Major(s): Professional Music
Hometown: Manchester, NH
Current City: Boston, MA
How has your Berklee experience shaped your view of the music industry? Was it spot on or did you need to shift your perspective?
I felt I had a pretty level perspective.
I came to Berklee looking for a practical way to make music the focus of my professional life. During the course of my time at Berklee, I sought out mentors who I felt would support me in my goal to create a realistic music career. I was a pessimist, and believed that I needed to make real money soon after graduation in order to justify the cost of the investment.
I found that most of the musicians I admired would never look down on another musician’s way of paying the bills.
Before coming to Berklee, I spent several years working at terrible jobs for meager wages. I was not about to let my idealism drag me back there. But some of my classmates came straight from high school and needed to learn to respect the power of the dollar.
Can you touch on the importance of your networking, skill and talent?
Networking is just one aspect of personal branding and reputation management. The work you do to spread your reputation will only take a small portion of your time but may result in the majority of paying work that comes your way. Every single gig that came my way happened as a result of someone credible dropping my name.
It’s important to remember you are networking with everybody you meet, whether you realize it or not. I am a little bit cynical about going to events and handing out name cards. The big shots are not eagerly waiting to exchange greetings with you at a local Meetup. However, one way or another, the community needs to hear about the great work you’re doing. The work you do is like a pile of firewood, and the networking you do is like the match that sets it ablaze.
I believe that talent is a myth. The nature versus nurture debate is over. Even those of us with ordinary genes are capable of extraordinary things.
What is something you’d wish you’d known “then” (before starting Berklee, during Berklee, or your first year out of Berklee)?
In my last year, I wish I had known how successful I was going to be in the following years. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to pay my expenses. In the end, everything worked out better than I could have imagined… and I wasted a lot of time worrying.
What should a new alum focus on as they enter the job market?
Being determined to make ends meet, being open to interesting opportunities, having the self-respect to apply your skills usefully in a wide range of places, and–of course–learning to enjoy the taste of humble pie. Bide your time and your day will come. If you wanted an office with a leather chair and all you got was a mop, be the best mopper you can be. If you’re no good with a mop, why would anyone trust you with more?
How does your degree play a role in your current career path?
My degree has given me a huge amount of credibility. When you have a degree, people give you the benefit of the doubt and search for proof of your abilities.
Grey graduated from Berklee’s Professional Music program in 2011. As his final project, he created a school of guitar in Boston. In 2014, Grey traveled through Asia for over a year, leveraging the low cost of living there to create HubGuitar.com, a professional-quality free guitar learning resource. He has since returned to Boston where he focuses on creating high-quality online guitar lessons and managing the school, Hub Guitar Boston.
Grey can be found on the web via:
Grey’s School of Guitar in Boston
Hub Guitar 500+ Professional Guitar Lessons
Grey’s 300+ Professional Guitar Lessons (Chinese Version)
Two Five One is a series of blog posts by alumni. They write about two places (where they’re living & their hometown) answer five questions about their post-graduate experience, and it’s a one-off post. For more information about blogging for Berklee as an alumni, email [email protected]