The Spirit of Mentorship and Forward Thinking: Advice for College Music Students

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College music students gathered online late Jan. to learn what it takes to have a successful career in the music industry. The Careers in Music Summit, presented by The NAMM Foundation during Believe in Music Week, Jan. 18-22, featured a series of up-close interviews with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond.  

Lamond spoke with a diverse lineup of music industry professionals, including singer-saxophonist-songwriter-composer and band leader Grace Kelly, Laura Penrose of Nick Rail Music, Marcus Blackwell, Jr. of Make Music Count and Kit Culpepper of Martin Guitar & Strings.  

You can watch the Careers in Music Summit by playing the video on this page or watch on YouTube.


Grace Kelly Performance 

Kelly kicked off The Careers in Music Summit with a performance of her single, “Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby.” The Yamaha artist later chatted with Lamond about her journey from student to musician and offered wisdom to current college music students.

“It’s great for aspiring musicians to learn about the business side, marketing and branding,” said Kelly. “Students [should] think about what makes them unique.” 

Career Advice from Industry Professionals 

Speakers discussed their career trajectories and shared practical insights for long-term success. Tips shared with students included: 

  • “Be open to new ideas. Don’t box yourself in. Be brave.” - Laura Penrose 
  • “Be creative. Find out how you can provide solutions to the economy.” - Marcus Blackwell, Jr. 
  • "The true spirit of mentorship is bringing out people’s strengths.” - Kit Culpepper 

What Attendees Said 

Thomas Peters, a Technical Support Representative for East West Sounds, was impressed by the professional advice the speakers gave.  

“Social media is an amazing opportunity for musicians and composers to build their businesses- more than ever!” he said.  

Elijah Walsh, an Audio Specialist, was inspired by NAMM’s own Believe in Music Week. 

"Forward thinking is the answer,” said Walsh. “Like attending virtual conferences!” 

The Careers in Music event is dedicated to SUNY Potsdam alumnus and longtime music industry icon, Sandy Feldstein. Believe in Music Week is the global gathering to unify and support the people who bring music to the world.  

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