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"Being a musician is a gift, a talent you're born with. But no one can really teach you to be prepared for the real world. When I graduated I went to Los Angeles, which opened my eyes more than anyone could have ever taught me. So how to convert experience into a teaching situation is always at the back of my mind."
"In teaching technical tools in writing and arranging, my goal is for my students to leave the classroom able to communicate with other musicians the way musicians want to be communicated with. The music business is the music business: 50% music and 50% business. This is the era of recording and self-producing CDs, and the need to work with other musicians. I tell my students that if they can't communicate the way musicians want to be communicated with, it will cost them money. And that lights up the sky."
"I'm very strict when a project is not turned in on time. I say, 'What if I was a client and I was paying you?' I want my students to get into the habit of acting like professional musicians. I also want them to understand that I—like other faculty members—am a professional connection, so it pays to put their best foot forward. I'll tell them, 'If you don't care about your music, nobody else will.'"
"Being versatile is extremely important. And Berklee is the ideal place to try everything. You're contained in a building where you live and breathe music, surrounded by 3,000 musicians who all love to play. You're exposed to all these different styles and musicians who can play those different styles. I always encourage my students not to work on what they already know. I tell them, 'You don't want to go out the door just knowing the same thing you came in knowing.'"