“YOU NEED A CHALLENGE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AS AN ARTIST. NKU CAN DEFINITELY PUSH YOU TO BE THE BEST.”
Justin Schmitt knew he was going to be a musician when he was 3 years old and he started tinkling the keys of a nearby piano. By the time he was in third grade, the instrument had changed — but the passion had not. He picked up a trombone and joined the school band.
"It was something about the sound of the instrument," says the 20-year-old junior Music Entrepreneurship major from Edgewood, Ky. "Something about the power of it.”
His love led him to college — but not to Northern Kentucky University. Not at first. After attending another university, something happened in 2014: NKU created its Music Entrepreneurship program.
"I took a lot of time to think about it," Schmitt says. "I have a deep passion for the performing arts, but the business aspect also has a deep appeal. The thought of managing an artist or working for a record label sounds like a really cool job."
HE CAME TO NKU WHERE HE COULD LEARN ABOUT THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THE ARTS BUSINESS.
"It was definitely the right choice," he says. "I've been given so many opportunities here, and I've been able to progress as a musician, ten-fold."
Schmitt singles out associate professor (and Director of Jazz Studies) William Brian Hogg for his challenging classes.
"He expects a lot out of us," Schmitt says. "He emphasizes professionalism — and that's what you have to have to be successful."
Developing a School of The Arts at NKU makes a lot of sense, he says.
"It will bring all of the artists together instead of having everyone divided," he says. "It's important for all of us to come together because it helps the flow of creativity. It helps create a fluid space."
While NKU feels small, officials at the school see the importance of the arts.
"There is competition, which is good, and there are great faculty," Schmitt says. "And the small class sizes allow you to really get a better grasp of what you're learning. I love NKU."