By SAE Institute
You may have heard by now that March is Women’s History Month – a time we recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history. In honor of this occasion, we’re putting the spotlight on some of our very own women instructors who are not only making a difference in our classrooms, but also in our communities.
This week, we caught up with SAE Institute Nashville Audio Instructor Lisa Kacos, whose passion for music and commitment to her craft is positively reflected throughout her teaching. Join us as we discuss her background and career, and the advice she has for other women who are interested in pursuing a career in the music industry.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WORK IN MUSIC?
Music became part of my life when I chose to play the trumpet in 6th grade band. I loved playing music and knew I wanted to be a professional musician, so I decided to major in music in college. During that time I learned piano and ukulele and would sneak into the percussion studio to play the drum kit. I met and joined a rock band called Outer Vibe, and I still play music with those guys. We were always a DIY blue collar band – we made our own records, booked our own tours, drove our own van and trailer, etc. We worked hard and played harder. We have played over 1,000 shows together and the band lifestyle will probably always be in my blood.
While in college, especially grad school, I had some fantastic mentors who led by example in the importance of putting your head down and getting to work. They supported my rock music endeavors and encouraged me to be myself, and that meant a lot to me. There have been times in my life I’ve felt like I had to change who I was to try to fit in, and now I know better. I think there are a lot of people out there who need to be reminded of that.
WHAT HAS BEEN A HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER?
I started teaching music theory at SAE Institute Nashville in January 2020, and halfway through my first semester, COVID-19 changed things for the whole world. In learning to teach online for SAE Institute, I found myself connecting with songwriting and audio communities such as Thinking Outside the Blocks and Omni Sound Project. I started teaching virtual production and music theory workshops with these groups, and in doing so I have met and befriended some of the most wonderful people. It’s given me something to look forward to during an unpredictable time, and I am so looking forward to meeting/seeing everyone in person someday!
Another highlight has been volunteering for Southern Girls Rock Camp through YEAH! (Youth Empowerment through Arts & Humanities) here in Nashville. I wish something like that had existed when I was getting started in music!
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE BENEFITS OF FORMAL EDUCATION IN THIS FIELD?
Having a schedule and building good time management habits. Setting goals and seeing them through. Mentorship. Meeting like-minded people and forming genuine relationships that have the potential to become collaborations and partnerships.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE CONSIDERING PURSUING A CAREER IN MUSIC?
It’s not about being the best (someone else is always better), it’s about being YOUR best. Know your strengths and use them to your advantage, and be willing to learn how to improve your weaknesses. Other people will tell you what to do if you let them, so be selective of who you take career and life advice from. Things won’t always be fair – don’t expect them to be. Humility goes a long way, and respect is a two-way street.
WHAT ARTISTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The latest album by The Foo Fighters. The “One Mic and Drum” album by my favorite drummer Daru Jones and Bobby J from Rockaway. Katy Perry, Phantogram, Joni Mitchell, and old school hip hop records like Madvillainy and The Jungle Brothers.