Master Package Graduate destined for great things

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Miles Campbell presented the “Superstar” Award at Fall 2018 Graduation for being the first student to complete all eight programs

It was a special day for 19 year old Miles Campbell as he walked up to the stage to accept a “Superstar” award for being the first student at Slam Academy to complete and graduate from all eight offered programs.  And, he was able to do it in under two years, while attending college full time. What’s his secret to success? We were able to catch up with the rock-star graduate for a personal interview on how he got started, what he gained from training, and what’s next on the horizon.

 

A conversation with Miles Campbell:

Tanya Lano, Slam Aacademy:

What first brought you to Slam Academy? What was your background experience prior to starting classes at Slam Academy? What goals did you have set at that time when you started classes?

Miles:

When I first started producing, I was 12 years old. I needed to find somewhere I can learn this. I googled “how to produce music” and Slam Academy came up in my search. I reached out, and started taking private lessons with James Patrick (Co-Founder) when I was 16. When I was a senior in high school, I decided what I wanted to do. We toured other schools, then I came to Slam Academy. I loved music my entire life, I love EDM, and have a huge passion. Minneapolis has a great music scene and Slam Academy is only 15 minutes away from where I live. The more I came here, the more it felt like a community and a home. It’s a family here. I wanted to take my music to a professional level. I worked hard to get all of those classes done.

SA:

You completed the DJ program first, why? And, what made you open your mind to taking all programs?

Miles:

I was DJ’ing a lot, and wanted better gigs. My full time job during high school was DJ’ing. I was making more money DJ’ing than my first part-time job so I quit. I was performing for high school events, Trampoline Park, and other random events. I feel the DJ program  is a good start for everyone. I also wanted to master Ableton Live so I took that with Sound Design. If you know Ableton Live and Sound Design, everything else can be built around these programs. Everything ties together.

SA:

How did you handle taking classes at your college and Slam Academy at the same time?  How did you structure your busy calendar to balance two schools? Why do you feel completing all 8 programs is beneficial?

Miles:

I took 26 credits in my freshman year of college, as well as classes at Slam Academy. I did mostly online classes for college, and I took night classes when I didn’t have classes at Slam. During breaks, I would do homework. I stayed busy and didn’t waste time. I didn’t hang with friends, just focused on myself. I stayed focused, but I’m not organized. I found a system and stuck with it.

Just recently I’ve been nominated and chosen to open for Steve Aoki at U of M homecoming. Seeing your hard work pay off is inspiring.

SA:

How do you handle stress and pressure?  Are you ever overwhelmed with work? How to you create balance for yourself?

Miles:

I try to remind myself stress will pass. You gotta keep working to overcome obstacles in life. Keep pushing forward. If you let yourself fall backwards, it’s harder to get back up. I just go for it. I feel overwhelmed all the time. I just transferred to a major University and still trying to work on music. I want to release music.

SA:

Do you feel Slam Academy got you where you want to be?

Miles:

Slam Academy went above and beyond. I did not expect to play my first gig at Skyway just 2 months after I started classes. It all happened so fast.  All the people I’ve met have completely changed my life.

SA:

What advice can you give future students that also desire to win a “Superstar” award? Are you collaborating with Slam Academy students?

Miles:

Work hard and keep at it. If I can do it, you can do it. Stay excited and inspired. Pull inspiration from the people in your class and the environment around you. It won’t seem like work, and it will just be fun

I’ve been collaborating with Forest Vlaming (Slam Academy Master Package Student) and worked on a tons of different ideas and business plans. We had a lot of classes together. Talking to other people that are in similar stages of their career and are hungry for success, just like I am, is very good. It’s hard to meet other people that are into the same thing as you are, so meeting tons of them at Slam was crazy. I felt in high school I was the only one doing this.

SA:

What’s next for Miles Campbell?

Miles:

I’m working on my first single, working on new music, getting ready for upcoming gigs, joined the EDM club at U of M, and helping to teach there. And, I expect more. I want to do music full time. That’s the goal.

SA:

Congratulations, Miles.

Miles:

Thank you very much.

Miles Per Hour

 

SoundCloud:
https://soundcloud.com/
milesperhour-1

FaceBook:
https://www.facebook.com/
milesperhourmusic/

Instagram: @mph_music
Twitter: @MPH_Music

Past gigs: https://www.facebook.com/events/2126147074286946/

Lazerbeak to teach Music Industry Program

Hip Hop Producer from Minneapolis joins Slam Academy Family

Slam Academy is excited to announce an addition to the instructor roster.  Joining us this November is Lazerbeaklead instructor for our upcoming Music Industry program.  

Aaron Mader, known professionally as Lazerbeak, is a Minneapolis-based artist and hip hop producer. Aside from being a founding member of the Doomtree collective, he is also the CEO and General Manager of Doomtree Records, handling the day-to-day operations, management, and inner workings of the crew and label. Over the past decade he has worked with a wide range of artists including Doomtree, Lizzo, Matt and Kim, Dessa, Trampled By Turtles, P.O.S, Har Mar Superstar, GAYNGS, and Speedy Ortiz. In addition to original production and songwriting, Beak also works musically behind the scenes on commercials, movie trailers, TV shows, and remixes.

Q&A with LAZERBEAK

How did you get your start in the industry? And, why did you stay?

I guess it really started back in 4th grade with my folks making me choose a musical instrument in school. Went from alto sax in grade school to messing around with my dad’s acoustic guitar in junior high and eventually playing in an indie rock band throughout high school and beyond. Started Doomtree up in about 2001 and never looked back. All those years of trial and error taught me the independent fundamentals of what it meant to survive in this industry and not a day goes by that I haven’t learned something new along the way. As much as my role in music has changed over the last few decades, I’ve still got that same passion for creating music, or helping others create music and getting it out there for the world to hear it.

What type of people are successful in the music industry?

I think people skills are crucial. You’ve got to be able to balance empathy, understanding, and lots of different relationships all at the same time – and know tone and the difference between when it’s right to get on the phone, shoot a text, or knock it out in email. The whole “Don’t be a dick” philosophy is huge for me.

What are the most challenging obstacles that you have to deal with or overcome on a daily basis?

Trying to make everyone happy but also not lose sight of the ultimate goal. A lot of managing comes down to listening and being a good life coach or therapist with people.

Tell us about your new group Shredders.  Any new albums coming out?

I love Shredders. It’s a new group comprised of P.O.S, Sims, Paper Tiger and myself, all from the Doomtree collective. Last year we all got together with the goal of making some super short and fun rap bangers – no pressure, no expectations. Dangerous Jumps is the debut LP that came from those sessions and we’ve been touring the country a bunch and playing festivals this year in support of it. We actually just begun demoing some new tracks last month.

Any words of advice for new incoming students?

Be curious and ask a lot of questions. We’ve all got so much to learn from each other.

Why are you excited to teach the Music Industry program?

I’m super excited to learn from each individual student and help to tailor my time at Slam in order to help in whatever way I can. I’ll be using an actual Doomtree Records release in real time as a case study and you’ll get to see all the behind-the-scenes details that go into not only creating an album, but promoting it, releasing it, and beyond.

 

Come meet Lazerbeak at our upcoming FREE Intro to Music Industry class on November 5 where students will have an opportunity to meet the instructor, meet other prospective students and experience the culture of Slam Academy classes.

Register today! [FREE] Intro to Music Industry class

 

Videos:

 

Socials:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/lazerbeak/?hl=en

FB: https://www.facebook.com/lazerbeakdoomtree/

SC: https://soundcloud.com/doomtree/sets/lazerbeak

BC: https://lazerbeak.bandcamp.com

 

Official Website: www.doomtree.net/lazerbeak/

Doomtree started as a mess of friends in Minneapolis, fooling around after school, trying to make music without reading the manual. The group had varied tastes—rap, punk, indie rock, pop—so the music they made together often bore the toolmarks of several styles. When they had enough songs, they booked some shows. They made friends with the dudes at Kinkos to print up flyers. They burned some CDs to sell. The shows got bigger. Of necessity, Doomtree’s seven members (Cecil Otter, Dessa, Lazerbeak, Mike Mictlan, P.O.S, Paper Tiger, and Sims) figured out how to run a small business. Lazerbeak’s garage became the merchandise warehouse; P.O.S’ mom’s basement became the webstore. A decade and fifty releases later, it’s all properly official – Doomtree is now a real, … keep reading at http://www.doomtree.net/about/

 

Editor’s Note: Alongside Lazerbeak will be Katie Kramarczuk (Hydrah) and Grace Davies teaching the Music Industry Program. Slam Acadaemy’s Chief Content Officer, James Patrick wanted to say a few words:

This team of experts bring the final piece of the music Mastery puzzle to the table at Slam Academy. I see too many great tracks die on hard drives or with not enough plays on SoundCloud. Making great content is only one half of the battle. The rest of the elements can come easy with guidance. This Crew is here to make that happen for you within Slam Academy’s Music Industry Program.

Lazerbeak also partnered with Bionik (Stefon Taylor, instructor of Slam Academy’s Recording Arts & Producer Programs) as POOL BOYS. The duo hosted their album release party as a part of Slam Academy’s Producer Strategy Showcase series in 2017, check out the recap video below (enrolled students get access to the full hour and a half video in their online account).

A Conversation with Scott LeGere

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Slam Academy Launches Music Industry Program

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – March 9, 2018 @ Slam Academy  – We welcomed a quick visit with Scott LeGere, McNally Smith’s former Music Business department head, as he was in between meetings, for an opportunity to catch up with his busy life.  Scott is joining Slam Academy this spring to teach the new Music Industry Program. Slam Academy has always offered students various vocational programs in music production and performance, and with the addition of the Music Industry Program, students can now round out their Slam Academy education with industry and career advancing concepts including copyright, business registration, marketing, and emerging revenue sources.  Over the past 15 years, LeGere has played key roles in the ownership and operation of audio recording facilities, independent record labels, media schools, and commercial music production companies. During this time, he has engineered Grammy nominated albums, produced critically acclaimed independent projects, and lectured nationally in industry focused conferences and university classrooms.

 

Tanya Lano, Slam Academy Recruitment Specialist:

“First of all a big Thank You for coming in today and supporting us with the launch of the new Music Industry Program.  We understand you have spent many wonderful years with McNally, and many other schools. We are curious on your perspective on education, how people are getting their education, and your feelings about the closing of McNally.”

Scott LeGere:

“Hey Tanya, thank you, glad to be here. From a macro level, the educational world is changing. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone because the entire world is changing.  Technology, automation, tools powered by the internet, etc and mobile access are fundamentally changing businesses all over the world. When the largest hotel chain is Airbnb and they don’t own any hotel rooms you see a change is afoot.  When the largest taxi company is Uber and doesn’t own any vehicles you see change is afoot. The internet really is a great democratizer. And that’s a good thing. If there is information you want to learn about you can probably find it online, provided by a whole slew of talented individuals.  One of the biggest challenges of higher education is the high cost.

“One of the reasons why I am excited to teach at Slam Academy is seeing the community that has formed around the classes and offerings here.   I had the honor of speaking at a graduation this past summer and was really blown away to see all the instructors at Slam Academy having really intimate and deep knowledge of all of their students.  This is a specialty school, though you could say it’s not a school, it’s a community education location! Slam Academy doesn’t have an infrastructure of a larger institution, you don’t have this department or that department, you don’t have subjects siloed away in a governance system that was derived hundreds of years ago.  I think education is ripe for evolution and revolution, and in many ways Slam Academy is on the forefront of that. Seeing how community minded and supportive the students were here of each other, the faculty knowledge of all the students, so of course I was excited to lend a hand and teach the Music Industry Program. After talking to some of the team here you probably would have done it without me with someone else because it’s a natural step for this group, but I’m thrilled to be able to be here.”

Tanya Lano:

“Speaking of the internet, you hit a good point.  It has allowed us a non-traditional educational approach, having access to video tutorials, manuals to download, and it’s also changed how people release their music with emerging independent record labels, etc.”

Scott LeGere:

“You can joke it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.  The internet, the way a lot of people in Silicon Valley refer to it, it’s disruptive. Digital technology is disruptive.  It’s not just the internet, it’s the ability to share processes and share documents, powered by global communication. It’s disruptive. Well, in disruption some business plans are challenged. But, within disruption some business plans can really grow and prosper.  What’s interesting is, just coming from a production standpoint, and this has been the heart of Slam Academy’s mission, is that to make music 20 years ago and to make a record, you might have needed a million dollar recording studio. The only way you would be able to afford that is to basically get a loan from a record label or a publishing company and go through this whole mechanization and system.  If you didn’t fit into the cookie cutter box that that system was looking for, and if you didn’t fit the sound or the look, you might not have ever gotten those opportunities. There were some great records that came out over the last couple of decades, but we have to assume that there are some phenomenal talents that never got that opportunity. Today, with a laptop you can make a record in your basement, in your bedroom, in your garage, it’s really exciting. This aspect of technology has democratized production and allows anyone to come forward and make their art. That’s fantastic.  Now, there is an equally challenging prospect to that. More and more people are making records. When I entered the studio world in the late 90’s on average about 30,000 albums came out per year in the United States. Today, we are seeing over 20,000 records get uploaded per week to Beatport. We are looking at about 100 times the amount of content coming out on a weekly basis. This is where the Music Industry Program fits in. Open up your laptop, grab a controller, plug into Ableton and start making some exciting music. The challenges become where you can do it, but so can anyone else.  How do you break through the 5000 other tracks that were released that day? How do you start to build a name and a career for yourself? Those are the things we are going to start to talk about.”

Tanya Lano:

“Would you agree that some employers are looking for collaboration skill sets coming into the workplace?”

Scott LeGere:

“Unquestionably. I’m over simplifying here, but because I’ve been teaching for 16 years, I’ve been fairly diligent at reading job openings and postings. I want to know what companies are looking for so I can help make that transition for our students.  The older model was the Bachelor’s Degree, for years and years, we saw you must have a BA, lately over the last two years I’m seeing “college recommended.” I’m guessing that recommendation is based on you’re going to have some maturity, follow through, and with tremendous amount of valuable things that can come out of college.  The skills that people are asking for are softer than they have ever been. We need collaborators, communicators, ‘thinking on our feet’ people, and paratroopers, as in can you jump into our problem here and help out with whatever the effort is.”

Tanya Lano:

“When big changes happen it can bring out the best in people and you hit a good point, Scott, of being community minded and supported. Getting a business program running at Slam Academy is definitely a natural step for us.  Our students are excited to get support to release their music, and have been asking their teachers great questions for business tactics. Just know how happy we are to have you help guide our ship.”

Scott LeGere:

“I think ‘guide’ is much too strong a word! At the most, maybe I can help to point in a certain direction and we all can collectively run that way together. I think what I’ve been able to see, getting into the studio business in the 90’s, and watching it grow and watching it collapse, and suddenly get radically challenged from home studios. I’ve watched the studio business flip upside down, along with the label business, advertising and post production, and now it’s the education business that is flipping upside down. Since I’ve lived through so many of those changes, I’ve had the opportunity to see what they become.  And almost always the results have been positive. Sure we can bemoan the loss of some of our great recordings studios in America that have been turned into condos, or something else, but I wouldn’t trade today’s era for a moment. When a motivated young person can share their story they want to share with the world with an app like Ableton or GarageBand, today is just too exciting. That’s the piece I’ve been trying to bring to the classroom for 16 years. I’ll get on a soapbox, and get upset, for generations, whenever someone has talked about the arts, the immediate response is, ‘you shouldn’t do it, you’re never going to make it, you shouldn’t date musicians,’ and so forth.  We’re looking at an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds. Now that streaming has become the preferred platform for listening, we’re looking at annual revenues at publishing companies, distributors and record labels that are increasing by significant factors. A record group, Awol, which is a subsidiary of Colbalt, the European publishing giant, they just had a 100% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017. Most small businesses are happy when they have a 5% year-to-year growth, not 100% year-to-year growth. We are seeing streaming rates jump all over the world by 50-80%. We realize with these devices we can get a Spotify or Apple music account, more people are listening to more music, more money is flowing into the system, because this is an industry that is growing. We have more television channels, commercials, films that are being produced that need more music, more radios opportunities whether they are terrestrial or streaming, there is a great demand for music.  Music is what makes the world go around. It’s still one of the most powerful forms of communication on the planet.”

Tanya Lano:

“I like that point, Scott, that looking at this as not a crisis, but an opportunity.  Sometimes we see so much negative out there, but it’s great to have a positive and optimistic look for our future leaders.”

Scott LeGere:

“I’ve seen it.  The inspiration that J (Dr. J Anthony Allen) and JP (James Patrick) and other instructors bring to students. One class is teaching the excitement that comes from these new digital tools and I’m going to try to teach the excitement that comes from a globally connected community of people listening to music. And how to tap into them and hopefully over time how to accrue more listeners and convert some listeners into fans.”

 

Watch Scott LeGere’s Ted Talk X @ Carlton College

 

Since the closing of McNally Smith, Slam Academy has enrolled a handful of their displaced students through the McNally Smith Transfer Scholarship. While some students have chosen to start with one program, others have looked to Slam Academy to wholly replace their music education, enrolling in all available programs. The Music Industry Program will launch on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, running 11am – 2pm weekly for 12 weeks. Slam Academy also offers free 2-hour introduction classes one week prior to all program starts; the Introduction to Music Industry class will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 11am.

Inside Look at Studio A @ Slam Academy

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Classroom by Day… Performance Hall by Night

Slam Academy is a multimedia art and music studio located in Minneapolis, and Studio A – Performance Hall gets a lot of use for various different events and training.  The space hosts events in many disciplines, including live music by national and international talents, classes, lessons, and open studio time every week. The space includes a generous four-corner sound system and plenty of space to experiment with light, sound and images. When it isn’t being used as a classroom or a venue, you will often find our faculty hanging out there, working on their own music.

     

Studio A is our newly renovated space. It has a full range 3-way PA with custom 21″ bass bins stacked high, video projection, and seats about 45 people. The main room is used to host our larger classes, workshops, and special events. Studio A is a full-fledged performance venue, complete with a 4 channel, 3 way sound system, full DJ booth, and accommodations for an entire band.

One of the favorite features of Studio A is the recurring event every Friday from 4-6pm called OPEN DECKS.  This is an opportunity for prospective and current students to play on the 3-way PA system, whether it’s for practice or just a chance to show off some new skills, and get a sense of what it would be like at a real club venue.

Open Decks March 9 @ 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Open Decks March 16 @ 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Also every Friday in Studio A, from 6-10pm, is a recurring event called Slam Jam.  This is an opportunity for featured guest artists to perform for a live streaming event.  If you would like to request a booking for a Slam Jam set, please send an email to [email protected].  Check out a recent Slam Jam set by Tanya Leigh.

Slam Academy also provides [FREE] introductory classes held at Studio A for students that are curious about our training and programs.

[FREE] Intro to Electronic Music March 10 @ 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
[FREE] Intro to Electronic Music March 21 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Come check out Studio A today and schedule a tour!  Or attend our next Open House!

5 Great Reasons to Attend an Open House

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… Even if you’re not ready to invest

Pursuing the right school to attend can be stressful at times.  It can take a lot of research time to find that perfect place to learn, but before you dismiss that school you think is too expensive you owe it to yourself to take a look.  Why? Because it’s fun and you might find out something you didn’t know.  Once you tour all of the schools you would consider, you will find it easier to make a decision of which one is right for you.  

Reason No. 1 : Learn about how much you can invest in your education

What you can afford to buy plays an important factor in your decision.  Sometimes you don’t always figure that out until you are deep into the process.  Attending an open house allows you to get a realistic expectation of how much you need to budget.  Typically there is a staff member that is trained in helping students with information on how to pay for school.  It’s also an opportunity to get advice on scholarships that may be available.  Be clear about your intentions and if you are not a serious buyer, then say so.

Reason No. 2 : See the school in action and learn from the crowd

Open houses present an opportunity to see students train, meet staff members and get a sense of the culture.  Be alert to whether the tour guide or staff member engages you when you first come in, and pay attention to how others acknowledge you.  This plays an important role on how you would be treated as a student.  It allows you get face-to-face time with the students and staff.  Bring your tough questions to ask!  Be sure your tour guide is knowledgeable and genuinely interested in you, your story and your goals.

Reason No. 3 : Learn about your needs

Sometimes buyers are not sure what they want or are looking for, so understanding what you want to gain and benefit is important.  You would be very surprised what you gravitate toward when you start looking around.  You may see something you have never seen before and it changes your perspective. Open houses help you to learn about the layouts and amenities provided.  This will contribute to defining what you need to get you where you want to go.

Reason No. 4 : Touch the stuff and get to know the competition

 Take the time to research as many “like” schools as you can to understand the difference between them.  Check out all of the rooms, look at the equipment and technology and overall care put in to the facility.  It’s like buying a car and looking under the hood to make sure all the parts are working.  It’s crucial that your investment will give you the training you need on the “latest and greatest” technology.

Reason No. 5 : Get a feel for the neighborhood

Is the school located in an area where job opportunities are nearby?  Is the neighborhood buzzing with excitement?  Are you looking for housing near your school of choice?  You’ll get a sense right away if the location will benefit your living needs.  And it will give you a chance to see other nearby businesses.  

 

Every 2 months, Slam Academy opens its doors to students that are interested in its programs.  Get registered today: Open House March 10, 2018  3-5pm

Also on March 10th, Slam Academy will be hosting a free 2-hour introduction class to electronic music.
Get registered today:
Intro to Electronic Music March 10, 2018 1-3pm

Details
March 10, 2018 3-5pm
Public Event
https://slamacademy.com
Slam Academy – 1121 Jackson Street NE, Ste. 142, Minneapolis, MN
(612) 293-7526