“And Let us Eat Cake!”
After a heartfelt commencement ceremony, the honored guests will soon realize that being a recording arts graduate is anything but a piece of cake. In fact, it’s what all graduates must do during their first year after graduation that paves the foundation for success in the music industry. Some graduates will immediately begin to find their way up the totem pole as new interns for the historic Dark Horse Recording, where the institute was born. Others, will move back to their hometowns, continue their education, branch off into live sound, or even start up their own successful recording studio ventures. While it’s always been “American Chic” to “follow your dreams”, most people don’t really mean that do they?
During the graduation ceremony graduates and attendees heard from the Dark Horse Institute staff. Of course there were the congratulations and salutations, but two individuals in particular, stood out as they gave their accounts on behalf of the students and the music industry as a whole. One of those people was the Keynote speaker, Bill Deaton. I need not mention the incredible amount of experience that Bill brings to the table when it comes to audio engineering and producing…but I’ll slyly put a link to his discography right…about…HERE. So where were we? Oh yes….Bill shared some of his insight and reflected back on the last 30 or so of his years in the music industry. Amazingly, the advice was something we all could cling to. Work hard. Be a great person. Learn your craft. Simple enough, right? There was no lecture on getting connected or buying your way into the industry somehow; nor was he coy about undercutting your competition and learning how to claw your way to the top. In fact, it was refreshing to hear from a guy who believed in hard work and doing things the right way. Period.
As the formalities continued, graduate certificates were handed out while each graduate was asked to share their favorite part of the audio engineering program. Unanimously, one by one, each accomplished member of the graduating class pointed to their instructor and said, “Dennis”. When it was Dennis’ turn to share his thoughts, his short but poignant speech hit the hearts of every person in the room. “After 30 or so years in the music business,” he began, “my wife asked me, ‘Was it all worth it?'” For the next 10 minutes, Dennis proceeded to heed his young former class. He continued, “The only way I was ever able to come up with an answer to that question, is by first acknowledging that I had tried. For 30 plus years, I kept at it. And now, looking back on all my experience, I’ve found the answer…”
The answer? Of course! You see, the answer was implied throughout his entire story. Like Bill Deaton, Dennis is a guy who has experienced not only today’s music industry, but the “hay day” of the music industry. The application? You’ve got to try. If you haven’t started, get started. If you’ve recently “finished”, keep going. Keep trying until you can prove that answer unto yourself. Will it all be worth it? Let us eat cake!