a movie with someone back in like Ohio back in March and just so many, like, cool credentials, where that could help me in the future, just having those contacts. So that was the big difference for me, for sure.

Alyssa dappling in the tech side of music

What does the coursework look like for a Music Industry major?

It’s very hands-on. Since I’m a double concentration, I have a little bit of both the business side and the tech side. So with the tech side, it’s very hands-on doing stuff in the field. So I did some [work] in Philly, where I shadowed some engineers there and on campus actually, I mixed a show at Landmark last semester. And on the business side, it’s planning and promoting with social media.

Alyssa went on to describe the tech side of her major and the opportunities she’s been granted.

It’s very hands-on, that’s what I love about this program. The class I would say that has taught me the most is Sound Reinforcement 1, which was that course where I got to do shadow experience in Philly. I actually shadowed an engineer at World Cafe Live, which is this club in Philly that my professor actually got me the gig to shadow, which was really cool. And I’ve learned how to mix and monitor and just set up for any concert or show. And then I think another course that’s very vital is Producing the Record. And we actually got to go to my professor’s studio in Philly as well. And he just showed us all the equipment and how to manage it, and how to set it up correctly without breaking it.

So the Music Industry business side, basically, our junior to senior year, we have a label that we run, I haven’t started that class yet. But it’s Artist Services. And it’s three courses. And basically, throughout those three semesters, you’re working on either marketing or promoting and just setting up shows with your fellow classmates, which is really cool. Touring Concert Promotion was a class I took last semester. And we actually put a show online at Landmark. And it was really cool. And I got to help promote it. And actually, I’ve worked on the sound for that show as well.

What does your Entrepreneurship minor look like? How did you end up putting on an Entrepreneurship minor to your degree?

The Music Industry major makes it very easy to add the Entrepreneurship minor. Pretty much all the classes we have to take for the business side, we have to take for the Entrepreneurship minor. So it was a no-brainer to add it. It’s like one extra class. So I was like, why not take a minor I really enjoyed? So right now I’m in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and you’re learning all the basics about what it is to be an entrepreneur and just all the ideas of running a business. I felt like it was just a smart decision to add that as well.

What’s the biggest takeaway you’ve take from you your entrepreneurship classes?

You have to be creative, and you can’t cut off any ideas — there’s not any bad idea. You have to let yourself brainstorm and be creative and unique. And there’s no bad idea.

Pfleeger Concert Hall: What being a Music Industry major at Rowan looks like

So what do you do outside of your major?

I am here at Wilson all the time being a music industry major, but I also work here, I’m actually one of the longest-serving student workers here, I do a lot of the sound for the live streams and just setting up for concerts. And I can help assist students here at Wilson if they have any questions or comments or concerns. And then outside of Wilson, I’m on the Rowan Dance Team. I do social media for them. And I’m also in a sorority on campus as well.

Alyssa describes how she ended up getting involved with student work and activities.

I’m actually a COVID senior. My transition to Rowan was very different from other classes. And when I first came here, my first semester was all online. And I got an email from my boss, Jeff, who’s a professor as well, [who was] just looking for student workers and stuff like that. So I just emailed and he actually hired me right away. He was like, “You know what, you’re a freshman.” I was the only freshman hired that year. And he was like, “You know, I want new faces. I want someone to like, once the juniors and seniors that graduated” when I was a freshman, I could take over. So that’s pretty much what I’m doing now as a junior. And basically, from there he kind of threw me into it. He was like, “Ok, you’re going to work these concerts and stuff,” which was really awesome. Because especially being online, it kind of got me acclimated to Wilson, and all the equipment we have in the studios and stuff.

Going on to her involvement with the Rowan University dance team:

So I just auditioned during COVID. It was online in Zoom. And ever since then, I’m so glad I did it because we get to compete at Nationals in Disney every January. And we get to support our fellow Profs on the football field. And it’s so nice, like supporting them and just doing stuff on campus, like whether it’s Harvest Fest or Holly Bash, we do a lot of community service as well. So it’s just a great experience. And plus, I still get to dance, which is awesome.

Alyssa then went into her involvement in Greek Life.

I’m a member of Alpha Sigma Tau or AST. Basically, I actually joined that because my freshman year, and nothing was really going on on campus. And it was a great way to meet new people. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

I’ve met so many amazing girls and they are such a good support system. And some people like that I would never like to live my life without. We just do a lot of stuff on campus like community service. We do bake sales and do a lot of community service and like we usually do stuff for our philanthropy for the sorority to raise money for different organizations like women’s wellness and stuff like that. So it’s just a great way to like to be involved and just have some community service.

Like I said before, I joined it to just have other people to be, you know, my backbone. I’ve met so many amazing people that I could not live without now. They’re amazing and it’s a great support system whether just someone to talk to or someone you know, just to be with like, they’re really great people.

Alyssa is in her element!

So what do you want to do?

I have no clue what I want to do. I would love to do something that would involve both the tech and business sides. That’s why I decided to do both. I think it’s a no-brainer to do both. A lot of students don’t do it, though. I think it just made sense. Because then since I’m not entirely sure of what I want to do, it gives me those options and opportunities that I have all that experience from taking both the business concentration and the tack.

What’s it like being involved on campus? Do you feel like you have a better connection being here on campus? And like, do you feel a sense of community here?

All my friends could tell you. I’m the busiest person ever, but I love it because I feel like I’m making the most of my four years here even though like I said, my first year was a little shaky because of being online. It was weird. It was not the same, you know, community aspect that Rowan is today because we’re all back, which is so nice to see. So I definitely think it’s great that we have all these opportunities to be involved here at row one, where you get that community aspect and you’re not just a number like I feel like I’m actually like making a difference by being involved in so many things here.

See our video with Alyssa here:

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Story by:
Asiya Robinson, junior writing arts major

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, sophomore dance and marketing double major