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Fermatta Music Academy: An Academic Perspective on Music and the Music Industry

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You’ve earned a degree in music. Now what happens? Hopefully, luck and persistence might reward you with fame and fortune, or at least a few lucrative performances. But before being compensated for artistic passion and commitment, you pay your dues through graduation, wedding, and local club gigs while earning steady but stagnant wages at a boring job.

Is this is the general perception of a musician’s life?

Jan Carlo DeFan, lead guitarist of acclaimed independent Latin music group Elan, has this to say about stereotyping those who choose music: “A musician is sometimes regarded as someone who drifts into the music scene with little chance for a solid career in the industry or anywhere else. But there is more to the music industry than just performances and album releases.”

Careers That Keep the Music World Going

“If not for generations of music industry leaders, music itself would be nothing more than a pleasant past time,” Jan Carlo commented. “You see – music is hard work and hardly a stroll in the park.”

Music graduates, professionals with strong academic credentials and musical talent, and musicians willing to learn the business have access to career opportunities in the music industry: producer, composer, agent, sound technician, music executive, manager, recording engineer, and music director. “The industry is so large, it takes thousands of people to make things happen,” noted Jan Carlo. “Whenever you attend a live musical performance, remember that behind every musician are event planners and work crews dedicated to making the concert a success.”

Career musicians and professionals with a musical background also do well in production support, music distribution, public relations, print and broadcast journalism, and advertising and marketing. Many become music teachers and coaches.

Musicians and the Music Business

Although music is still regarded as entertainment but not a serious business, serious music professionals such as Jan Carlo are shaking up public impressions of the music industry. “In the past, the music business was random and loosely organized,” he pointed out. “Anybody with an instrument was called a musician and becoming an agent or music executive did not require a musical background. But with new technology and advances in music education, the culture is changing.”

He continued, “Today, hardly anyone in the industry would think of hiring a manager or agent who has never heard of a mastering engineer. Anyone who knows the music business knows how important the mastering engineer is to the intricate finalization of sound tracks before release and distribution.”

An artist on the guitar, Jan Carlo’s eclectic and soulful guitar riffs have stirred the emotions of fans from around the world. But few outside the music industry know he is an accomplished producer and has held several executive positions. But most importantly, even fewer know of his role in making comprehensive music education an acknowledged core curriculum.

As chairman of the Board of Directors for Fermatta Music Academy and SoundHaus, president of educational publishing company Group M-Utveckling, and founding member of the International Association of Music Colleges and Universities, Jan Carlo worked with prominent music performers, industry representatives, music educators, and industry executives to strengthen the quality of music education.

Jan Carlo was very involved with Fermatta Music Academy since its beginning. “As a performer and music executive, I had many contacts in the industry,” he recalls. “I was acquainted with Fermatta’s executive director when the academy was a school house.” He and a group of music industry professionals helped establish the curriculum now recognized by the Secretary of Public Education.

Fermatta Music Academy

Groundbreaking because its founders and faculty are award winning musicians and music industry experts, Fermatta Music Academy began in 1993 as a small school of contemporary music in Mexico City.

Intensive planning, creative input, a rigorous music teaching curriculum, rigorous training for selected instructors, and collaboration with those who know the music industry’s expectations helped Fermatta Music Academy expand into a major educational institution with certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs. Fermatta now has additional campuses in Mexico City and Guadalajara, Jan Carlo’s hometown.

Fermatta’s reputation for academic excellence in preparing students for music careers and as music industry leaders attracts a diverse student body from Mexico, Latin America, and other countries. Applicants go through a rigorous audition and screening for musical ability and other qualifications. Students can study different forms of contemporary music, engineering and production, composition, voice, and instrumentals.

To provide students with a high level of instruction, Fermatta utilizes the latest in technology and training tools in labs, classrooms, and recording studios.

Group M-Utveckling, a Netherlands-based educational researcher and publisher, prepares and develops the textbooks and other learning materials for Fermatta’s students and instructors.

“Music has a vital place in academic and personal achievement,” said Jan Carlo. “Many great scientists such as Albert Einstein and many industry giants were also accomplished musicians.”

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