Local tour manager launches music academy


A well-attended roundtable discussion at Grand Haven’s Third Coast Recording Company prompted creation of the music academy. Courtesy Mike Young

Music enthusiasts soon will have the opportunity to expand their horizons.

Elle Lively, tour manager for the West Michigan band The Accidentals, will be launching Lakeshore Music Academy in September. The academy will serve as a resource for music education.

One of the educational segments the academy will provide starting next month is B-side sessions. It will be a 12-part music business education session series for musical artists of all ages in Grand Haven.

The goal of the session is to have experts from all realms of the music industry educate artists on matters such as building a base, managing their social media presence, diversifying their music careers and budgeting, among other things. 

“I have spent a few years now getting to know people in the Michigan music community … and people have always asked for advice and how to do certain things, and I have noticed that there is a gap in support for people who don’t have labels and are trying to DIY everything,” Lively said. “They aren’t being given the resources in our community or online to really learn certain things to be successful because not everyone can go to a music business school and be a great artist. Usually, they are good at one or the other. I just feel like it is really important to give them more tools to support themselves and be successful. That is part of the reason why I am excited to (start the academy). I really like connecting people and bringing them together at the right place at the right time.”

The idea of establishing the music academy was born out of a roundtable that was held in Grand Haven with more than 200 people from across Michigan who had some familiarity with the music scene. Some of the individuals included promoters, talent buyers, booking agents, managers and musicians, among others

Lively, who has been a tour manager for several bands on and off for six years, said the consensus that was reached out of the roundtable was the need for making more music education available for the music community.

“(I) was in Texas last year where The Accidentals were performing, and I realized that the kids, all of the kids, who came from the local school had never seen a cello before,” she said. “They didn’t have a music program. They’d never seen live music before, they’d never been to a concert before. This was all new to them. Luckily, in Michigan, we have a really vibrant music community that supports the arts and a lot of our schools haven’t had their music programs cut. We are super lucky, but I think there is always room to give people who haven’t had the opportunity to learn an instrument to pick one up, and when they do, we can teach them what to do with it, how to book their own gigs and how to make a living. I want to pour more resources into the vibrant community we have.”

One person who was part of the roundtable was Nathan Purchase, owner of a booking company called Purchase Productions. He books tours for up-and-coming bands.

Purchase said he will advertise the sessions. He said he also will lead sessions that pertain to booking and management. According to Purchase, he is seeing a lot of younger bands that are relying on social media to promote their shows.

“They don’t do the old school way of going out and putting up posters,” he said. “Promoting shows on Facebook is great, but it doesn’t work the best.”

Lively and Purchase said the music community in Michigan is an active one and full of talent with everyone trying to make it to the next level.

“I think we are really on the verge of becoming what Motown was back in the day,” Purchase said. “Something really substantial that can get national attention. I just hope many musicians take advantage of this amazing opportunity. There are not a lot of music scenes that have something like this going on.”

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