Grammy U comes to DVC


Grammy U program presentators Michael Winger, Sarah Lanning, and DVC Grammy U ambassador Shelby Fabianac pose with Michael Aczon, music industry studies professor and music students in the DVC campus music building, Nov. 12th

Sarah Carr

The Recording Academy wants Diablo Valley College music majors to get on board with Grammy U, a program designed specifically for ambitious students that are serious about working in music.

Michael Winger, executive director of the San Francisco chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, spoke with the Inquirer about the Grammy U program and what the San Francisco chapter of the well-renowned academy has in store for potential DVC members.

“Grammy U is a program, first and foremost, to bring students up to professional level, and everything that we do at the academy is designed to keep people, as far as our professional development programming is designed, to give current knowledge about the industry. We always try to find the folks that are doing the most relevant, career-oriented work for our GU members,” he said.

Shelby Fabianac, the DVC Grammy U ambassador, helped direct the exclusive campus visit to help inform the music students of the program, and also encouraged students to join.

The recording academy hosts special events for Grammy U members in the Bay Area that help offer education and insight on the inner workings of the music industry. “Soundchecks” are an example. They are events that allow members to gain access to a specific concert or show ahead of time to meet the artists and fire away any questions they want to ask them, and witness the process of setting up a performance.

Sarah Lanning , the San Francisco student representative for Grammy U, also visited the campus to speak to DVC students about the opportunities that attending the events offered to DVC students if they were to become members. She explained the important benefits of attending a Grammy U event such as Soundchecks;

“soundcheck events are a way to get the artist perspective of the performance and allows them to attend part of their soundcheck before the show. It gives us all a chance to interview the artist before the show, or the band. We ask our GU members for any questions they hope to have answered during the soundcheck Q&A, and we pull a list of the questions that appeal the most to all the GU members and the artists answer right in front of us. It’s like an open forum. It’s a fun event.”

The most current Soundcheck event is being hosted at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in SF, with the electronic music duo Odesza.

“It ties together all of the available careers in the industry into one event,” Sarah said.

The Grammy U program is specifically for music students, majoring in a music program that ranges from any field. All music-related areas are welcomed to the program such as being a music industry studies major, audio engineering, music business, and beyond.

Lanning explains “we really want to try and get members who are studying music.”

The music industry is a confusing, fast-paced, and competitive industry that can be intimidating if attempting alone, and success is more difficult to achieve within the field than many others. Michael Winger provided advice to the DVC students when asked by the Inquirer, proving that when joining forces with passionate and skilled peers, the music industry is far more manageable.

“Joining Grammy U is a really great start. It’s very much based on who you connect with. Whether that’s finding fellow artists to perform with,  or it’s people who are more experienced and know the industry well. All of those connections are very easily made with the Grammy U program. Besides from that, just get out there and do something. Find out whatever it is that you are trying to do, and try it. Don’t be afraid to fail.”