MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — MTSU is opening a new learning space and live music venue for recording industry students, dubbed Chris Young Cafe.
The 32,000 square foot space formerly known as Cyber Cafe will be a teaching and practice place for student performers and technicians.
“So much of our music right now is live. People want to go have a live experience so if our students want to get proficient at that they need experience so this is like a lab. It’s a place where they can practice doing songs, its a place where they can practice not just performing, but supporting performers,” MTSU Associate Professor John Merchant and Director of Chris Young Cafe told News 2.
Among some of the changes at the renovated cafe are a performance stage and a new sound system. The cafe will give students the opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience on the skills that are needed to make a live venue a success.
“There’s so many ways that the industry is constantly changing and the fact that MTSU is staying at the forefront of that from changing the name of the college to Media and Entertainment to how they are actively engaging students so that they can have careers that they can actually monetize when they leave college, I think is incredibly important. I think it’s very forward thinking and it’s awesome they are doing it,” Chris Young explained.
The university hopes that the new space encourages other students to dream bigger with a name like his attached.
“When people go to a live show they expect it to look great and sound great and the only way that our students are going to be able to so that is if they practice, so this gives them a venue to practice so they are ready for the landscape of the 21st Century,” said Merchant.
Chris who has a long list of career accomplishments, including membership to the Grand Ole Opry, has supported his alma mater by donating equipment and funding an annual scholarship.
“It’s a really big honor to have my name on this and to work along beside MTSU. One of my favorite things outside of being an artist and doing what I do as a career is giving back to music education and I think these go hand and hand together,” said Young.
Chris Young Cafe is set to open in the Fall.
MTSU officials say there are about 12-hundred students in the recording industry, about half of the enrollment of the College of Media Entertainment.