A special event will take place at St. Petersburg College’s historic concert venue, The Palladium, on Monday, March 19. Famed six-time Grammy Award winning recording artist, Billy Joel, will give a lecture, field questions from students, and even play a little music. Joel comes to St. Petersburg College as part of a recent nationwide tour to promote music education. Joel is particularly interested in making himself accessible in this way to music students, which is why his tour has been limited to schools with music programs, his venues small and intimate.
On Saturday, March 3rd, students, faculty, and staff stood in line next to one another for a chance to see Billy Joel for $16.50. That’s right $16.50! Tickets sold out in hours of the doors opening around 9am that day. Not surprising for a man who still sells out large arena and concert halls around the world.
It is speculated that the reason Billy Joel chose the Palladium and SPC as a stop on his tour is because of the Music Industry and Recording Arts (MIRA) program. MIRA is a unique program, which educates students in music production and contemporary music. Students study subjects such as: Music Technology, Critical Listening, Legal Issues for the Musician, Audio Broadcasting Foundations, Songwriting, Audio Engineering Foundations, Contemporary Music Theory and Ear Training, R&B Ensemble, Rock Ensemble, Laptop & Electronic Arts Ensemble, Live Sound Reinforcement, Fundamentals of Music, Film Scoring, ProTools Certification, and the list grows each semester. These subjects impart knowledge about industry standards and requires students to work both as soloists and collaborators in creative projects which apply knowledge gained in lecture. For example, a student attends a lecture about delay on Monday, where he or she learns about the science, history, as well as theoretical and practical uses of delay. On Thursday, the student works with other classmates in a professional studio setting to record their classmates playing a song requiring the use of delay. Another thing making the program unique is every professor involved in lecturing has years of experience in the commercial music industry. Motivating the students through present and past work, these professors are still involved in the music industry. A student can catch his or her professors regularly playing gigs in and around the area or in the production credits on a popular new record. Now how’s that for inspiring?
It is expected that Billy Joel will have at least a similar effect on both students and faculty involved in music. For those who are not professional or aspiring musicians one can expect to see a great show with an cozy feeling.
Billy Joel, has enjoyed a prodigious illustrious and chart topping career spanning over three decades. Not too shabby for a man who did not graduate from high school (until almost 25 years after he left) or attend college (Joel is the recipient of several honorary doctoral degrees). Joel, a pianist and vocalist, is also the first non-classical musician to ever have a portait displayed in Steinway Hall. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Joel is one of the best-selling recording artists in the world.
No cameras or recording devices will be allowed in the hall for the event so do bring a pen and paper. Who knows you may learn something… and one thing is for certain… most of us may never have a chance such as this one ever again.