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Music student finds perfect harmony in York College’s blend of art and science

Juliann holding electric guitar

Juliann Diiorio ’21 has never let go of her goal to become a recording and touring artist. She was first introduced to the possibility of a career in music through her cyber school experience in middle school, which had a performing and fine arts division. That program, coupled with her parents’ own musical abilities, led Diiorio to pick up the bass guitar and the upright bass. She hasn’t been able to put them down since.

Growing up in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, Diiorio met someone who was attending York College of Pennsylvania. She took a look at the program options and discovered the Music Industry and Recording Technology major. Unlike other schools, which siloed music programs into music business, music engineering, or music composition, York College blended those opportunities into one major.

“Because I want to be in the popular music field, I have to know the management and entrepreneurship side, the legal side, and performing side. With this degree, you learn all of that,” she says. “You take a legal class and still have to be in ensembles and take lessons to understand music theory. It’s the blend of the art and the science.”

A varied experience

Diiorio found her place in two student rock bands: Witch Weather and Violet Fire. But these aren’t your neighborhood garage bands. Instead, the band experience ties with Diiorio’s academics. The bands get time in York College’s recording studio, which offers state-of-the-art equipment that students learn how to operate.

“Being in a band enables us to know what to do to have a successful rehearsal or recording,” Diiorio says. “We have to learn how to manage and market ourselves or know what to look for if we want to ask another student to manage us.”

That varied experience also led Diiorio and another student to launch a music podcast. On their program, called Backbeat Conversations, they talk to people who work in the industry.

Now in her senior year at York College, Diiorio is looking forward to taking a commercial songwriting course, as well as learning the fine details of publishing, licensing, and copyright.

‘YCP had it first’

Diiorio remembers looking at bigger schools when she first started her college search. None of them had the program she found at York College. “It’s funny, because if you look at those other schools now, they’re trying to catch up,” she says. “But, YCP had it first. They were really looking ahead to what students wanted in this industry.”

The benefits at York College go beyond the school’s foresight, she adds. Thanks to smaller class sizes and professors who take a personal interest in students, Diiorio and her classmates get gig suggestions or can speak with professors who have experience in niches. “York’s a tight-knit community,” Diiorio says. “I wouldn’t have found that anywhere else.”