Home Schooled Songwriter

If you don’t already read the Lefsetz blog I want to recommend it. Bob has been a must read for industry folks for years and has the distinction of being a voice of reason for the old and new school of artists and writers. He’s a fan of classic rock but also a harsh critic of those who are stuck in the old ways of doing  business.

This week an old friend , Bonnie Hayes wrote to Bob to voice her views on the changes she  saw during her recent summer guest teaching slot at  the Berklee School Of Music in Boston. I’m including a link so you can follow the dialogue between Bob, Bonnie, pro and amateur songwriters and musicians . Obviously a hot button, pay for a music education these days or follow the  Malcolm Gladwell, Beatles /Hamburg 10,000 hours of work example.

It was especially interesting to me because I attended Berklee briefly, but would have to credit any success to my 10,000 hours. Hard earned  (dropping the needle and playing along with every record I could find and gigging for years) and more along the lines of paying my dues than paying tuition. Home schooled I guess.

I’ve also written songs with Bonnie and a  few of the artists who have weighed in here and can see both sides of the argument . I lean toward the experience side but still look back and wish I’d been more patient and stayed at a place like Berklee a little longer . Not for the piece of paper but for the expertise that was available to any kid who wanted to learn. I left at the first opportunity because I thought fame was calling and I had no time to spare ..ahh..youth!

What I do agree with after reading the responses  is that we are in a different time and as musicians , writers and artists we need to adapt. We can bitch about it all we want or we can take advantage of the things available . I’ve had to. And I’m happy to be coaching writers and artists around the US and Europe.

I’ve gone from artist deals (didn’t go all that great) to publishing deals (went much , much better) to the last few years of dealing with the decline of music as a business. Luckily for me I was at a point where I was hoping to  find a new creative outlet, give back and basically find a new model of teaching. I could still be involved with creative people but in a supportive role. Point is, I think we all need to have a few things to offer and our chosen path is not so different from other jobs in that there will be ups and downs, layoffs and setbacks but if you really want to do what you do, you have no choice but to find a way.

Old school, real school or home school ?  I’d like to hear what you have to say here. Opinions? Stories?