Alum uses education to pursue music career, dreams
Many musicians dream of touring other countries and performing with different bands. For one South Plains College alum, this dream is a reality.
Aaron Smith, a SPC alum with a passion for music, has achieved many milestones throughout his part-time music career. Working as a welder during the day, Smith uses his free time to improve his music abilities and to experience the eventful life of a musician.
His achievements include touring Europe and performing with different local bands and musicians, such as Everything Is Sad and Slow Relics.
Smith, a Levelland native, was always exposed to music growing up with his family and was impacted by this exposure long before attending SPC.
“I kind of just always grew up around music,” said Smith. “Between my dad and grandpa playing in the church band, and always having music in the house, it was kind of impossible not to become infatuated.”
His family is one influence that Smith mentioned has always been there for him. He described how his family would help him by doing many things, such as driving him and his music gear to the shows he performed in when he was a kid.
“We always did, and still do, everything together,” said Smith. “My parents and sister rule.”
After graduating from Levelland High School, Smith continued to pursue his passion for music when he attended SPC from 2006 to 2009. Smith says his time at SPC was filled with its fair share of uncertainty, hard work, and excitement.
When attending SPC, Smith was not sure where to focus his efforts. But his love for music was a driving factor that swayed his focus.
“I had a hard time figuring out what to study,” Smith said, “because I basically wanted to study it all. But my main focus was in Music Education and Political Science.”
Despite his uncertainty toward what to study, Smith still enjoyed attending SPC. The campus atmosphere was peaceful, and his work load kept him engaged, especially when he became a music major.
“My work load seemed relaxed until I became a music major,” said Smith. “Being a music major isn’t for the faint of heart. I can still smell those practice rooms.”
Regardless of the heavy workload, Smith described his professors as being a huge help when he was faced with a problem.
“The professors were approachable and always ready to be a mentor,” said Smith.
Throughout his education at SPC, Smith has received many opportunities to experience things that will aid him in his music endeavors. Smith described SPC as an engaging environment which allowed him to excel within his field of study.
The musical skills and social connections Smith developed at SPC are a few benefits that he mentioned to have impacted his journey in music.
“SPC refined my ear and mechanics,” said Smith. “But the biggest impact has probably been the network of people I met at SPC.”
This network of people who impacted Smith had a diverse set of skills that helped him become acquainted with different areas of the music industry.
“I’ve met other musicians, sound tech guys, writers that I still gladly work with today,” said Smith.
The music education, worthwhile relationships, and compassionate professors were all influences that Smith carried with him throughout his music journey. Smith says these college experiences were influential in directing him toward fulfilling his passion for music.
However, his pursuit of his passion was not without some challenges. There were moments of failure and resignation that occurred when he tried to look for different gigs in other parts of Texas.
“I moved from Levelland to Houston for a couple of years,” recalls Smith. “I tried and failed to get into any scene over there, so I kind of just let go of playing. I moved back, and it seems like I just fell into it again.”
The experiences gained from SPC and the slight failures are things that Smith mentioned that influenced his path in the music industry. His time at SPC gave him the skills and connections to satisfy his passion and to gain many achievements.
Smith explained that he has reached many milestones in his journey, and that some of them gave him certain opportunities to stand out as a music artist. Some performances allowed him to delve into different techniques.
“I got to open some of the shows on tour acoustically,” said Smith.
Smith mentioned that these types of shows were “amazing,” as he was able mix up his approach and do things that he does not normally do in a typical performance.
“I like being able to play different styles and different instruments,” said Smith.
The opportunity to expand his music abilities is one benefit of performing with different local artists. Playing bass for Everything Is Sad and playing drums for Slow Relics and Daniel Payne, a local musician, are the many opportunities that Smith gets to display his multiple music talents.
Yet none of these milestones compares to performing in a tour across Europe. According to Smith, traveling to Europe was the one milestone that stands out from the rest.
“Touring Europe is definitely the biggest milestone for me musically,” said Smith.
Throughout every aspect of his life, Smith has displayed a deep passion for music. His education and childhood are just a few things that Smith mentioned to be major contributors in achieving his music goals.
“Honestly, it’s because of the SPC network of people,” Smith explained as the main reason for his achievements. “I dreamed it, but I didn’t think I would be able to do it.”