School of Music students at Liberty University will be introduced this fall to the new Michael W. Smith Center for Commercial Music.
Elijah Chau, a senior worship leadership major at Liberty, said he began listening to Smith’s worship music as well as interviews featuring Smith in high school and believes hands-on experience with a veteran musician like Smith will be “life-changing” for students.
“I think learning from him (Smith) is going to be life-changing to some of the students, including myself — especially to those who are into songwriting,” Chau said.
“Being able to come up with new songs as musicians and write music to share the gospel, but also to share your life story on how God has changed your life — it’s such a great opportunity and such an eye-opener, because it gives students the opportunity to look more in-depth about what going into the music business is like.”
The center will also be accompanied in the future by a recording label at Liberty meant to attract both established musical talent and students looking to get into the music industry.
Smith will serve as the executive director of the new center. In addition, Kevin Jonas Sr., father and original band manager of the Jonas Brothers, a recently reunited pop music trio formed in 2005, will help play a role in the center’s future recording label.
Vernon Whaley, dean of Liberty’s School of Music, said Liberty wanted someone like Smith “that we knew had been in the industry a long time and was an example of biblical and professional integrity, and his name just kept coming back to the top.”
Smith’s character and musical talent, Whaley said, were a perfect match for the new center.
Liberty University is in partnership with the SBC of Virginia.