— Korg, Marshall and VOX products provide the infrastructure for Thornton School’s new degree in popular music performance —Korg USA, exclusive U.S. distributor of the Korg, Marshall, LÂG and VOX brands, has recently partnered with the University of Southern California’s (USC) Thornton School of Music to help provide the integral tools for the school's new Bachelor of Music degree program in Popular Music Performance. After several years of development, the school launched the new program in Fall 2009, and it is considered to be the first of its kind within a major U.S. university. The program's launch coincided with the Thornton School’s 125th Anniversary, which reinforced its status as Los Angeles' oldest cultural institution. As part of the partnership, Korg USA supplied a number of Korg Music Workstations, Arranger keyboards, Marshall and VOX amplifiers, and other products for the new course track.The curriculum of the program focuses on developing the artistic skills required to be successful in the popular music industry, in addition to the business and technological savvy to successfully compete in the changing music marketplace. Particular emphasis is placed on practical, real-world experience and instruction from industry veterans. The program also leverages USC’s resources, by allowing students to collaborate with its School of Cinematic Arts, Annenberg School of Communication, the Creative Writing department and School of Theater, just to name a few. Chris Sampson, Associate Dean of the Thornton School of Music and director of the Bachelor of Music degree program in Popular Music Performance, stated, “We believe that students training to become professionals need to work on professional-level equipment. Through the partnership with Korg USA, students rehearse and perform daily on Korg keyboards and Marshall and VOX amps, providing them with the serious tools they need.�?Aside from Sampson, the program’s faculty include legendary songwriter and USC artist-in-residence Lamont Dozier; artist-in-residence Patrice Rushen; Andy Abad, guitarist for such artists as Mark Anthony, Juan Gabriel and the Backstreet Boys; Will Hollis, whose credits as a keyboardist include Dancing with the Stars and stints with Don Henley and the Eagles; Leon “Ndugu�? Chancler, drummer for Michael Jackson and others; Alphonso Johnson, bassist for such acts as Weather Report and Santana; and vocal coach Jeffrey Allen, to name a few.According to Sampson, the first class of 25 students came from across the country and are already accomplished songwriters, singers and instrumentalists. Within their first semester, they’ve had classes with legendary producer Glen Ballard, Lamont Dozier, Patrice Rushen and music industry executive Tom Sturges, plus the chance to perform with the Steve Miller Band.Korg, Marshall and VOX have already proven to be invaluable tools for the students and instructors. Notes Sampson, “I teach all my private instruction songwriting students on the Korg Pa800, and I’m starting to integrate the Pa800 into my main songwriting classes as well. I’m finding it to be a very effective teaching/training tool, and I’m always trying to think of additional ideas for making broader use of it.�?Sampson concludes, “The products that Korg USA so generously provided have become the centerpiece of the new Popular Music Degree program. The faculty and students of the program, and all of the Thornton School and USC, are tremendously grateful.�?