Customized integrated arts major prepares alumni for careers in the music industry

ABINGTON, Pa. — When Vanessa Sexton searched across the country for a college major that covered music and entrepreneurship, only one met her criteria: Penn State Abingdon’s comprehensive arts program.

Four years on, and after graduating with her degree in May, she’s in the early stages of developing an app designed to connect musicians and creators with producers, promoters and music directors to introduce them to audience.

“I spent most of the summer raising money to protect my intellectual property rights. I found some of the most affordable and efficient technologies available and have been working hard to find the right platform for my needs.

Sexton worked with John Pachence, associate professor of integrated arts and an accomplished figure in the industry, to custom-design a path that supports her career goals. Her courses include marketing, music publishing, economics, ethnomusicology, songwriting, sound production, guitar, new business creation, smartphone application design and music entrepreneurship.

“I even took a computer programming class, and I tried to choose electives that would help me become the best businesswoman I could be,” said Sexton, who is in Penn State Grand Valley’s MBA program.

Coursework and time spent working with Patience on stage and setting up sound for his concerts and campus music events gave her hands-on experience working with artists. But her classmates inspired the app.

“When I came to Abingdon, I noticed that people were excited about music. Most of my classmates were aspiring musicians trying to build a fan base. I realized that producers and music directors had a hard time finding new artists because Social media is saturated. I hope this app can bridge the gap and allow them to connect,” Sexton said.

Content on the app is inspired by conversations with music industry professionals she has connected with.

“Growing a fan base comes from collaboration, so an important aspect of the app is connecting people. Artists will be able to create profiles with producers and promoters. These features set me apart from my competitors and help me protect new Artists so they don’t get taken advantage of,” she said.

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