Tom Corkran “I’ve actually found my best teachers in the night classes at the Academy. Plus, I have the freedom to practice my music all day long.”

Tom Corkran is a gifted guitar player and graduate of the Berkeley School of Music in Boston. But even with a degree from that prestigious school, Tom has found that there’s no sure thing about the ‘money thing’ for a musician.

“I play in cafes around the Westside and Hollywood, but a dependable income is always elusive. So I’m discovering the rewards that studying Graphic Design offers,” says Tom. “I actually worked a bit in the field before coming to SMC, but it was mostly designing junk mail that people were just going to throw out anyway. With what I’m learning now,” he continues, “I’m really expanding my skills to the point where, when I need steady money to support my music, I’ll be able to find it.”

Tom states that the study of graphic arts and music complement each other in numerous ways. “First, I’m already doing all the graphics for my CDs, tapes, and flyers. And this actually influences the kind of music I compose,” he says. “But I’m also a very visual person, and I take a lot of satisfaction from being able to design things of beauty and watch my skills grow. I feel that being well paid to do respectable work is a lot better than trying to support my musicianship by working at a fast-food restaurant. And at the Academy,” he adds, “I’ve found a lot of very bright teachers who couldn’t agree with me more.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.