Bruce Burch, director of the University of Georgia's Music Business Program, was appointed to the board of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association during the organization's annual international conference in Boston.
MEIEA was established in 1979 to facilitate an exchange of information between educators and industry professionals in order to prepare students for careers in the music and entertainment industries. The Nashville-based association is made up of institutions of higher education in the United States, Canada, Jamaica and Australia, with more than 12,000 students involved in music business or entertainment industry education.
"We're certainly thrilled to have Bruce as a member of our board," said MEIEA President John Kellogg, assistant chair of the Music Business/Management Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston. "He's a person with great experience on both the creative end and educational end, and we're very impressed with what he's done with the program at the University of Georgia."
"Being named to the MEIEA board is a real honor," said Burch, who founded UGA's Music Business Program in 2006. "I joined the organization last year in an effort to get some fresh ideas for our program and to see where we stand with other programs around the country. I'm hoping we can get our program more involved in the things they're doing nationally."
Burch is also a governor of the Atlanta chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which administers the Grammy Awards. And he serves on the executive board of the John Jarrard Foundation. He previously served on the board of Nuci's Space, a non-profit musicians' resource center in Athens, and of AthFest, the Classic City's summertime music festival.
UGA's Music Business Program prepares students for careers in the music industry. Students can earn an interdisciplinary certificate in music business by receiving a hands-on education about subjects like music and business fundamentals, copyright issues, creative content, artist management and production and technology.
"This is still a relatively new discipline, and we're doing some pretty innovative things," said Burch, who had a long and successful career as a country music songwriter and publisher in Nashville before returning to his alma mater. "You can learn about 25 percent of this in a classroom, and 75 percent of what we do is outside the classroom. We preach that you learn by doing in the music business, and with Athens' thriving music scene we've basically got a Petri dish students can experiment with."
A native of nearby Gainesville, Burch graduated from UGA's Terry College of Business in 1975 and moved to Nashville, where after years of struggle finally broke through as a songwriter, penning a pair of No. 1 hits for Reba McEntire and has had bestsellers recorded by Faith Hill, George Jones, the Oak Ridge Boys, Collin Ray and T. Graham Brown.
He also ran two publishing companies, serving as creative director for EMI Music Publishing where he handled artists like Kris Kristofferson, Tony Joe White, Smokey Robinson, Dolly Parton and Mac Davis, and as president of Bruce Burch Music, which includes the many hit songs he's written for others.