Wednesday, April 17, 2013

MATC MUSIC Occupations Program Success Stories - Rick Waggoner

It was back in 2002 when I started the MATC Music program. Prior to that I tried culinary arts school and other career fields, but couldn't really find anything I liked. I'd been playing guitar since I was 13, but all I really knew was the cool parts of songs. Now that I think about it, I don't even think I knew the pentatonic scale. The MATC Music faculty took me right in and helped me figure out that music was the path I wanted to follow career wise. One thing I really liked was that you have to learn a couple instruments and take a couple voice lab classes besides your main instrument. That right there makes you more valuable, which in return helps job security whether its playing or teaching.  I can't thank the music teachers enough for how they helped me. They did more then what they had to, and that's something I'll never forget. They helped me learn a lot in a short period of time.  To this day I still follow the practice habits they instilled in me, I also follow the advice they'd give me business wise. Since 2004 I've made my whole income from music whether its teaching or playing. In the beginning it was mostly from teaching but slowly it became all playing. I won a WAMI award in 2007 and 2008 for country band of the year playing with Geoff Landon and I've opened up for national acts such as Gretchen Wilson, Luke Bryan, Eddie Money, and Bret Michaels just to name a few. I've even played on stage with the 80's band Survivor.

2 gigs that stick out the most are when I played a late slot at Summerfest. Geoff Landon opened for recording artist Clay Walker that night, and a lot of my family came out to see. I also got to play The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Iowa. Buddy Holly played his last show there so you could imagine the energy that you felt playing on that stage. Since 2009 I've been touring the mid-west with variety bands; Tammy and The Bad Boyfriends and The White Ties, playing casinos and an occasional Honky Tonk. I now work out of Nashville Tennessee and I absolutely love it. Because of the faculty and the music courses I'm making a living doing what I love to do. I want to give a big thank you to Steve Peplin, Ben Hans, Jack Grassel, Hal Miller, Robbie Heighway, Terry Smirl, and the rest of the MATC music teachers. You guys are awesome!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MATC MUSIC Occupations Program Success Stories - Jon Nueberger
Most high school students are undecided about their future, but that wasn't the case for me. The college I had in mind after I would graduate from high school was MATC. I chose to go to school at MATC because I knew deep down in my heart that music was my passion. I've played guitar since 2003 and I was already gigging in several garage bands the following year. I may have been a rock star while going to high school, but there were some things that I was lacking back then. That would mostly be anything related to music theory. By the time I started taking music classes at MATC in 2007, it didn't take long for me to fit in with my fellow classmates. And the instructors who taught these music courses couldn't have been better! My favorite MATC music instructor would have to be Hal Miller. Hal had strong beliefs in me when I first started out. And being swamped with gigging, teaching, or grading assignments, he can always find the smallest amount of free time to help students who're in need. He taught the music reading and music theory courses at MATC, which I'm glad signed up for. 

I've played in many ensembles, which helped me to expand my knowledge of playing genres or songs I thought I would never have played in my life. I also had some kick-in-the-ass experiences on reading sheet music for the very first time. Steve Peplin's guitar classes was the one course that stuck in my mind the most. That was when I learned how to read sheet music and play jazz chords. I remember learning these jazz/blues chords while our class was going through exercises from Jack Grassel's play-along book. The book came with a CD for students to practice with, which definitely helped me get through the entire guitar course.

Another good lesson I got out of MATC was that music can pay the bills. Thanks to Ben Hans' music business course, I've learned from a musician and a business owner's point of view in the music business world. All I've learned from MATC helped me to form my current band "Jonny T-Bird & the MPs". Before I eventually graduated from MATC, I formed the band with a few other MATC music students. I'm proud to say that the band's still going strong today. The MPs and I had the honor of playing at a number of restaurants, bars and festivals throughout southeastern WI. My proudest moment with this band was playing at last year's "Waukesha BluesFest" where Coco Montoya topped the bill!

Soon, I'm graduating from Carroll University (which I transferred to after graduating MATC) with a Bachelors' Degree in Music Business this May. It's a little hard for me to say on what will happen next, but all I know is that I'm going to continue playing music and doing gigs with my band. Thank you, MATC Music Department for all your hard work on making me who I am today! You guys rock!

Jon Neuberger

Friday, September 21, 2012

MATC Music Occupations Program Success Stories - Brian Morrison

It was in fall of 2005 when I stumbled upon a path that would change my life forever. Young and fresh out of high school I enrolled at MATC with little to no direction in my life. I signed up for mostly general classes focused towards an associate’s degree in the health field, following advice my grandfather had suggested. Since I have had diabetes since the age of 6, I figured this was the right choice for me. Besides these general classes, I signed up for a few elective classes, all mostly in the music department, since music had always been an exciting extracurricular activity I had always enjoyed. Besides, you know what they say about all work and no play? I figured a few classes I really enjoyed would keep me attending school and, more importantly, not become overwhelmed by the stress of science classes needed for a degree in health care, a subject I neither enjoyed nor thrived in.  Although, at this point I had very little formal music training and my sight reading skills were ill to none. But that’s ok, these classes were just for fun and nothing would ever come of them. Little did I know how life changing this would become, and how a whole career could arise from these classes.
Fun, yes. Easy, well, let’s just say I never worked so hard in my life. The fact I had no previous training sure did make things a lot harder for me. But that was just it. The MATC Music department started at the basics and went up from there, taking every individual student and assessing them at their own skill levels, challenging each one, while supporting and motivating them to grow into not only a better musician, but a better person. And that’s just it, motivation. The community of hard working, dream aspiring musicians, along with the dedicated and extremely talented professors provided an atmosphere that anyone can become attached to. I looked forward to going to school every morning. Showing up bright and early when the doors to the practice rooms opened and often staying until the last class of the afternoon let out, I found myself working harder then I could ever imagine just because of the positive atmosphere around me.  Every day I felt as if I had learned something great and left with a wonderful feeling about what I was doing with my life. The teachers really cared about my success and it seemed like there was always someone there to help and give me guidance. I don’t think I realized it until after I graduated, but I was building relationships and learning skills that would stay with me far longer than just my time in school. These friendships and skills paved the way for my future and made me largely the person I am today.
By the time I left MATC in 2008 I had the self esteem and knowledge needed to succeed as a working musician in the real world. No longer were the walls of the schools needed as a security blanket, but instead I knew it was time for all my hard work to pay off.  I now have the skills to go out and find work. I am playing with several groups in the Milwaukee area and teaching students from time to time making a decent living. I plan to return to school and get a bachelors degree, but this time around I know that because of MATC Music I will have a steady foundation to build off of. Although I have a long way to go, I consider myself successful. Success is how you look at it.  Thanks to MATC Music I have built a life for myself I really love and enjoy. Every day brings a new challenge but I feel as though I am prepared to take on whatever challenges life as a musician has to offer me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

MATC Music Occupations Program Success Stories - Mark Mrozek

Mark Mrozek is a lifetime resident of the Milwaukee area. Mark is a graduate of MATC, with an Associate’s Degree in Music Occupations as well as Carroll University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, Mark spent 12 years teaching High School and Middle School music, first for MPS and then for the Dodgeland School system in Juneau, WI. Mark currently resides in Menomonee Falls and is a music/activity therapist for the residents of The Courtyards at Luther Manor. By night he is a freelance musician, a Music Director for the Musician’s union at Festa Italiana, and runs BtW productions (a company that supplies Bands, musicians, and technical assistance to those that need it). Mark enjoyed his time at MATC music greatly and credits Jack Grassel, Terry Smirl, Tom McGirr and Gene Morisette for supplying him with the information and skills he needed to become a successful professional musician in the Milwaukee Area.

Friday, April 6, 2012

MATC Music Occupations Program - Success Stories - Bill Eastep

My MATC Music story starts when I was recording an album with Kirk Tatnall in 1989. During the mixdown, we were listening to one of the songs and Kirk played some really cool implied passing chord type stuff, which just blew my mind. I asked Kirk, "What chords did you play", and he told me. I tried to comprehend what he just said, but his music theory was MUCH stronger than mine. Then I asked Kirk, "Wow, where did you learn that?" and he said..."MATC"! At that moment that I knew I had to go to MATC to learn what he had learned. I enrolled in the Music Occupations Associate Degree Program. My favorite instructors were Jack Grassel, Jerome Spencer, Harold Miller, and Berkley Fudge.  Studying at MATC was absolutely invaluable to both my own personal musical growth and my career. I not only learned more than I could have imagined from the teachers, but learned a lot from my fellow students as well (Ben Hans, David Robinson, Cory Coleman and more). There are other music programs and instructors, but MATC is a real musical community, and it was pure joy to be there.

In January 2012, I drove 20 hrs straight to Fargo, North Dakota from my home in Tennessee and joined The Great Outdoors band. Last year I had a BLAST playing in two EXCELLENT blues bands, Cee Cee James and Reverend Zack.  My family is still in TN, which leaves me quite lonely, but thanks to Skype and a $10 webcam, we do get to see each other.

I'm staying busy on the road. My second album is going to be an all blues album, which is 75% written. I'm writing in my spare time, or as inspiration strikes. I'm in a terrific band, no one tells me what to do, or how to play, or what to sound like. I just get to do my own thing. Everybody Wins!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MATC Music Promotional Video

Check out this recent student generated video promoting MATC Music.
Thanks Morgan!