Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where Are They Now? - Part III

It's hard to believe it, but DSM will be celebrating 20 years in 2012. Over that time we have worked with literally thousands of students from all over the DFW metroplex.  Many have become friends and some even consider us part of their extended families. In recent years we began seeing sons and daughters of former students which means - we're getting really old! It has been an incredible journey.

As we embark on a new 'global' phase of the school with MusickEd.com and Discover, Learn, and Play, we thought we'd take a look back and catch up with a few students to see what they were up to and ask what they remember about their time at DSM.

Brad Neher
came to us as a middle school student who wanted to learn jazz piano. Over the next few years we got to know the Neher family so well that we've played golf together, had dad record a bunch of DSM faculty concerts, and even crashed a few of Brad's shows around Dallas.  Thanks for catching up Bradley! 

Is there anything in particular that you remember about DSM? Any specific event, or occurrence? 

I have many fond memories of my time at DSM. My educational experience with Bob Lawrence is one of the richest blessings of my life. The thorough nature of his teachings has helped me to perform in each of my musical endeavors to the best of my ability. The importance of keeping things simple (the K.I.S.S. method), the importance of learning the history of a style to better understand it, and doing everything with an open mind and a big heart  - these have been priceless lessons.
One day Bob called Eugene into his office to hear me improvise over some chord changes. When I finished Eugene said "Sounds great... too bad I can't play it." He went on to explain how all great solos "breathe" just like a vocalist or wind player. This was an invaluable lesson, and just one of the many gems I took from my time at DSM.
I also studied arranging with Mike Finkel one summer and he helped me to conceptualize music in a way that has been instrumental in my performing pop music. I would not be anywhere near as good as I am today without the great folks at DSM. 

Tell us what you're doing now and what your plans are for the next year or so.

These days, most of the music that I play for a living is country music. I play at Cowboys in Arlington 3 nights a week. I have also been playing piano and keyboard at Highland Park United Methodist Church in the Cornerstone Service in Dallas for about 5 years now. I'm planning on moving to Nashville soon and seeing how a career in music will pan out for me there.

Is music part of your everyday life? 

Music has been and probably always will be a huge part of my life. I am very lucky that my mom found DSM and got me into lessons at an early age. Being from Dallas people just assume I attended UNT which I did,  but the music they are hearing is the result of years of private lessons at the Dallas School of Music.
I am often asked to give lessons but I respectfully decline.  There is a HUGE difference between someone who can make great music, and someone who can teach someone to one day make great music. The passion for teaching that the instructors at DSM have is a real blessing. It has been the most influential experience in my music career.

I am more grateful than I can say to have had the good folks at DSM help me to become the musician I want to be. Keep up the fantastic work and HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY!!!!

Good luck Brad - stay in touch and say hi to mom and dad too!