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Preston Laib
Music Business, Garage Band
McClusky, ND

For Preston, music was the reason to come to VCSU.

VCSU's Department of Music may be small compared to other universities, its quality is second to none. The Department has been fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) since 1997. 50% of the faculty have terminal degrees, and another 16% have terminal degrees in progress. All applied instructors are active performers on their instruments/voice. Many of the faculty hold state, regional, and national offices and chairs in their professional organizations and give presentations in those venues. Two have published books.

In addition to impressive credentials, the faculty has a well-earned reputation for innovation. Two innovations in particular attracted Preston's interest: VCSU's major in Music Business, and Garage Band. Both were perfect for Preston.

"I love music, and knew I wanted to do something with music in college. But I'm not a typical college music student. I'm more interested rock than classical music, and although I like performing, I don't see making a career out of it. That's why I was so glad to find Music Business at VCSU."

Music Business combines a solid core of music courses with substantial coursework in the principles of business. "This is the only program of its kind in North Dakota, and even the entire region," said Preston. "Other music business programs focus on stuff like engineering and technology, but VCSU's program is really designed for careers in the business-side of music."

Like all of VCSU's programs, hands-on experience is a key. "I worked on a project last year to design a real music business. We had to learn how to write contracts, run events, we wrote this huge business plan -- it just killed me! It was even reviewed by lawyers and VCSU's vice president of business operations. This year, I'm the president of 'Valley Music Wire,' a student-run music web site that makes money by selling advertising. This will look great on a resume."

Preston's interest in music is met by the "Garage Band" class. In many ways, Garage Band is like a regular music performance course: it offers full credit, requires public performance, and it even meets the ensemble requirements for Preston's Music Business major. It is unique in the type of music it focuses on, and it is open to all students so it attracts a more diverse set of students than other ensembles. "We have a great mix of people: football players, baseball players, students from other majors, you name it." Preston is a drummer for some of the bands, and plans to get into guitar this year.

Although studying and Garage Band take a lot of Preston's time, he manages to have fun and get to know lots of other people. During his freshman year, he lived in Snoeyenbos Hall. "I didn't know anybody when I came to campus, but living in Snoey made it easy to meet people. You could just leave your door open, and people would just stop by to introduce themselves. We also had some great activities like giant Halo 3 tournaments. Everyone playing gets on their laptops in their rooms, and when you hear some screaming from all the way down the hall, you know exactly what happened. It's great!"

But for Preston, the biggest reason to attend VCSU is the faculty. "These teachers could go anywhere they want, but they stay here. Many people just don't realize how good these teachers really are!"