Bob Stern sent the following letter:

In my experience as an academic, professional musician and, for the past 17 years, dentist--I not only concur, but would add a corollary to your schema. There was a time (back in the days when I tried it and didn't exhale!), that I decided that it would be cool to become a studio musician. So, as an ex-philosophy jock, I decided to approach it backwards. I set up a tape recorder and some mikes and invited every reasonably good solo artist over to make demo "records" (spell that cheap tapes) in the studio (spell that garage). Putting myself in the position of having to BE a studio musician by DOING what studio musicians did and making "recordings", I desperately analyzed the tapes, practiced and learned what worked for me during the sessions.

The intensity of the need to learn and practice (after all--I was hosting these sessions and didn't want to be a total jerk) was an enormous motivator. Later, a band I was in went into a studio to make a "real" demo. The engineer said that the group wasn't so hot, but my fiddle and bass playing was "cool" and he had groups coming in that needed some help (spell that overdubs). Would I do it? Sure.

Soon, I had more and more jobs and found myself being just what I had pretended to be: a studio musician making some money at it!

In dental school, I did the same thing--considering myself a dentist, volunteering for every new demonstration and desperately preparing so as not to look foolish. This approach has served me well.

You are onto something!!

Tom's response:

Good for you Bob. There aren't many people with the courage to do what you did. Whether you did well or not, I'll bet you were NEVER bored. Think about learning the same stuff in a classroom. Certain death. But much easier on the instructor. So who is education for? The learner or the "teacher?"

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