Life Tips #11: Rob Cowan, Music School CEO

1. Play the right tunes, in the right order. Ultimately that’s all there is to being a DJ. But being …

Rob Cowan with DJ Carl Cox
1. Play the right tunes, in the right order. Ultimately that’s all there is to being a DJ. But being responsible for creating mood in this way requires huge sensitivity to how music makes people feel.

2. You can always reinvent yourself, often unintentionally. I’m on my fourth career. I started as bass player who got a record deal, then moved to the recording side, working in a studio. Next I had my own studio and suddenly I’m a businessman. Now I’m running a whole college. There wasn’t a plan, but I didn’t let an opportunity pass without grabbing it.

3. Don’t be dismissive of any technology. That’s the easy option now it all moves so fast, but you need to embrace change or get scarily left behind. That’s as true for a musician, a shopkeeper or a school.


4. We’re going back in time. Computers are bringing things full circle. Initially they made studio kit redundant, but today’s software controllers are very tactile again. Technology has caught up with what we always wanted it to do creatively and now we’re back to the integrated hands-on feel of the early dub reggae artists, using the whole studio as an instrument.

5. London never, ever stops becoming more desirable. We chose Hoxton for Point Blank because it was central and affordable. A decade later and Islington has encroached a lot closer. Students just want to feel part of the city, even if they do that by taking an online video course from their bedroom in Kuala Lumpur.

6. Surround yourself with switched on people. A whole range of them. That way you really can know it all.

7. Instruments of all kinds are just facilitators. Studying music is a means to an end, to master something to the point where it doesn’t get in the way anymore. Then the process really begins.

Interview: Tom Kihl


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