In chapter 6 of my book, An Artistic Guide to Economic Survival, I look into the domain of Apprenticeship. Like all of the chapters, it begins with a quote, this one from Chick Corea: “In the arts, and possibly in any field where skill is required, apprenticeship is the sure way—work with and for the individuals who know and do the art at the highest levels”.
This sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? On the contrary, this path of ascertained enlightenment has more variables than you can imagine. Case in point: Let’s look at part of the statement Chick made, “who know and do the art at the highest levels”. Let’s see, “highest level”, would that be the highest level historically speaking, or financially speaking, or technically speaking, or the most popular, or the most respected…you get my drift. Choosing someone to apprentice under absolutely keeps your decision making process in active mode. To wit: If you were judging who to study with in terms of their financial success over the years, some bad choices for you would have been Mozart, or Van Gogh. I hope I’ve made my point. Deciding on an apprenticeship deserves serious analytical posturing on your part. There is no definitive answer as far as determining who to spend your time with, and it needs to be thoroughly and personally thought out.
Here are a few quick thoughts to also consider:
A. Not all great artists are great teachers.
B. Multiple apprenticeships might be a wise course to pursue.
C. Within an apprenticeship, is the teacher giving you the space and opportunity to let “your” thoughts and possible considerations be heard, or are they teaching you strictly from “their” agenda.
D. Should you also consider an apprenticeship outside of your chosen profession, as a way to expand your overall musical persona?
Hopefully you’re starting to see that choosing someone to apprentice with is a wise, but very thought provoking undertaking, especially when most people or organizations out there will “all” be guaranteeing you success. Let me leave you with a quote from Esperanza Spaulding: “You can meet five people in a day, and they’ll have five different philosophies of practicing music, or study habits”. My perspective, she’s right on the money, and the search for a meaningful apprenticeship will call on your introspective capabilities and a great deal of thought as well.