Why Minnesota is a great place to be a musician

12:05 PM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
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  • From the prairie to the cities, Minnesota has one of the most favorable climates for the music business in the country. If you want to be a musician, this is the place to live.

    We found five good reasons why Minnesota continues to appeal to artists and audiences locally and nationally.

    Minneapolis repeatedly ranks in the top three in the U.S. for number of music venues per capita.

    On the top of the list-the now notorious First Avenue.The old Greyhound bus depot turned music mecca more than 30 years ago, was made famous by Prince in "Purple Rain." It has retained it's historical significance by drawing the best, edgiest and most notable national and local acts around. When you play First Avenue, you become part of Minnesota music history.

    Other well known venues range in size and character such as The Fine Line and The Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis, to what's been called the country's best stage for world music, the Cedar Cultural Center.

    And then there are the dozens of small stages, wedged into corners of bars and restaurants, where music is often played at it's grass roots finest.

    Support for the music industry here can be summed up in one word: community. There's a sense of community here for anyone interested in or involved in the music world.

    Businesses like Willie's American Guitars in St. Paul offer vintage and top of the line instruments and amps for everyone from weekend enthusiasts to professionals to serious collectors. Passion is the great equalizer here for anyone who appreciates a good guitar.

    For most of us, supporting the music community means buying cd's and vinyl. Locally owned and operated stores like Fifth Element and Electric Fetus are resources for regional music.

    Word of mouth is one of the more trusted means of communication, which is why radio is still the most powerful and effective way to get noticed for emerging musicians and is still a popular outlet for well known names.

    Radio play for unknown artists can make the difference between obscurity and success. When it comes to launching local careers, Minnesota can boast one of the country's most well respected radio stations, 89.3 The Current.

    Minnesota has long been known as a center for quality music and audio recording. Sound 80, a Minneapolis studio, opened in 1969 as the country's first digital audio recording facility.
    It was followed years later by Paisley Park, and Flyte Tyme studios.

    Today, notable bands and artists from all over the country choose smaller but just as state-of-the-art facilities like Waterbury Studios, Winterland Studios and Flowers Studios, to name just a few.

    The supportive music community in our state is also a draw to young musicians and music professionals wanting to learn more about the business.

    This area offers a number of educational opportunities, like McNally Smith College of Music, where students get hands-on experience in everything from music composition to performance to how to run your own business.

    Like other post secondary schools, The Minnesota Media Institute, which is housed in the original Flyte Tyme studios, focuses on teaching practical skills in a real-life environment.

    A key factor to the success of educational facilities is the quality of the faculty. Most are staffed by music pros with decades of experience, who teach as a way to give back to the community that has supported them through the years.

    And then there are those professionals who have taken on mentoring young musicians as a mission. Soli Hughes,an internationally acclaimed guitarist, started Rockapolis, a program designed to motivate and teach skills required to launch a career in the music industry.

    Bottom line, the Minnesota music scene is unlike any other in the country.

    (Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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