From Mexico to Music Industry Education in Colorado
International High School Student Enjoys CU Denver Summer Program
When Karen Hernandez, a high school student in Guadalajara, Mexico, read the online description of the recording arts and music business degree programs at the University of Colorado, Denver, U.S.A., she felt an immediate connection.
“I felt such a strong connection, researched further, and saw that you could learn so much about music media and about how to run a business,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez took the next steps quickly; she applied for the university’s College of Arts and Media (CAM) degree program, sent an audition recording, and had a Skype audition with university faculty. Through staying in touch with several faculty members, she learned about a special two-week opportunity, the Summer Music Industry Program, designed especially for university-bound high school students. Hernandez was accepted and arrived on campus in June.
The two-week summer program was a whirlwind of activities that Hernandez viewed as “really amazing”; she learned about the music business and met a number of American high school students who were also serious about cultivating their music industry skills, exploring Colorado’s exciting music scene, and developing their careers. During the students’ free time, they met to write and record new songs together as well as join in the field trips offered through the CAM summer program. They visited Red Rocks Park, a beautiful natural amphitheater space that has hosted concerts with groups ranging from The Allman Brothers to Sting to U2 to Phish, went behind the scenes at professional recording studios responsible for developing audio production for television, advertising and interactive media, and heard from inspirational guest lecturers in the industry.
Hernandez commented that she enjoyed her stay in Denver with a “new spacious room in Campus Village” (the on-campus facility) and fun American roommates. For local public transportation, she used Denver’s light rail system. In considering a move to the city for a four-year degree program, Hernandez, who has visited Colorado in winter, is looking forward to her favorite winter sport – snowboarding.
She sees definite advantages in receiving an education in an urban American environment. “I can get to know people from other countries and from other parts of America. This career is not offered in my hometown in Mexico, and I think the music business is much more advanced in the U.S.”.
Hernandez expressed appreciation for the important role that her parents played in instilling a love of music and in surrounding her with a professional music environment. In her freshman year of high school, she formed a band and was able to record an album (A Reason to Leave, Freefall). Her father, a professional pianist and conductor, has a radio program in Mexico and introduced her music to audiences through a radio and television spot.
In the future, Hernandez pictures herself as a respected performance artist who also has her own studio and is helping less fortunate musicians to achieve their dreams.
“One of the things that I really like about the University of Colorado Denver’s undergraduate degree program is that it offers an education with a range of commercial musical styles—rock, hip hop, jazz, and pop. This program will also help me really clarify if I want to study music industry or recording arts.”
For other international students who are considering an education in America, Hernandez advises, “Never lose hope that you can make it in a different country. There is always someone who can help and guide you. If English is a problem, that can be improved.” She explained that her parents miss her, but they know things are working out well for her.
“If it’s something that you love, things will somehow work out. I feel that I am getting support at CU Denver, even for the smallest thing,” said Hernandez. She concluded, “If you have faith you can get anywhere you want to go.”
Karen Hernandez has been conditionally admitted to the Bachelor of Science in Music (Recording Arts) program at the University of Colorado Denver and hopes to return to Denver to begin this program in the fall semester of 2014.
About the University of Colorado Denver Summer Music Industry Program
The University of Colorado Denver Summer Music Industry Program, College of Arts and Media, provides high school students with a window into “what it takes” to be a musician in today’s competitive music industry. Students can delve into a range of topics relevant to performance, song writing, music business, and the recording arts. The program is conducted for two weeks, and significant scholarships are offered.
Students in the program strive to develop higher level of artistic and instrumental achievements, and improve industry-relevant fundamental musical skills. They are able to participate in group activities and field trips, attend concerts, visit professional recording studios and offer community service project in the city of Denver. Students can contribute to team projects that include creating a demo recording, a live show, an electronic press kit, a business plan, and a strategy for success in the music industry.