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What do you want to do for a living?

Back in the late 70s I went to an organization that claimed to train you for any job you wanted, give you on-the-job training, then job placement in that field.  We had to fill out an application that included the type of work we wanted to do.  I asked if we could list anything, no matter how far fetched it was, and they said we could.  I was, of course, the only one who listed "Record Producer" as a preferred occupation.  I think my second choice was recording engineer.  When they read my application they chuckled and said, "we don't have training in that type of work. You need to list something like factory worker, welder, grocery clerk, office worker, etc.  Unfortunately, none of what they suggested to me appealed to me at all, and I held to my conviction of becoming a record producer and/or recording engineer.  I already had minimal experience in both and wanted to pursue that path.  However, to seek out that type of employment would mean moving to a place like New York, Nashville or LA.  I liked living in Northeast Pa. and was determined to do this kind of work without moving away.  I had picked up some temporary jobs in the meantime, and from my pay I would save some money, and each time I would get enough I would buy one piece of equipment for my studio, starting with the most useful piece, and continuing with the next piece that would serve the best use.  It often took months to afford another piece, but the time in between served as a learning period and I was able to get to know each piece of equipment inside out and had plenty of time to practice with it before adding the next piece.  Once I had a basic recording setup I began recording my own songs, getting practice with the entire recording process.  I would have professionals listen to my demos and make suggestions on what I could do to make them better.  When I became proficient at the recording process, I began to make my services available to other musicians.  I started by offering a free demo to a select few to give me the experience of working with other musicians in the studio.  When I was able to put out demos for these musicians that they were happy with I began charging for my services.  I used the money from that to gradually build my studio by adding additional pieces to the studio until I eventually had a complete music production project studio.  Because the demand wasn't as great in my area as it would have been in New York, it took several years to get to a point where I could actually make a living at this, so I sought out additional employment, but wanted to keep it all music related.  I got a steady gig playing bass in a band, and doing so helped me to find talent to record and produce one of my songs, which eventually became a regional hit in 1982.  Between the gigs and the studio I was making enough to advance my studio to a higher level and get better equipment and more of it.  I later went into solo performing as a guitar/vocalist as my primary employment and the recording studio was my secondary source of income.  As long as I had that secondary source of income I was able to keep my studio growing.  With the studio I recorded bands, and doing so helped me to find talent that I wanted to work with as a producer.  Eventually I got away from performing and got more involved in producing myself and others, but good talent was hard to find.  I later went on to teaching music, and this led me to find some very talented people.  With this talent I was able to produce several albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for best country album of the year.  It came in 37th place, ahead of Lady Antebellum.  People are now paying me to produce their albums.  I wanted to be a record producer, and I am a record producer because I kept at it and refused to let anyone tell me that I can't do that.

The entire point of this blog is that you can be anything you want to be if you have the drive and make a commitment to it and don't let anything stand in your way.  Ignore people who tell you that you can't do something, even if it is far fetched.  Make a plan to follow, go after it, and don't stop even after you get it.

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Taylor Sappe Music Production & Instruction