Like many others at Honolulu Community College, I have seen signs for the Music & Entertainment Learning Experience program around campus. I spoke to Devin Rosete, student at HCC and current enrollee in the MELE program to get an inside look as to what exactly the MELE program is, and what it does for it’s members.
The MELE program is an HCC specific music based degree program headed by John Vierra, aimed at providing interested students with a way to break into the professional world of music production. The MELE program is separated into two distinct degree paths, Music Business and Production, as well as Audio Engineering and Technology. These different paths ensure that any interested student can find a place for themselves in the program. “The Mele program doesn’t create Grammy award winning performers and engineers, they just give you the basic foundation and you go do what you want with it,” explains Rosete. The MELE facilities on campus, named after American Musician and record company executive Mike Curb, consist of a robust two classrooms, three separate recording studios, a tech shop, and even a lounge for the students to relax and get involved in each other’s works.
Rosete got his start in the MELE program after his high school chorus teacher noticed his interest in music and recommended that he check it out. Initially intending to be a performer, Rosete quickly found himself drawn to the production side, revealing that “Recording and mixing artists and getting their songs out there was more ideal for someone like me, who isn’t a fan of the spotlight.” You might be thinking you require a background in audio to join or succeed in MELE, but Rosete explains that prior experience is by no means required, relating “I went in not knowing a thing about engineering, recording, or mixing. Three years later I now help teach the material and I am also a peer coach.”
Rosete has significant praise for the program itself, relating that fellow classmates have gone on to work in top studios, attend big name music schools, as well as receive nominations for Hoku awards, the top music award in Hawaii, presented by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. He feels comfortable recommending that “Anyone who loves music, and wants to make a career out of it, and has a good attitude belongs in the MELE program.” Rosete has personally been accepted into Belmont University in Nashville Tennessee, and attributes his own personal success to the MELE program, giving him the start on his professional journey and guiding him through to exactly what he wished to to do in that field. Rosete concludes with the final lofty praise that “The MELE program has given me the best three years of my life.”