What sets good musicians apart from great musicians? Why do some musicians have to constantly be making calls for work while others receive them? The answer is personality. On April 5th, three successful alumni graced Berklee with their charming and humble personalities. The three gentlemen, Bob Reynolds, Rashawn Ross and Sean Hurley, are all extremely successful musicians playing with some of the highest grossing musicians in the business. Reynolds and Hurley both perform and record with John Mayer and Ross records and performs with Dave Matthews Band.

Looking at these three gentlemen you would have no idea that they perform with megastar acts. They are down to earth, approachable people who are excited about sharing their knowledge with the next generation of professional musicians.  The Successful Careers in Music clinic was a hit, with over 50 students in attendance. The students asked great questions and the guys hit on points that most students don’t think about. When it comes to music, they brought out the less is more philosophy that many musicians often forget. “Being a session player is all about making the person you’re recording for sound great,” one of the very important reasons why these three gentlemen get called again and again for sessions.

They also touched upon why they get calls versus other players. “You really have to do your homework,” Reynolds said, “If you’re not prepared, you’re not going to get called back.” Walking into a rehearsal or a session without even listening to the music ahead of time could prove detrimental to your career. They all stressed that it’s not always the most talented guy in the room who gets the gig. It’s the one who did their homework and knows how to make the artist sound good.

The guys also had lots of great “on the road” stories to share with the students. Reynolds recalled seeing a band play and the noticed a new bass player. “When I approached the band leader about why he went with that guy and not someone else he said, ‘you’re only on stage one hour a day.” That gets back to the main theme of the conversation – personality. In order to get the gig, you have to be the whole package. You have to be able to pull your weight on stage but also be the kind of person that everyone can be around while on tour.

Overall, the students took away lots of great information from these guys. They were down to earth and humble and even played a 2-hour set in Café 939 featuring Berklee students on keys, guitar and drum set.

A short interview with the guys is on YouTube. You can view more interviews by subscribing to Berklee Alumni’s Youtube Channel.