Once again this year, Montclair High School music teacher Boyce Ennis brought a group of students to the annual Grammy Career Day, hosted by Pace University.
Throughout the day, music industry professionals critiqued students’ original musical compositions, with three MHS students highlighted for their level of accomplishment. As is true every year, high school students from throughout the Tri-State area participated in the event, giving them a range of possible career options in the music industry – and a taste of what those options might be like to pursue.
At the end of the day, Mr. Ennis was presented with the first-ever Excellence in Education award for his continued contributions to students’ musical development.
Below, Mr. Ennis’ first-hand account of the 200 Grammy Career Day, which took place on May 13.
Yesterday at GCD three students from Montclair HS were spotlighted for their original compositions. Ryan Kelly and Connor Smith, who composed “What you Want from Me,” had their composition critiqued by Barry Eastmond, Grammy award-winning music producer for Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, etc.
Cara Jacques, who composed “Memories,” had her composition critiqued by Jimmy Bralower, Grammy award winning producer for Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, etc.
Each student had their songs played for an audience of 750 students from throughout the Tri-State area and then were called up to the stage of the Shimmel Theater at PACE University to go through a series of workshops with industry professionals.
These industry professionals gave them advice on vocal technique, studio recording, song writing and marketing. Jennifer Blakeman, who works in the Music Licenses part of the industry, said the students could earn a comfortable living placing their music in commercials. When asked how much they could earn, she said as new and unknown artist they could make base salary of $15K-20K per song.
All in all it was a great day for all. Students got to listen to industry professionals and hear music from four up and coming artists in the music biz.
The same day, the GRAMMY Foundation presented its first-ever Excellence in Education Award to spotlight the teachers who keep the arts alive and well in the public schools of the Tri-State area. This award is first of many awards to be given to teachers across the country and Montclair, the Arts Model School of New Jersey, is home to the first teacher who has been given this prestigious award.