Yesterday I got a little taste of what it’s like to do a guest speaking thing at a University. I was asked by my friend Femke to come talk about the craft of songwriting and to play a couple of songs. It was surprisingly cool. It’s been a couple of years since I’d been on a campus, let alone in a classroom. It was my first time being up in front a class on a University level talking about what I do.
After the introduction, the very first question I got asked was if I was on iTunes. Before I even got started with talking, what a question. Of course it was nice to hear the response when I said yes. In fact, several students immediately began to pull out iPhones and iTouches and looking me up. While I admire the enthusiasm, it’s a little weird to do that in a class.
One thing I noticed was that many of the students genuinely got very interested in what I had to say, some were brave enough to ask questions, and were even bold enough to ask if Femke and I had written any duets. I think the dynamic in her class changed yesterday. She no longer was only a teacher, she was now a musician as she was asked to perform one of her songs on the spot too. As well, they asked if she was on iTunes. Interesting how being on iTunes is the validation of an artist.
Then again, I appreciate the fact that I helped pave that way for a lot of artists who wouldn’t normally have been able to get on the service. I’m sure I’ve discussed the backstory on that here on the blog before. Someday I may write about it again.
There was one student who didn’t show up to class until it was over. He was upset. Didn’t think he’d learn anything from my experience. Then another student interjected and told him that he learned at least five things. We stayed after class to talk to the student who was having a rough time of things. Felt like he was trying really hard to become a rockstar and that time was running out. Sending out messages to bands looking to form a group and couldn’t get anyone to write or contact back. Both Femke and I explained that it can be tough at times.
He then felt he needed some help with his guitar playing so I gave him an impromptu lesson on how to hold him to help him play his music easier. At that point he realized he learned something valuable and shouldn’t have missed class.
Which brings me to the song by Eclipse today. I know a lot of us are going thru some rough things right now, whether it’s with someone we want to want us, or maybe it’s a financial issue, or a combination of those things or something else entirely. Whatever the ail might be, we as people are capable of rising above it. The hard part is seeing the good things when so many things might be going wrong around us. That’s part of the beauty in this song.
I met the cats from Eclipse while doing a NACA event, some time ago. They are amazing performers and can sing their proverbial butts off. I think it’s a ballsy thing to be able to get out there and do an a cappella group like that. While it’s probably easier than doing a song a cappella alone, it’s still an act of faith to know the other singers in the group can hold their ground.
They’ve got style, they got class, they got voices and songs. If you haven’t heard of them before, I really suggest giving them a listen and exploring their discs!