Press Release

August 27, 2014

Program Quintuples in Size in Just Two Years

COLUMBUS, Ohio (August 27, 2014) — With a two year, full-time course load, two
internships, two trips to South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference & Festival, one
record label and countless community projects, GROOVE U’s inaugural class is well poised
to launch their careers in the music industry. The class of 2014 commencement, held on
Sunday August 24 at the Garden Theatre, was no doubt a memorable event shared by
GROOVE U staff and instructors, advisory panel members, family, friends, community
supporters and students.

Introducing the Class of 2014

  • Aaron Dill, Music Business, Westerville, Ohio

  • Katherine Dotson, Audio Production, Hilliard, Ohio

  • Zachry Earhart, Music Business, New Alexandria, Pennsylvania

  • Derek Rasmussen, Music Business, New Albany, Ohio

Nashville-based music publisher, Rusty Gaston, General Manager and Partner at THiS
Music, delivered the commencement speech, sharing his equation for launching a music
career: Love + Fun = Success. He challenged graduates to keep their passion for music
alive, to embrace the fun of working inside the music industry and to count each success
no matter how big or how small.

GROOVE U founder and director, Dwight Heckelman, followed up with an emotionally
charged speech recalling his uphill battle of establishing the type of school he wished
existed when he was entering college.

“They said, ‘Don’t you know the incalculable logistics and odds involved in opening a
college?’ They said, ‘Don’t you know we are in the middle of The Great Recession and how
tight money is for everyone, let alone someone who would invest in such a risky idea?’
They said, ‘Don’t you know that anybody who knows anything about the music business is
in LA, New York or Nashville? Don’t you know that Ohio colleges only graduate about 1 in 4

No, Heckelman didn’t know. So he just did it! GROOVE U has retained more than 90% of its
students and is graduating over 80%, which destroys both the national and Ohio average
for both 2-year and 4-year schools. Most of the graduates already have jobs or are going
into business for themselves.

Start week for the 2014-15 school year, otherwise known as orientation, began this past
Monday. GROOVE U has nine returning students, 14 first year students, plus four high
school students from The Metro School making a total of 27 students in the program this
fall. Eight Columbus City Schools’ graduates have full ride scholarships.


GROOVE U is a revolutionary music industry career program located in the Short North Arts District of Columbus, Ohio. The two-year program uses a career-centered approach to learning developed by active industry professionals, and is guided by the philosophy that the music industry is creatively engaged, apprenticeship-based and relationship-driven. Classes are small and personalized and offer both broad, foundational knowledge and specialized areas of music study in: production, live, business, video and interactive. With a 4:1 lab:class ratio, students have plenty of hands-on opportunities to hone in their skills. Students can directly plug-in to both the local and global music communities through trips to music conferences, on-campus speakers and two guided internships. 

The school officially opened its 30,000-square foot creative campus in September 2012, and is currently enrolling for Fall 2015, although transfer students may be accepted for the Spring term. Want to connect with us? Please contact GROOVE U if you have internship opportunities, would like to sponsor a student or want to be considered as a guest speaker. To learn more, schedule a campus tour and one-on-one meeting today.