No Strings Attached: Encouraging Expression Through Music Production
Steve Bilodeau found his way to Fessenden by chance. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2015, he joined Fessenden as a private guitar lesson instructor. As an artist having just graduated from music school, Steve said teaching wasn't necessarily his plan, but he decided to give it a try. Little did he know, he'd love working with young musicians and would make an impact on the music department at Fessenden.
Born and raised in Canada, Steve played hockey as a child and recalls being laced up on the ice when he realized the power of music. He recalls, "Whenever the coaches would put music on during practice I would play better. It pumped me up and got me moving." His father even joked that he needed a helmet with headphones to stand out on the ice.
Steve began playing piano at the young age of eight, but admits to quickly growing tired of his classical training. And so, he ditched the keys for an old six string and picked up his first guitar at age 12. He notes, "I was into punk rock at the time." After playing four-to-five hours a day, Steve joined his first band, ForNever, at age 13. Today he laughs, "it was pretty much the worst band name ever."
With a diverse mix of influences including Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, John Col-trane, Miles Davis, Kendrick Lamar, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan, Steve has established an eclectic style of his own. In recent years, he taught himself about music production and beat making. "Many people are surprised to learn that I'm a huge hip-hop lover," he shares. "It started out as something I did for fun; I never anticipated it would be something that would actually help me make a living." Steve recently signed a publishing deal with a company that places music in TV shows and advertisements, and he has even produced tracks for some local rappers and singers. "There's no line between what I do for fun and what I do for work; I love music and that's all I want to do."
Steve has brought his passion for the guitar and digital music production to Fessenden. "The Ciongoli Center for Innovation is one of the coolest things about Fessy," Steve exclaims. While he loves private instruction and helping students discover their own musical passions, he also teaches boys that there are other ways to make music. "Music production is becoming more and more popular and it is infinitely more accessible to the average person now than it was 20 years ago. Today, you can make professional-sounding music with equipment that costs a few hundred dollars."
Steve's goal is to inspire students to unearth their love of music, regardless of the medium. He explains, "Whether you're playing an instrument or making music on a computer, if you're creating something then you are expressing yourself. I honestly believe that the world would be a better place if more of us engaged meaningfully with music."