Professor at Miami Dade
academics

Ed Calle

Ed CalleThere's no question that music is one of the great passions of saxophonist and MDC Professor Ed Calle. A multiple Grammy nominee and one of the most recorded saxophonists in history, Calle has performed with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Arturo Sandoval, recorded numerous albums of his own, and plays his heart out year round in shows on and off campus. He founded Jazz Under the Stars, an event that draws hundreds of people to MDC's Kendall Campus every year for stellar performances by famous jazz artists.

He's been there, done that and happy to share his know-how. But what really makes him a hit with music students? He sets them up for success by teaching them how to actually make a living doing what they love most.

Life Lessons

"Music is a very challenging business," said Calle. "Knowing how to navigate it is so important if you're trying to work professionally. The business of music is very different from the art of music." As with any art form, being a good musician is usually not enough to be a successful one. "The 21st century artist is someone who has to supplement their income - even at the top level," said Calle. "We all are faced with the reality that, to pursue our dreams, we have to work a little harder."

How does he get the message across to students? Among other courses, Calle teaches Music Business, preparing students for the real world.

"Young people need to know it's about being very sound at your craft while still knowing what's needed in a global economy that demands technological skills," said Calle, who has appeared on more than 600 recordings, movie scores and other works himself. "We strive to empower students to record a commercial on a Monday and make some music for a video game on a Tuesday."

This practical outlook has saved many a student from "Starving Artist Syndrome," an unnecessary but long-perpetuated belief that "true" artists must do no work other than their art, even if it thrusts them into poverty.

Simple Equation

Perhaps Calle's logical strengths are helped by his other academic love: mathematics. "To me, it's one of the most beautiful art forms," he said. "Everything in math really is an image, a frequency, a pitch. It's a very practical, beautiful art form."

The connection between music and math is well known and a natural fit, attests Calle, who, aside from a PhD in educational leadership and a master's degree in jazz performance, has a bachelor's in math. "The way the brain processes information, it's really the same chip," he said. "You see it with Newton, Kepler, Einstein - the great mathematicians have been master musicians and people who were passionate about music."

Making It Happen

At MDC's North Campus, where he chairs the Department of Arts & Philosophy, Calle and his faculty put practicality in motion with a world-class recording studio, filmscoring orchestra, chamber music series, big band, piano series and the Miami International Festival of the Arts, which launched this past spring with 54 events packed into four exhilarating days.

"It's all about helping people achieve what they want to do," said Calle. "If I can have a positive impact and support the arts, that's the fun part."

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