Ramon Ricker's book Lessons From a Street-Wise Professor: What You Won't Learn At Most Music Schools seeks to fill the void in professional music programs related to not just surviving but thriving in the world beyond academia.
Many of the issues addressed are the same for musicians who don't attend music school and provides common ground in the understanding that one has to take charge of one's career and treat it as a business.
Lessons From a Street-Wise Professor covers a lot of ground, perhaps too much. If all this is really missing then shame on music schools! But trying to include information that any young person would need, that someone seeking jobs needs to know and that entrepreneurial musicians require keeps the work at an introductory level throughout.
Lessons from a Street-Wise Professor strikes me as at its best when expressing the perspective that music students must take charge of their own careers in an increasingly challenging world. Thinking of one's brand and learning to self-market grates against the sensibilities of conservatory culture, as it grates against those of many indie musicians, but such skills are vital for any career in music.
Ricker also shares relevant stories that illustrate the "non-linear" nature of many careers encouraging flexibility of thought in finding one's way. Such stories illustrate Ricker's core values displayed throughout the book including the basics like working hard, treating people fairly and building a meaningful life.
In trying to provide as complete a map of the territory as possible, Lessons from a Street-Wise Professor ends up losing focus on its best idea, thinking about one's music career as an entrepreneurial endeavor. The concept is clearly stated but a focus on entrepreneurship could also be a stronger way to organize the range of information provided in a manner that moves it away from being a grab bag of tips and towards being an inspiring guide to taking charge of one's career.
Buy: Lessons From a Street-Wise Professor: What You Won't Learn At Most Music Schools (Amazon affiliate)
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. Flux Research is his business writing hub and All World Dance: World Dance News is his primary web project. To suggest websites and related topics for review, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.