CMA EDU at Vanderbilt offers students a start in the music industry


Marie Charlotte Demetriades

Between classes and on-campus activities, it is easy to get caught up in the infamous “Vandy bubble” and forget about the opportunities that Music City has to offer. One organization that invites students to become immersed in Nashville’s famous music scene is CMA EDU at Vanderbilt. CMA EDU, the Country Music Association’s collegiate program, is designed to get students involved in the industry. Since 2014, CMA EDU at Vanderbilt has allowed students to take advantage of Nashville’s music scene, connecting students with internship and volunteer opportunities, industry contacts and tickets to events such as the filming of ABC’s CMA Country Christmas. Last year, CMA EDU at Vanderbilt welcomed several industry professionals for “An Inside Look: Making It in Music Business.”

Senior Greer Brucker, the organization’s president, has been a member since her sophomore year, when she was a transfer student in search of a music-related community.

“CMA EDU has changed my life,” said Brucker. “I have become way more confident in my abilities and how I can conduct myself as a professional.”

When she joined the organization, the chapter had low membership and turnout for events. Since then, they have reshaped the executive leadership board to make the organization focused on what students want. As president, Brucker’s goal is to make CMA EDU a resource for students, whether that means receiving guidance on a resume or networking. One example of resources for CMA EDU members are Live @ CMA events held by CMA at their headquarters on Music Row, where students can see an artist and be in a room full of industry professionals.

“In the nearly two and a half years since I’ve been here, I have made so many great connections, not just for networking purposes, but for great relationships with the people here,” said Brucker.

As a branch of the Country Music Association, the organization’s focus is in the country music genres. Students interested in the music industry as a whole should not let this deter them from being involved in the organization.

“It’s really about helping students become familiarized with how the industry works and the benefit is to get to meet artists or industry professionals who are involved with the music here,” said Brucker. “Once you branch into the industry, you find that everybody knows everyone. It is a community where if you want to find someone in pop or a different genre, it is pretty much guaranteed to find someone who knows someone in that genre.”

CMA EDU at Vanderbilt’s next event allows students to hear an upcoming artist and learn about marketing and artist relations. On Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., CMA EDU is hosting an event on campus with rising country artist Teddy Robb, who will perform his songs including “Lead Me On,” as well as Katie McCartney, who will be discussing her role as Senior Vice President of Monument Records. You can RSVP here.