John Mayer Offers Musicians Advice At Berklee

Written by July 13th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

“The tweets are getting shorter, but the songs are still 4 minutes long…I stopped using twitter as an outlet and I started using twitter as the instrument to riff on, and it started to make my mind smaller and smaller and smaller. And I couldn’t write a song.”

Twitter-addiction was just one of the topics Grammy-winning songwriter and guitarist John Mayer spoke on during his clinic at Berklee College of Music last week. Mayer’s career has been one of evolution and change: From acoustic/pop raspy voiced heart-throb, to SRV-esque blues guitar revivalist, to Twitter phenom, to (dare I say it) smart-mouthed douche. He hasn’t stopped there though. The Berklee alum explained to the auditorium that he has regained his focus and has a newfound sense of discipline where his music and songwriting are concerned. He stressed the importance of laying ground rules for yourself while working saying, “Here are the rules for recording this record… no drum machines, no loops, no keyboards to start out with, no excuses, no breaks, no laptops, no nothing. If you take a break, it’s to eat. If you’re done, you go home.”

Mayer also offered this piece of advice to use in tandem with his words on discipline, “Manage the temptation of publishing yourself.” He explained that college is not the time to promote yourself. Mayer elaborated saying, “This time is a really important time for you guys because nobody knows who you are, and nobody should… This is the time to get your stuff together…Good music is its own promotion.”

The three-hour clinic was rounded out by performances, a lengthy Q&A, and advice on songwriting, rhyming patterns, etc. However, it was John Mayer’s encouraging words of wisdom like, “Anybody who tells you to have a fall back plan are people who had a fallback plan, didn’t follow their dreams, and don’t want you to either,” and “Anybody who’s made it will tell you, you can make it. Anyone who hasn’t made it will tell you, you can’t,” that gave the clinic its teeth.

Read more about Mayer’s visit to Berklee here.

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