Liberty University Music Students Welcome New Michael W. Smith Center

Michael W. Smith Photo from michaelwsmith.com

School of Music students at Liberty University will be introduced this fall semester to the new Michael W. Smith Center for Commercial Music.

Elijah Chau, a senior worship leadership major at Liberty, said he began listening to Smith’s worship music as well as interviews featuring Smith in high school and believes hands-on experience with a veteran musician like Smith will be “life-changing” for students.

“I think learning from him (Smith) is going to be life-changing to some of the students including myself, especially to those who are into songwriting,” Chau said.

“Being able to come up with new songs as musicians and write music to share the Gospel, but also to share your life story on how God has changed your life — it’s such a great opportunity and such an eye-opener because it gives students the opportunity to look more in-depth about what going into the music business is like.”

Both the new music center, which opens officially Thursday, Aug. 1, and Smith’s involvement were announced in a press release on Liberty’s website in June. The center will also be accompanied in the future by a recording label at Liberty meant to attract both established musical talent and students looking to get into the music industry.

The announcement was previously teased by Smith in a video shown at Liberty’s commencement in May with Smith stating, “I have some big news on taking music (at Liberty) to a whole other level, and it’s going to be awesome.”

Smith will serve as the executive director of the new center. In addition, Kevin Jonas Sr., father and original band manager of the Jonas Brothers, a recently reunited pop music trio formed in 2005, will help play a role in the center’s future recording label.

Vernon Whaley, dean of Liberty’s School of Music, said Liberty wanted someone like Smith “that we knew had been in the industry a long time and was an example of biblical and professional integrity, and his name just kept coming back to the top.”

The new commercial music center, Whaley noted, will be in addition to the already existing commercial music degree program in the School of Music.

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Source: Baptist Press