The New Rules to “Higher Education”

I’ve come to the point where I can’t sleep because my mind is racing with innovative ideas. For me, the best method of expression, is writing everything down and making structure of whats going on in my brain. No, I’m probably not your average full-time student, working two-jobs, all in between an internship and some kind of social life. But with a lot of practice at this college thing, Im able to process what I want for my future, imagine what it will take to get there, and create my own destiny.

You see, four years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor of Environment, Society, and Culture, was more than a defiant experience in my history. Not because my  Advisor told me, “If you think you will ever make a change in the television industry, you’re in for a rude awakening”. But it was like magic when I realized that I had the passion, educational tools, talent, and natural intelligence to go against assumptions made of my capability.  I decided I would make the change I wanted to see in the world, and I would do it on my own terms.

So I stopped trying to convince myself I needed some type of corporate career to be successful, and I used my life, with positive mentors and friends around me, as a new higher education. I pursued my hobby of writing music again, and I emerged myself in the local music scene. Almost instantaneously, I moved to the Twin Cities, transferred to McNally Smith College of Music, and started working with the non-profit, Environment Minnesota.

As If my heart always knew I would eventually, “come home”, I was welcomed with open arms by other amazing, talented, and aspired people, who enjoy the same pleasures the cities in the Midwest have to offer- Art, Culture, History, Food, and Music. I am learning from great people in the industry, and I can see clearly ahead to where this path will take me!

I’m currently  in the process of  combining my world experience with my education. I have tapped into the resource in my mind that holds imagination, creativity, love, and humanitarianism. All the work I’m putting into releasing a demo, establishing a band, and starting a non-profit, is for the greater good and comes from the most genuine place. My question is, “What happened to the Talented Tenth”?

As I move forward, I would like to focus my purpose with a deeper responsibility. I have been strongly influenced by a recent TED Talk I watched titled, “Ken Robinson Says School Kills Creativity”. I encourage people watch it, because he goes under the surface about our education system; for example he discusses the hierarchy of subjects taught  in concurrence with industrialism, the education system is focused on university acceptance, and that intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct.

I think, people will resort to new experiences for education. Since we don’t know what’s going to happen in five years, its undeniable that degrees aren’t the most important criteria for having a successful career. Experience, skills, image, professionalism and networking is what employers are looking for, and gives a fresh perspective on how you should pursue a career.

Robinson says, “I believe the only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology. One in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mind our minds in the way we have strip mined the earth for particular commodity.  And for the future, it won’t service.  We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children.”

Ken Robinson says school kills creativity

S/O to #TeamDanami

ImageI want to take a hot minute to give a shout out to Danami and his crew! Danami has been a great mentor, friend, and example of how to get do the music business thing right. Originally from Detroit, MI, Danami is a songwriter, hip-hop recording artist who inspires and motivates through speeches, music, panels, and lifestyle. Non-profit organizations, schools, and correctional facilities also routinely recruit him for his services. (http://www.danamionline.com/outreach/)

Danami really caught my eye when he launched his Kickstarter Campaign in August 2011 for his album, Delayed Gratification.His campaign goal was to raise $3,000 in 60 days to cover recording and promotion costs for the album and received contributions from 76 people.  This is a perfect example of how new age technology can jump start an entrepreneurs’ career.

Being a hip-hop artist that values quality over quantity, Danami found that he was faced with the challenge of keeping his existing fans engaged while taking the necessary time to create a new product. Danami is aided by his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business when coming up with marketing strategies, and how to utilize media outlets to increase a following.  By using social media, and other online outlets on a regular basis, Danami is able to engage his existing fans, attract new fans, as well as improve the quality of content he releases.  For example, Danami uses his personal website as a “hub” for his media content; such as his YouTube videos, Flickr pictures being directly uploaded to his website immediately when posted.  Danami looks at social media sites as tools to keep the interactions betweens fans ongoing, and is selective on the content that shared with Facebook, and Twitter through “Selective Tweets”; an application that allows you to selectively choose tweets are shared on Facebook.  This is a strategy he uses because both social mediums are very different and sometimes content isn’t appropriate for both.  On his website, Danami effectively uses Fan Mail for disclosures more personal than what is appropriate on social media, and has branded his fans as #TeamDanami.  It’s a great way to invite people to events, hangouts, and is a platform to do special give ways that really make a fan feel up-to-date, and connected with an artist.

Danami really put his online media strategies to test when he went on the South By Southwest tour through McNally Smith College of Music.  Danami did performances at schools, and venues in different states all the way to Austin and back.  After his performances, he would acquire 3-5 new fans/followers if not more.  He built relationships with new fans, and kept nurturing that relationship throughout the tour with his media content.  For example, at the end of every day, Danami would write a journal entry reflecting on the events in that day.  This was a great way to keep fans from home informed on the success of his tour, and new fans were able to see how he engaged in other cities.  It also kept the content of his media current, consistent, and of quality.  His strategies have proven to be successful by his use of thought leadership, and quality content through his media content. Danami’s future releases, and endeavors are sure to have a positive reaction online because of the strong web presence he has already created and works towards maintaining. If your looking for new creative examples on spicing up your media presence, I hope you have been taking notes. 😉