UM’s Living Music Resource internship offers real life music industry experience

Riley Long
Oxford Stories

The famous tagline “Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’…” from one of the many hits sung by Dolly Parton reminds listeners about career struggles.

Living Music Resource, a University of Mississippi internship program, reminds students about career opportunities.

This semester, Living Music Resource interns visited the Nashville recording studio Parton frequents to gain real life experience about the music industry. UM Associate Professor Nancy Maria Balach created LMR in the fall of 2013 as an opportunity for students to experience the music industry outside Oxford.

Balach, a performer and associate professor at the University of Mississippi, launched LMR to show students there are many career paths in the music industry and to raise awareness about the importance of musical arts in education.

“When I started teaching at UM in the fall 2000, there were two main careers for music majors — educator or performer,” Balach said. “It became apparent that music careers in today’s market have changed, and the need for additional skills is imperative.”

Photo of Haley Tyrell and sheet music.
Photo of Haley Tyrell and sheet music.

Haley Tyrell, a junior music education major from New Jersey, is the senior undergraduate assistant for LMR. She manages their social media. As one of six LMR interns, she helps host the talk show LMR Live and coordinate events. 

Tyrell said she has benefited from the experience, citing LMR as “the best opportunity to make connections through the university.”

The internship is separate from a specific class, but can accompany various music courses. In her second year with LMR, Tyrell’s position is paid as a senior undergraduate assistant and social media manager.

Working yearlong with the organization allows students to travel throughout the country each semester to interact with music programs and explore career paths that would not be accessible in Oxford. Called “career development trips,” students experience the music industry through different points of view. 

“The trips have allowed me to get the inside scoop and see the behind the scenes side of the music industry,” Tyrell said.

Balach said LMR allows students to break boundaries between musical genres and focus on collaboration and inclusiveness while on career development trips. “Here, they learn new skills necessary for the technology of the 21st Century,” she said.

For their fall semester trip, LMR visited Studio 19, a historic recording studio in Nashville. Ole Miss alum Larry Rogers owns and operates the studio with Jim Weatherly, a former Ole Miss quarterback, who also wrote the song “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

The duo welcomed LMR interns who witnessed the inner workings of a recording studio and various job positions within. Students hosted LMR Live with Weatherly and Rogers to gain insight about their experiences and try out the studio Parton sang in just six months prior.

They also visited nearby Belmont University to learn about their music program and interact with music students. 

New member Alexis Rose said LMR allowed her to “experience different genres of music and work with types of music that might not be covered in classes.”

The sophomore vocal performance major from Nebraska was accepted into the program after learning about it from her studio voice professor and Balach.

“LMR is all about bridging the gap between being a music major and finding career paths after college,” she said.

Photo of LMR students at Studio 19.
Photo of LMR students at Studio 19.

Through the organization, UM students participate in interactive trips and events that provide new perspectives for their career paths.

Member Haley Tyrell has learned a lot. “Being in Nashville and LMR, in general, opened up a whole different side of music that I didn’t know about,” she said. “I witnessed the real life production of music.”

Through the connections made with Ole Miss alumni, members of Living Music Resource learn about new music industry career paths in production, arts management and business. 

“LMR has allowed me to think about possible career paths outside music education through the connections I’ve made,” Tyrell said.

Rose said she has gained “real life experience and hands on interactions with successful figures within the recording studio facet of the music industry.”

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