Gaining real world experience

By Koryna Jn-Louis

My name is Koryna Jn-Louis, and I’m a freshman majoring in both music production and arts & entertainment industries management (AEIM) with a concentration in music industry. 

Todd Dellinger and Linda Lorence-Critelli, two of my academic advisers and faculty members of the AEIM program at Rider, introduced me to GRAMMY U, the Recording Academy’s membership that connects college students pursuing music with the music industry’s most brilliant minds. Through being a student member of this world-renowned society of music professionals, I was given the incredible opportunity to attend a recording studio session in Queens, New York at The Samurai Hotel Studio. It was hosted by Grammy award-winning recording engineer, David Stoller and my mentor, award-winning jazz composer, musician, author and founding president of MEII Enterprises, a record label, Eugene Marlow, Ph.D. For this session, four exceptional musicians, Benjamin Sutin (violin), Benjamin Rosenblum (piano), Christopher Tordini (bass), and Johnathan Blake (drums), all came together to record Benjamin Sutin’s upcoming seven-track jazz album, and it was vivifying to watch them work and create art so personal to Sutin as it wholly embodies his selfhood and identity. 

Being behind the scenes helped me recognize the importance of punctuality, professionalism and preparation. Effective communication and productivity were also demonstrated throughout this ten-hour session. When dealing with a task as complex as recording an album, it is almost guaranteed that unforeseen circumstances may arise. For example, an issue with the functionality of one of the microphones occurred but this was no reason to be discouraged because as Marlow says, “There’s always an alternative.” 

Cooperation is especially essential in this setting as there are many moving parts to facilitating a successful recording session which Grady Bajorek, Stoller’s assistant, also helped manage. Every great musician can appreciate the value of collaboration and teamwork.

I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to learn the inner workings of a studio session, both technically and professionally. This experience exceeded my expectations and solidified my wanting to pursue a career in the music industry. For any student with a desire to work in the recording industry upon graduation, I strongly encourage you to submit a GRAMMY U membership application to the Recording Academy for the chance to build rewarding relationships and gain relevant real-world experience.

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