McFerrin sings

Katie Hunhoff

Despite a panel filled with several big-name musicians and producers, the Ted Mann Concert Hall remained uncrowded Wednesday.
Because of winter weather, many high school students were unable to attend “Grammy in the Schools,” a traveling event intended to teach high school and college students how to turn their love of music into a career.
The seminar tours 17 schools throughout the United States. The University’s stop included international recording artist Bobby McFerrin and producer Jimmy “Jam” Harris.
A collaboration between the University and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the event focused on various music careers including songwriting, music education and music therapy.
The highlight of the event was a “super panel” made up of distinguished musicians working in various areas of the industry.
Camilla Horne, student coordinator for the program, Minneapolis’ “Grammy in the Schools” draws top-notch panelists every year.
“Our `super panel’ is by far superior to the one in Los Angeles and other locations. They can’t believe who we have on our panel,” she said.
Horne said students who want music careers need the expertise of the panelists.
“The reality is that you don’t play a song or instrument and suddenly develop a CD or get it published. You have to know where to go and who to know,” she added.
McFerrin, a Grammy winner and current creative chairman of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, said the event will not only teach the students about various musical careers, but also what these careers entail.
“This will give a sense of what a music professional must do, onstage and off, including all of the hard work involved in building and starting a career.
“To be successful you must make it look fun and glamorous, but all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes is what makes a professional,” McFerrin said.
Jimmy “Jam” Harris, a producer and writer for more than 40 recordings that have gone platinum or gold, also commented on the work involved to be in the industry.
“Don’t look at your waiting as waiting. Look at it as preparing. This is preparation for whatever you will do in life,” said Harris, who has worked with artists like Janet Jackson, Color Me Badd and TLC.
Sharice Zaccardi, a student at P.M. High School, attended the event to find a niche for herself in the music industry.
“I’m really here to make up my mind about whether or not to pursue a music career, to see if their is an option for me. I’m very interested in being a producer, but I have no idea where to get started, so hopefully I’ll get some ideas here,” Zaccardi said.
David Sears, the managing director of education and outreach at the NARAS foundation, said most students who want to be involved in the music industry aren’t aware of the many opportunities open to them.
“A lot of students think that the only way to be involved in music is to perform, and we try to give them a reality check. I think the students who come to these events are happy to find out that there’s other things to do,” Sears said.
In past years, the event has drawn around 1,000 attendees, but because of high school cancellations and finals testing, fewer than 50 people attended Wednesday’s event.