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San Fernando Valley : Classes Give Music Students New Option

Students in the music department at Cal State Northridge aren’t just studying chords and keys these days--they’re also studying “the biz.”

When classes resumed Monday, the department began its second year of offering music industry studies, a bachelor’s degree program designed to tutor students in the ways of production, publishing, copyrights, licensing and law.

“We have to face the fact that the music industry has changed in the last 20 years,” said Prof. Joel Leach, who oversees the major. He explained that advances in computers and engineering have reduced the need for talented musicians to work as players for hire.

“There is a need for people who understand how the music industry works,” he said.

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Matthew Lilley, a 21-year-old saxophonist from North Hollywood, said he switched majors when he knew he wasn’t going to make a living playing an instrument.

“I still play, I love to play,” he said, “but I realized that that wasn’t what I wanted to do solely.”

Leach said CSUN is hoping to attract students who might be put off by the dwindling number of jobs for performers. “We can’t continue to offer curriculum that was relevant in 1960 in 1995,” he said.

About two dozen students are enrolled in the program.

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