Hello and welcome back to my 10th installment of my blog and my story. If you are curious about the previous events, feel free to go back and read the older postings.
My 8th blog entry described the events of 2001 and how my last semester at Berklee began, with the events of 9/11.
It was a very shocking moment for all of us, and I don’t mean just the Berklee community, or America….I mean the whole world. These events took a whole generation’s innocence and hope. I could feel how the universe changed and altered life for everyone.
I think all of us students at Berklee were deeply in shock and we all tried to heal during the whole fall semester. I had only 2 credits left, one was Conducting 2 with Valerie Taylor and History of Art 2 with Henry Tate, who I believe really made a difference in everyone’s life and understanding.
I used my free time to compose and write music as well as trying to understand what I have to do next for my career and of course how to obtain a legal working permission after I graduated. As a kid of the 90s and growing into the internet age, I realized that careers are now made online and I began to post my music on a website called mp3.com. I am sure most of you reading this don’t even remember this anymore or have never heard of it but the business concept was very musician friendly and would pay per play and also press your CDs for you….I was able to release my first solo record on mp3.com called “Acceleration420” and sell quite a few records and develop a fan base and audience. Additionally, I looked for work playing guitar in musicals and managed to get hired for quite a few musicals in Boston, all non-union of course and since I wasn’t in the union, I was prohibited from playing in Union houses, but I was able to earn a living playing in Boston’s Theater district.
Times weren’t easy tho. Most people stayed home since they were still in shock of the 9/11 events and lots of shows closed earlier due to low attendances….on the other hand, I noticed that the Hollywood Video Store on my way home always was completely out of movies…it certainly were interesting and confusing times. Once my last semester at Berklee came to an end, I had to make decision, should I go back to Germany or try my luck in America. I always felt displaced from “home” and there was nothing for me to go back to, so I decided to stay. I got all my paperwork in order and applied for a visa called Optional Practical Training or OPT1 that let’s me stay and work for one year in the field of my studies…..it wasn’t easy to be a musician during this time….
I worked hard and hardly made a living during 2002, I was determined to not give up and not get distracted by accepting a non musician job. I played a lot of musicals, worked on new music and taught occasionally lessons. Oftentimes, money was so scarce that it was a choice of paying rent or eating…and no, I am not exaggerating. I was very fortunate to have befriended a family that ran a pizza and sub shop across the Forrest Hills T station and I always had helped them with their computer stuff and other things. They really helped me out during this time, setting food aside for me at the end of their day and told me to come by when they closed so I could eat. I don’t think I could have managed without the generosity of some of my friends. But giving up was not an option for me.
The harsh winter of 2002 came to an end and spring and summer looked promising as I had put together a solo band to support my music and also a short-term employment at Berklee’s Guitar Session Program as an ensemble instructor….but that’s another Blog entry.
Thank you for reading and I hope this gives you inspiration and positive motivation to deal with life and events. Feel free to comment, share or just email me at email@example.com
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