Commercial Music Expo empowers young musicians



Music teacher Yahosh Bonner teaches students how to improve their performance on stage. BYU is hosting an on-campus commercial music expo with professional musicians to help young musicians succeed in the music industry. (Ari Davis)

Music industry professionals taught the next generation of musicians how to succeed at BYU’s Commercial Music Expo, a two-day event filled with music workshops, devotions and concerts.

This year’s exhibition, July 14-15, was filled with the maximum number of participants: 100 students. Students learned about subjects such as songwriting, entrepreneurship, recording and stage performance at the Harris Fine Arts Center.

The School of Music sponsored the event, allowing students to attend for free. All of the instructors were volunteers who gave of their time.

“It’s free commentary from professionals who are here out of the goodness of their hearts,” said Eliza Smith, intern for the exhibition.

Singer Yahosh Bonner Рwho has performed with James the Mormon, Alex Boy̩ and others Рbegan his lecture with an analogy of a lobster. Bonner said that as a lobster grows, its shell becomes tight, forcing the lobster to remove its shell and make a new one. Growth is uncomfortable and sometimes painful, according to Bonner.

“If you’re still comfortable, you won’t grow taller,” Bonner said.

Amy Whitcom, a BYU alumnus in commercial music, was a member of Noteworthy while at BYU. She returned to BYU as an instructor for the exhibit.

“I would have loved to be a resource like this when I was in school, so I was more than happy to come and contribute,” Whitcom said. “As a former student, I want to come back and give back.”

Katherine Cox, a high school student student who attended the exhibition, said the event was inspiring and she appreciated the ability of instructors To teach the principles of originality while pushing them to become better musicians.

“(The instructors) are very inspiring for the individuality and the sharing of talents that you have,” Cox said.

BYU Commercial Music graduate Colin Rivera taught students how to receive criticism and appreciate the inspiration they receive. He said many musicians get lost when they receive reviews it takes away their authenticity.

“Learn to understand the nuances of criticism and cherish your inspiration,” Rivera said.

High school student Brookelynn Harris said being around talented people helps because they can criticize.

“I think it’s amazing that we all have something to give, and there is so many talented people here with such crazy potential, ”said Harris.

Hannah Gabrielsen and Eliza Smith organized the event. Gabrielsen, a BYU graduate, created the exhibit for her senior project.

“There is nothing like it anywhere else in several states,” Gabrielsen said, “We have people out of state coming here for this event from Michigan, Missouri, and Kentucky.”

Smith contacted instructors and promoted the exhibit using social media.

“I wish there was a schedule for me when I was getting ready for the commercial music program,” Smith said.

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