Approaching Business as a Musician: UWG Students Take On a New Perspective

Allie Smith

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

The University of West Georgia and the Carrollton community have been creating beautiful music together for decades. This summer, they found a different way to harmonize thanks to a new partnership.

GreenCourt Legal Technologies provided the background for the Department of Music’s inaugural Frazier Music Business Internship. Students Laney Bledsoe and Karlee Demmer were the first to reap the benefits of this limitless opportunity.

“When a lot of people think of musicians, they think of someone sitting in the middle of a courtyard playing guitar,” Demmer said. “They don’t often think of them as business people.”

As president and COO of GreenCourt, Ryan Roenigk wanted to give non-business students an introduction into the field and also enlighten employers, students and parents that there are opportunities available to those majoring in music.   

“Where our company can benefit, and where our institutions of higher learning can benefit, is to know that the title of the major doesn’t always give an indication of what knowledge is there,” said Roenigk. “We need to look for new perspectives that can make a company really rich and full.”      

Through this opportunity, Bledsoe and Demmer were able to experience first hand how their music backgrounds not only related to the business world, but also helped prepare them for it.

“I think a lot of people in the business world can benefit from having a skill in music because of our attention to detail and our willingness to work for the long road,” said Demmer.

“Being able to take the information you have and make something out of it is a really valuable skill to have,” Bledsoe added. “It doesn’t matter what context it’s in.”  

Dr. Larry Frazier, retired UWG professor and founder of the internship opportunity, stated that he “could not be more pleased with how everything came together for the launch of the program.”

“All participants were most positive about the program,” he said. “It was quite apparent that the students had gained new poise and self confidence in the business environment.”  

Frazier was also proud of the support this opportunity has received from the College of Arts and Humanities as well as the music faculty. Department chair, Dr. Kevin Hibbard, has shown his support by integrating the program into the music curriculum.

“This internship opportunity adds an important new dimension to preparing our students to succeed in their future careers,” shared Hibbard.

Roenigk said the relationship between music and business should be recognized and utilized.

“I see the program as a public service to try and help a couple of students at a time to develop a story to tell,” he explained. “It’s not despite the fact that I majored in music I have career options; it’s because I majored in music I have career options.”

Working this internship proved to be much more valuable than just learning business skills and knowledge. Bledsoe and Demmer both agreed that through their experiences they were given “confidence and comfort” in regards to their lives after college and their future goals and aspirations.

“That might not have been the conventional goal,” Bledsoe expressed in regards to the confidence she gained through her internship, “but I think when you can give a college student that kind of feeling, you have done a pretty monumental thing.”