Press Release

July 8, 2019

GROOVE U Celebrates Its Sixth Graduating Class In August

DUBLIN, Ohio (July 8, 2019) - With a two year, full-time course load, two externships, two trips to South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference, a 12-episode video series highlighting the Columbus music scene, a full-length vinyl record of Columbus artists covering fellow Columbus bands, and countless community projects, GROOVE U’s sixth graduating class is well-poised to launch their careers in the music industry. “Launch” – 2019 Commencement ceremony – will be held on Sunday August 18th at the Abby Theatre in Dublin at 12PM.

Introducing the Class of 2019

• Katherine Dybzinski, Music Business, Concord, Ohio
• Kalyn French, Video Production, West Chester, Ohio
• Scott Saylor, Audio Production, Hilliard, Ohio
• Madeline Slimak, Audio Production, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

With five classes of GROOVE U graduates already out in the field, where are they now? The program boasts a cumulative 92% placement rate, in-field among its graduates. Most of GROOVE U’s graduates are employed here in Ohio in careers in live event production, studio recording, promotions and booking and video editing.

“Since graduating from GROOVE U, I’ve been freelancing for five different production companies in Ohio, working shows and events while running lights or being the A2, second audio lead. I've also been recording several hip hop artists and writing my own music. I plan on creating a small studio in the future as well as continuing to grow my live sound craft and build my cliental.” Said Michael Aylor, Class of 2018. Without GROOVE U I wouldn't have even known working with music everyday would have been a possibility. Going to GROOVE U was a huge jump start on my music career and it was definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.”

The ceremony will feature a keynote message by multi-award winning songwriter, Tim Nichols of Nashville, TN. Nichols has writing credits for nearly two dozen smash hits, multiple BMI songwriting awards, and a Grammy for Best Country Song. In 2004, Nichols co-wrote Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” which stayed at #1 on the charts for ten consecutive weeks, and then became the only song in history to win every major award that is presented in country music. With this one song, Nichols garnered Song of the Year awards for: Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, BMI, ASCAP, Billboard and Nashville Songwriters Association International. It also won a Grammy for Best Country Song in 2005. 

Outside of his work in the industry, Nichols sits on the Board of Directors of the High Hopes Preschool and Pediatric Therapy Clinic, which serves children with special needs in Nashville and surrounding counties of middle Tennessee. A lifelong creator, Tim and his wife also developed “From A Songwriters Camera”, a collection of images that were inspired by his love of both traveling and storytelling.

“Tim is a huge force in the music industry. Not only is a he a talented, award-winning songwriter, but he has also launched the careers of multiple successful artists and advanced the careers of the next generation of songwriters as a partner at THIS! Music publishing. Regardless of their career path, I’m confident our students, faculty, and alumni will all benefit from hearing from his wisdom.” said GROOVE U’s Director, Dwight Heckelman.

In keeping with tradition, all incoming and returning students will attend the ceremony to gain valuable industry insight from Nichols and make connections with returning students and alumni.

“I'm interning at Class Acts Entertainment this summer” says student Katie Dybzinski, who is scheduled to graduate in August.  “I’ve been able to participate in many aspects of bringing talent to live events, festivals, and concerts around Ohio. Post-graduation I aspire to build a career in the music industry right here in Columbus.”  

Following the ceremony, 2019 graduates will sign their autograph to a vinyl record which join other graduating classes’ hanging above Studio A.


GROOVE U is a revolutionary music industry career program. 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 program is nearly full with just 5 seats remaining for 2019 and will open up applications for fall 2020 in August.