By seeking to, “engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll,” Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t just celebrate music’s history, but all involved play a vital part in securing the future of the genre for years to come. In order to do so, the next generation of artists and musicians needs to learn the ins and outs of the industry that built businesses around bass guitars and made millionaires out of metal-heads. Not surprisingly, the Hall of Fame recognizes this, and has spent years perfecting their Resident Rocker summer internship program, designed to nurture the talents of up-in-coming artists so they may someday succeed as independent musicians. This year, only three applicants were accepted, one of whom known simply as Jo, to their ever-growing fan base.
The Dragon Family knows Jo not just by their stage name, but as Jo Ochenduski, a commercial music major at TU and Bellevue, Ohio native. The indie musician is one of a special few the Hall of Fame has chosen this year to help preserve the tradition of rock, and Jo couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to spend the summer writing original songs, performing for the public and learning all about what happens behind the scenes.
“The Rock Hall is an amazing place, and I feel so lucky to be a Resident Rocker,” said Jo. “It is really exciting to have industry professionals help us grow as artists, add professional skills to our toolboxes and create plans to achieve our musical and professional goals.”
In addition to giving public performances throughout the summer, Resident Rockers spend upwards of 30 hours each week learning from expert mentors in the areas of performance, songwriting, marketing, production and engineering, music business, entrepreneurship and financial/legal matters. Though the program is rigorous, the TU Community has faith in Jo’s abilities.
“Jo really represents the diverse strengths and talents so many of our TU commercial music students have,” said Brad Rees, Vice Provost for Creative Arts. “Starting music study at TU while just a freshman in high school, Jo has built a solid foundation of songwriting skill, vocal ability, professional poise and many other knacks required for success. It’s exciting to think of what the future holds for an artist with such promise.”
“I am so proud of Jo and have every confidence they will excel in this environment,” said Dr. Peter J. Holbrook, Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “Furthermore, this speaks to the quality of instruction the Creative Arts Institute provides for those enrolled, as the Resident Rocker program is selective in who they admit.”
To Dr. Holbrook’s point, Jo does credit much of their success in the program to the skills obtained through the commercial music program, and also cites that being a Resident Rocker is as fun as it is challenging.
“I’m using a lot of the knowledge I gained as a commercial music student at Tiffin University,” they said. “I’ve worked with a team to set up large sets and concerts, used what I’ve learned about the business of music to effectively market myself and am consistently performing using the skills and techniques I’ve developed through private lessons and classes. Being a Resident Rocker really is the best job in the world. Being able to do what I love with a great group of people backing me up is truly a blessing. It feels like we’re one big family, working together to create something magical – not only for ourselves, but for the legacy of rock and roll.”
Jo will be featured in 10 public concerts throughout their summer internship. For the full Rock Hall performance schedule, visit rockhall.com/resident-rocker-performance-schedule.
For more information about TU’s commercial music program, visit tiffin.edu/commercial-music.