It’s hard to summarize an entire life experience into one page onto the internet but I wanted to briefly share with you what I experienced, as it was a musical one. The Grammy Museum Music Revolution Project may not be a program you’ve heard of yet, but it did make a lot of noise in the musical world and in the minds and hearts of 24 young musicians from the Kansas City metropolitan area. A musical education and experience of its own kind. The next revolution of innovative, talented musicians that had the opportunity to be a part of the crazy, fun, interesting and amazing 19 days that they were.
Taken through the best kind of whirlwind of a music education experience, the selected 24, including myself, came from all different types of musical backgrounds, experience and genres, all from the KC metropolitan area, in the high school and college age group. The basic program outline went a bit like this….
We studied the music genres of the blues, hip-hop and country and the last week mixed everything in. Bob Santelli, the GM director, gave us insightful and bold lectures almost every day and at the end of the program, we sat down and had one-on-one evaluations with him, which to me, was incredibly eye opening and positive. Each week we were assigned into songwriting groups to where we had several days to write a song or two based on the music genre we were focused on that week (and also were able to use the iPad 3 with Garageband and Roland headphones we were all provided). We also had several guests per week (the artists, producers, writers that came to the program) to evaluate our songs and hold a Q&A and discussion among us.
We also had the great experience of going to the Sprint Center to see Def Leppard live after we watched their sound check and had a Q&A with guitarist, Phil Collen. The group performed some of the original songs we had been writing live at Chez Elle on First Fridays in downtown Kansas City, and we were able to have a private tour of the Sprint Center after we met and discussed music with legendary producer Jimmy Jam.
The last week of the program we recorded over a dozen of our original songs we wrote throughout the project at Element Recording Studios and had our final live group performances at the beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City, MO.
In total inspiration mode while participating in the program, I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with, listen to and gained the insight I did from some of the industry’s best; even some Grammy nominated/winning artists, producers, songwriters and others working in the industry including Claude Kelly, Nils Gums, Ashley Davis, MC Lyte, Keb Mo, Jimmy Jam, Ryan Whalley, Shane Eli, Phil Collen, Billy Branch, Andy Gibson and of course Bob Santelli, Kait Stuebner, Jerry Buszek from the Grammy Museum, Sharon Kwon, Chez Elle, all at the Kauffman Center and Brenda Tinnen and all at the Sprint Center/AEG team.
Quotes and excerpts from several of the Grammy Museum staff and the Grammy award nominated or winning artists, producers and songwriters that visited us that I wanted to share:
“Hits are like miracles…they just fall outta heaven.” – Andy Gibson, Curb Records country recording artist, songwriter of the Grammy nominated Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson’s duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay?”
“(As a developing artist, you have to be) daring to say (and do) what other’s won’t.” – Nils Gums, CEO/President of The Complex Group and manager for successful YouTube sensations/Epic recording duo Karmin
“You’re only as good as what you’re doing today.” – Bob Santelli, Executive Director of the Grammy Museum
“A big part of songwriting is having no fear.” – Claude Kelly, Grammy nominated Songwriter/Producer, writer/producer for artists such as Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera
“Open the door to get in the room.” – Bob Santelli, Executive Director of the Grammy Museum
Granted, there is most definitely no other program like the Grammy Museum Music Revolution Project out there, but as a musician, you need to put yourself out there to be in educational programs and get out to trade shows, conferences, songwriting events to network and open yourself up to more opportunities. I’ve had the opportunity to attend and perform at conferences such as ASCAP’s “I Create Music” Expo, Winter NAMM and would suggest saving up the money, being prepared and ready to network and learn when you go. Look into conferences/conventions such as:
Summer and Winter NAMM
ASCAP’s “I Create Music” Expo
Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference
New Music Seminar
BMI, SESAC and ASCAP Songwriting and Performance workshops of various sorts
Musician Institute’s Summer Shot Program
Also, I would like to share some great things I learned from the program:
– Taking smart steps but taking risks
– The art of songwriting (deconstructing songs, the art of working in a group)
– Taking pieces from the past and other genres for the new music being created in the next music revolution
– Always being prepared, always trust your gut, don’t let time pass you by
– Always expand your musical vocabulary
– Finding ancreative environment where opportunities will present themselves
– To creatively be a bit off the edge, the fringe
– The importance of growth through music education, experiences
The Grammy Museum Music Revolution Project’s pilot program here in Kansas City, MO at The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and Sprint Center was unlike any other music education and experience out there, and I am so thankful and thrilled to say that I was a part of the 24 students chosen by the Grammy Museum to be in the program. It was a once in a lifetime music and life experience I will have always and learned so much from and will never forget.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to say that on the Staples Center stage with a Grammy award in hand…You never know!
By Daisy Rock sponsored artist Jillian Riscoe of pop band Red Velvet Crush
July 2012 (C)