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Millennium Music Conference, Day Two 2/20

February 25, 2010 - Jim Price
Like the first day of Millennium Music Conference business sessions, this one also featured a schedule of panels and seminars, and more acoustic entertainment on the Pennsylvania Musician-sponsored acoustic stage.
Some 28 different performers and bands graced the acoustic stage throughout the day. Among the most impressive performances were those by New Jersey-based singer/songwriter Shaun Ruyman, New York City-based rock group New Day Dawn, Harrisburg singer/songwriter Mycenea Worley, Fredonia, New York-based Americana performers Paul’s Grandfather, Albany-based rock group Lunic (complete with singer/violinist and cello player), New York City-based band London Egg (displaying a Fab Four-like flavor), and Columbus, Ohio-based singer/pianist Bill Kurzenberger.
I attended another of the business panels; and actually, one I attended last year. The Music Industry Educators panel featured representatives and graduates from several regional colleges and universities with music business cirriculums. Panelists included Jeff Snyder of Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Paula M. Savastano of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Carole Knisely of Harrisburg Area Community College; and two graduates of Lebanon Valley College’s music program who have moved on to music industry careers – Matt Edgecomb, who engineers sound at Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center for Performing Arts; and Derrick Euston, who operates the Green Room Recording Studio in the Harrisburg area.
The panel offered insight to musicians about music business education and its advantages. The biggest advantage outlined by the panel was that education can potentially prepare musicians for career paths not just in music itself, but surrounding the music business as well. Education can potentially widen knowledge of other areas such as business, marketing, computer skills, and other areas that can make graduates more serviceable to a wider variety of endeavors. This can enable musicians to generate income streams and pursue careers through more unconventional paths, and even plot their own unique and inventive career directions. And wiser, more knowledgeable musicians also have a better capability to recognize and leap at niche career opportunities that musicians without the knowledge might not recognize. Advice offered to musicians included not limiting themselves to one career direction or endeavor, staying on top of technology, and to continue to educate themselves in as many aspects of the music business field as they can. 
The daytime portion of the Millennium Music Conference concluded with this year’s edition of what has become the conference’s most popular panel, the Smash Or Trash panel. Throughout the weekend, musicians were invited to submit their recordings to a drop box. Then, during the Smash Or Trash panel, a panel of music industry representatives would play some of the submitted recordings and offer their thoughts and critiques of the music; disclosing whether the song had the potential to be a hit, or if it was trash and/or needed major reworking. This year’s panelists included producer David Ivory (Halestorm, Patti Labelle, Silvertide), Ed Brennan of Wind Up Records, Ken Carson of local rock station WQXA 105.7 “The X” and Citadel Broadcasting, and 105.7 “The X” morning show co-host and music director Jen Shade. Some 17 different musical submissions were critiqued during the panel. None of the selections got seriously trashed, although some received more advice for improvement than others. Ken sneaked three national recordings into the mix, both to gauge the audience’s reactions to the newest songs by Airborne, Red and Sevendust; and to show the audience of musicians just what their recordings are competing against as far as national releases and their recording quality. There were several big “winners,” songs that passed the panel with flying colors and were deemed potential hits; those songs were submitted by Shaun Ruyman, The Chuck Schaeffer Picture Show, Bill Kurzenberger, The Trapps, and Shayna Zaid.
The business portion of Millennium now over, I prepared for what was to be the final night of showcases in this year’s conference.

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Attendance at the Millennium Music Conference trade show at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel and Conference Center was brisk by Saturday afternoon.


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