The Music Career Counseling Program (MCCP) is an education outreach initiative that targets 10th graders who will be creating Personalized Education Plans and making choices about continuing their formal education or finding work – and whether to remain in West Virginia.
The MCCP was seeded with an NEA Challenge America grant in 2016. The program utilizes relationships the WVMHoF has developed with WV musicians and music industry professionals and brings them into high schools to speak to students about the many performing and non-performing career opportunities available in the music industry.
To date, the MCCP has visited 30 schools and, in 2019, will visit approximately 30 more. Teachers, students and counselors have been overwhelmingly supportive and surprised at the variety of non-performing opportunities in the music industry which include: engineering, event production, catering, wardrobe, photography, journalism, sound reinforcement, stage tech and even songwriting. (You don't have to be a musician to write songs!)
Central to the discussion is that many of these careers do not require moving out of state. Many can be done remotely via the internet while others (including the many support jobs for touring artists) involve seasonal travel and lend themselves to having an affordable home base in West Virginia. And, unlike many major markets, if you have an original, creative idea in West Virginia – you will find people eager to listen and help!
The MCCP is aligned with the WVDE’s newly-adopted WVCCRS which reflect an awareness and emphasis on the need the MCCP addresses:
“WVCCRS have been developed with the goal of preparing students for a wide range of high-quality post-secondary opportunities. Specifically, college- and career-readiness refers to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to be successful in higher education and/or training that lead to gainful employment. The WVCCRS establish a set of knowledge and skills that all individuals need to transition into higher education or the workplace, as both realms share many expectations. All students throughout the educational experience, should develop a full understanding of the career opportunities available, the education necessary to be successful in their chosen pathway, and a plan to attain their goals.”
A typical MCCP session consists of the following:
1) The 10th grade class gathers for the assembly. In larger schools, the class is split into groups of approximately 60 students. In smaller schools other grades are included.
2) WVMHoF director Michael Lipton provides the students with an overview of the MCCP and the WVMHoF, and introduces each guest. Each guests speaks for approximately 10 minutes, explaining their careers, what inspired them and how they developed their particular skill set. Addressing the state’s out-migration of young adults, the speakers stress that many of these career opportunities exist in West Virginia – a very different message than the students are used to hearing.
3) Students then have the opportunity to ask specific questions. They are also told that the WVMHoF can connect them with professionals for a one-on-one “counseling session” for their preferred field. In addition, the WVMHoF collaborates with The Clay Center (Charleston), Carnegie Hall (Lewisburg), “Mountain Stage” (Charleston), and a number of recording studios to offer interested students the opportunity to see a production or recording session from beginning to end.
4) The session generally concludes with a performance that includes most of the speakers.
Check back soon for upcoming dates