Skyping with a Justin Bieber and Drake musical collaborator

Introduction to music industry arts students had an opportunity to learn about their future careers from a long-time contributor to the industry who has worked with artists like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Fifi Dobson and Drake. Dan Kanter, a performance coach and studio musician, Skyped into a Feb.18 class, offering life advice and fielding questions […]
Photo: Douglas Boyle
Students of introduction to music industry arts Skype with production coach Dan Kanter

Introduction to music industry arts students had an opportunity to learn about their future careers from a long-time contributor to the industry who has worked with artists like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Fifi Dobson and Drake.

Dan Kanter, a performance coach and studio musician, Skyped into a Feb.18 class, offering life advice and fielding questions from the next generation of performance artists and production specialists. Kanter used his real world experiences to convey what it is like to work in the music industry.

When Michael Wood, an introduction to music industry arts professor, applied for the position thirteen years ago, he was asked what he could bring to the table. Using his lifelong connections to the music industry to Skype in big names, he offered the program a way to show the students where their education can take them.

“This was a cutting-edge tool thirteen years ago,” said Wood about Skype. “It brings the industry into the classroom.”

Avery More, a first-year music industry arts student, was quick to point out the value of the experience.

“It gives us insight into the field without taking a blind guess for yourself,” said More. “Industry professionals have learned, and they can pass that along to us.”

Kanter occupied the two projector screens at the front of the class. After a brief introduction to who he is and his career accolades, the floor was opened for students to ask whatever questions they had about his life, the industry and what it’s like working with celebrities.

Kanter’s own story began when he was randomly passed a flyer outside an Ozzy Osbourne concert when he was still in school.

A Canadian artist, Fifi Dobson, was looking for a studio musician to play guitar. After responding to the ad, Kanter landed the job. This began his career as a musician in the Canadian pop scene. He eventually moved on to act as a performance coach.

Eventually, Dobson was dropped by her label but by this time Kanter had made his mark on the scene. When an emerging artist named Justin Bieber was seeking a young-looking guitarist, Kanter fit the role perfectly.

“It was a lot of luck,” said Kanter. “But also, skill. I worked hard [for Dobson] and left an impression with my connections.”

The students of music industry arts will be observing the production effort for an upcoming April Wine concert.

Wood hopes to Skype in Lars Ulrich from Metallica in March.

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