So it is the end of my Berklee 5 week summer program.
Soooo much has happened and I feel a bit overwhelmed on what to communicate here.
What stories do I tell you? How about my first time getting paid.
On the last weekend, I attended an open mic and sang for 1.5 hours because no one else showed up. So… I just kept playing. I sang a few originals, a few covers, and then… It was pretty hard to come up with material beyond the songs I had.
So I looked over at a table and asked a mom and her daughter if she’d like me to sing her a personal song.
Girl: (in a shy tone with a smile) ok.
Me: Tell me how old are you?
Me: Do you know what you’re dream in life is?
Girl, uncomfortable: Uhm… no…
Me, in a soft tone: What do you enjoy doing?
Girl: I like playing sports?
Me, pausing a second for her to open more: What kind of sports?
Girl: Soccer and basketball.
Me, with a big big smile: Ok, that’s all I need.
She smiled and relaxed. And I began.
Then I went into a song for her… I poured my heart into the song and the advice I gave her was to follow her soul out doors. And never to sit in a cubicle, as her heart was designed for the outdoors.
It touched her deeply.
At the end of my set she came up to me and gave me a $5.00 bill. It was the first time I had gotten paid as a musician. I danced for her.
The Journey to my first $5.00 bill looks like 8 months of the most brutal training and personal growth of my entire life. I will tell a story about what it took for me to get here soon.
And also notice that the $5.00 would not have happened if I didn’t reach out to connect with someone in the audience. I could have done what most would have done. “Shoot I don’t have anything else, I guess I’m done.” And stopped playing.
But I find the gold is usually in the extra step I create for myself, by reaching out and doing more.
How about Berklee?
“I thought I was good at music, and then I came to Berklee.” – Dane
My goodness was it hard. I felt like I was thrown in the middle of the atlantic ocean during a storm with one of those shitty uncomfortable strangling orange life jackets.
I could swim a nice calm lake. I learned a little to swim you know… But not this kind of ocean!
Music was eating my soul! LOL.
Not only was the content hard, but I was surrounded by 17 year olds. I was a 32 year old guy. Thankfully I didn’t identify with my age, but with my heart, so I still felt at home.
People asked me why I came sometimes. “My mind was aware of the age gap, yet my heart told me to come.” They usually smile or commend me.
I’ve often followed my heart outside of the convention of society.
This has been one of the loneliest times of my life. The good kind of lonely. The kind of lonely that its just me, my guitar, my vocal chords, and 17 year olds I can’t really hang out with for too long.
I’ve found my edge, again. I feel extremely potent and powerful. Southern California made me soft. But I’ve got that pure energy of creation back. Pure explosive masculine creation. I’ve got back to the energy that I had when I started 16 companies.
The kind of energy that feels like I can bend reality to my will.
Which I do, often.
The best way I can describe how I feel is this…
I live inside my own inner world no matter what the outside world looks like. That world looks like guitar/music/singing/creation/changing the world/practicing/etc… And no matter what is around me… I stay in my inner world. I only let things in that match my inner world.
This is how I started the 16 companies btw. I only let in what served me. It’s a pretty useful skill I’ve developed. I can filter thoughts in and out, I can block things that don’t serve me, and just move forward on autopilot towards my dreams.
People often ask how Berklee went. I’d say as humbly as I can… it totally changed my life. It has obliterated any idea for the concept of “only talented” …
I saw talent showed up consistently in the students who practiced the most.
How To Get Good At Guitar
Advice From Person Number 1: After being wholly shown up by the third bad ass guitarist I played with, I approached him humbly and asked how I could learn to play like him.
He kindly said: Oh dude practice with a metronome.
And even showed me what to do, next. I took mental notes.
Advice From Person Number 2: This guy had chops and could play like a bad ass… I asked him if he’d teach me. We sat down in a practice room and the first thing he pulled out was a metronome app on his phone.
Advice From Person Number 3: After soloing back and forth with one of the guys here. (And by soloing I mean I shredded a couple notes) … I asked him how I could play like him. “I want to play like you, how do I do it.”
He pulled out his phone and showed me his metronome app, and said, 1.5 hours a day with this app.
I started playing with a metronome and have noticed how solid my practicing has become. It is still very difficult for me to load up the app for 1.5 hours and play everyday.
Every great guitarist was EAGER to show me how to improve when I asked for help. I felt very supported. I’ve found that the most successful in any field feel lonely in their talent and love when people ask for help. That was me in business. That seems to be these kids with guitar.
The bad ass musicians all put their hours in, period. They built the neural pathways to become good.
With all the other demands. The music theory, writing songs, vocals, guitar composition, practicing the songs, performance ensembles. I hardly had the time for myself to practice what I wanted. I was doing Berklee’s bidding for 5 weeks. Which is what I signed up for!
But then I dropped one class after lots of thought and meditation. It sucked and I wasn’t having any fun. They were asking me to sing and site read a very complicated piece of music. It was way beyond my level. I raised my hand and said “This is a very advanced piece.”
To which the teacher said… “This is an advanced class”
I asked myself if I would ever need to learn this skill they were teaching. My heart said just leave you’ll have more fun. So I did.
One morning while walking to class it hit me and I remembered sucking at business for a good year in a half before things clicked. I fully accept my “suck period” for music now. I’m in the “suck period” for music. Haha.
The bar is now set so high I can’t even see it. And my God is that exciting. Music is a craft I could study for the rest of my life and still not get to the end. My primary challenge is truly to figure out how to get my hours in and enjoy myself along the way!
I can’t wait to start publishing music to the world. I’ve been dreaming up a marketing strategy to expand the reach of my music around the globe. We shall see what the future holds!
Thanks for READING friends!