Women of Rock and UTPA's Department of Marketing share tips on entertainment business challenges and success
Posted: 12/10/2010
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Joe Eguia, a sophomore marketing major at The University of Texas-Pan American, didn't let the title of a recent University event - Women of Rock Summit - deter him from attending to learn more about how to succeed in his dream career in the entertainment business.

He, along with other students, learned about a new Certificate of Entertainment Program offered by the Department of Marketing as well as heard from a panel of Rio Grande Valley women who are musicians, singers and music writers, on how to best prepare for and maintain a successful career in entertainment. The event was organized and moderated by Dr. Michael Minor, professor of marketing at the University.

Six female panelists participated in the recent Women of Rock Summit hosted by the UTPA Department of Marketing, which now offers a Certificate of Entertainment to better prepare Valley musicians and singers for a successful entertainment career. Pictured left to right are singer/musicians Veronique Medrano, Karina Alanis, Kim Snyder, Candace Heartsfield, and Naishla Sanchez; Amy Nichol Smith, arts/features writer, The Monitor; and Dr. Michael Minor, UTPA professor of marketing, who organized the summit and served as its moderator.
"Many graduates in the Valley want a career in some aspect of the entertainment industry, from being a performer on stage to owning a bar. We are attempting to provide them with a set of courses which will help prepare them for such a career," Minor said.

The new Certificate of Entertainment requires completion of five courses in up to three disciplines-marketing, music and communications-and can be combined with any major, inside or outside the College of Business Administration. It covers such subjects as recording, live production, major record companies, copyright of compositions, and the gamut of jobs in the entertainment industry besides that of a performer, such as an agent, producer and manager. To enter the program, the applicant only needs to be at minimum a junior in standing, Minor said.

The panel participants included Rio Grande Valley-based musicians/performers Kim Snyder, Veronique Medrano, Darina Alanis, Candace Heartsfield, and Naishla Sanchez. Amy Nichol Smith, arts/features reporter for The (McAllen) Monitor newspaper was also on the panel.

The question-and-answer discussion by the panelists touched upon a wide range of topics including the number and types of performance venues available in the Valley, juggling performing with school work, another job and/or family responsibilities, cover band work vs. performing original work, safety issues at performance sites, best ways to market themselves, access to practice space and issues involved in being a female member of an all-male group. Each panelist also listed the performers they admired or who inspired them and described their top "gig" ever.

Smith, who regularly reviews CD's and live shows by local and national performers, encouraged live performances by prospective entertainers and networking online to build their audiences. She also suggested they take advantage of local media outlets providing free coverage or promotion of local artists. In addition, she asked those seeking an entertainment career to look at how they defined success.

"Is success becoming a superstar or is success being heard in your own community," she said.

Snyder, a pianist, vocalist and composer, described the difficulties involved in trying to make a living just doing studio work or performances. Snyder is also an instructor of business administration at South Texas College and an adjunct faculty member at UTPA.

"You have to hustle," said Snyder, who along with other panelists would like to see an organization initiated to provide support and inspiration to fellow Valley performers.

Eguia said he takes every opportunity to learn more about a career in the music business and that the Women of Rock event provided him an opportunity to network with colleagues and to stay aware of the entertainment industry's constant evolution. Eguia, who has a minor in music, is a singer-songwriter, pianist, guitarist and has written more than 40 original compositions. He also writes and directs his own music videos. A Texas chapter member of Grammy University, Eguia said he is pleased that the University is offering the certificate in entertainment.

"I believe this certificate will allow anyone to gain in-depth knowledge about the entertainment industry," he said. "Many people see the music industry just as music and not a business. But the truth is you need to have knowledge on both aspects in order to succeed. Knowledge is power."

For more information on the certificate, contact Minor at (956) 665-3379 or e-mail