THE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC CENTER (CMC)

The Short Story


When we created the Contemporary Music Center program, we asked ourselves one question, “What kind of music program would I have wanted when I was 20 years old?” Here is the answer…..

The CMC, in Nashville, Tennessee, is a semester long, crash course program that prepares college-age musicians for careers in the music industry while living out their faith as Christ-followers. Thirty, like-minded students live, work and create music together in a facility that provides 24/7 access to world-class gear. All teaching faculty are still active in the industry and their real-world experiences keep the program relevant and practical.

Since the CMC is an extension classroom of your college/university, you earn 16 credits in Nashville that transfer back to your home school. You do not need to take a ninth semester to fit CMC into your graduation requirements. And, our cost is the tuition average of all Christian, liberal arts institutions.

This may come as a surprise to you, but the CMC is not just for music students. In fact, the majority of our students are NOT music majors or in a music program. We gladly accept students who are majoring in business, communications, philosophy, marketing, audio/visual support, undeclared and so on. 

There are three tracks of study; Artist, Business and Technical. In the artist track students write, record, perform; the business students manage, promote, market and the tech students handle all things technical including sound, lights, video and more. To understand how these tracks fit together, it’s important to understand that songs are the raw material of the music industry. Every job in that vast workforce is essentially serving to advance the song. So, the CMC reflects this reality by organizing each week around a Thursday night CMC Live show that features new, original songs. On the weekends, students finish writing/arranging and rehearsing their new songs. On Monday and Tuesday, faculty provide feedback and the business/technical tracks plan the production elements for the show. Hammer Time, a lengthy dress rehearsal, is scheduled on Wednesday and then Thursday, show day, begins with a line check, followed by a sound check and then evening show. The next day, the ‘game tape’ is reviewed and then we do it all over again….rinse, wash, repeat.

If each day of the week points at the Thursday night CMC Live show, then the first three months of the program ultimately point at the end of semester Road Tour. We pack up all the gear and hit the road, bringing a fully produced show to campuses at our member colleges and universities. The Road Tour is actually the final exam. During the semester there are no tests, quizzes, papers, mid-terms or written finals; the entire experience is experiential. That’s why it’s called an experience.

Ultimately, the end game is to equip each student to secure an entry-level job in the entertainment industry while being faithful to the claims of Christ on their lives. In the ‘getting a job’ category, our nearly 1,000 alumni are the biggest employers of our graduates. They know the value of the program and they trust our recommendations. Moreover, a CMC graduate is, on average, two to three years ahead in their career trajectory compared to another person their age who moves to Nashville cold without any connections or experience. As to the ‘Christ following’ piece, the entertainment industry is decidedly anti-Christian.  Each believer will be required, usually during some random backstage conversation, to answer the question of why they believe. Just accept it now.. faithfulness to Christ is usually rewarded with intolerance. But James did say, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2-3)

The CMC is the program I wanted when I was 20 years old. It’s also the program I needed, even though I didn’t know it at the time. 

The CMC is your program, made for you. Experience it today. Apply Now!

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