The Rubicon Year: Introduction

19 Jan

Dan Thinks
Daniel Barrett at work!

I’ve mentioned Rubicon on my blog a bit but here is my formal (but still dressed in business casual) introduction in this new series of posts.

Many of you have followed my blog long enough to know I’ve worked with Daniel Barrett, formerly of Red Leaf School of Music, for several years.  He’s the one who devised my Folk Music Grad School curriculum…a holistic approach to being a musician.  We studied guitar, voice, performance, writing, recording, breathing, business, everything.  I’ve worked with him for over 3 years now and the progress I have made since 2007 has been both outwardly successful and inwardly rewarding.

Last fall Dan moved to his own space – a full on awesome recording studio complete with a unique program for developing musicians called Rubicon Artist Development, all wrapped up in a charming little house in South Austin.  I am the studio manager there now.  Dan jokes I am the Sy Sperling of Rubicon…”I’m not only the studio manager, I’m a client.”

The Rubicon Year is taking what Dan and I worked on for 3 years and makes it a set curriculum, because…it works.  There’s a certain kick in the pants that up-and-coming musicians need to get to the next level.  I’ll speak for myself but I get complacent or lazy sometimes, and sometimes I just don’t know how to get to the next level, whether it’s in singing or performing or booking a venue for me to play in.  Humans are hardwired to want the buddy system as well as a mentor.

It’s older than dirt, this mentorship idea.  People were apprenticing way before Donald Trump ever made a TV show about it.  Simply put, it works.  I had a set goal every week to check in with Dan about, and we also spent a lot of time on long term goals for musical growth.  We hit every mark we set out to hit.  Personally, if left to my own devices, I would have wandered off to watch an episode of Housewives of New York and forgotten that I was supposed to practice that year.  The results were tangible…I have 2 EPs recorded and can see the difference from one to the next after spending time with the mentoring for 3 years.

Now The Rubicon Year is a full on program, and I believe it to be one of the only of its kind in existence.  Lawyers have to go to law school; doctors to the medical school.  It is not outrageous to think that musicians would benefit from a “finishing school” to really hone their craft and study what being a performing musician entails.

It is radical to study and train for music, because so much of the musician lifestyle and vibe is that we are all rogue gypsies, wandering around doing art for the sake of art, man.  Which is true on one hand, but art for the sake of art does not mean haphazardly stumbling into skill or success.

Thoughtful examination and focused study are sometimes radical things in the musical world, but I guarantee that most of the long term success stories in music have these things backing them.

Just some food for thought about the path…and whatever your path is, a little mentoring and intensive study won’t hurt a thing.

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