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Just before receiving his degree, Berklee College of Music graduate Wing Ching Poon (left) of Edmonton, Canada, takes a selfie with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who was the commencement speaker and received an honorary doctorate from the Boston school on May 10. 2014.(Photo: Winslow Townson, AP)
That's exactly what happened when Berklee College of Music's graduating class donned their caps and gowns in Boston today, as Jimmy Page, rock legend and Led Zeppelin guitar hero, offered his hard earned advice to Berklee's nearly 900 degree toting musicians at Agganis Arena.
and rock chops he honed as he embarked on a musical education of sorts of his own. He emphasized the importance of technique and music theory, joking that he had to learn to read music to stay employed as a session musician.
inspires Berklee grads
"Music has so much power across so many avenues," he said. "To be in a position where you've done the thing that you're pretty much best at, which is making music, and bringing joy and pleasure to other people, it can't really be much better than that, can Fendi Clutch Peekaboo it? I pass that on to all of you."
Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page speaks during the commencement of the Berklee College of Music in Boston on May 10, 2014. Page was awarded an honorary doctorate.(Photo: Winslow Townson, AP)
BOSTON It's one thing to perform a handful of Led Zeppelin tunes in concert on the eve of your college graduation. It's another to wail through them with the man who wrote some of the most iconic riffs in rock 'n' roll beaming at you the entire time, and for him to discard his prepared speech at commencement the next morning because he was so moved by the interpretation of his music.
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"I have to be perfectly honest with you all: I'm sort of self taught," he said. "Not such a bad thing, because I learned from records and trying to interpret playing my guitar heroes from there. Along the way, I became a session musician. Those days, when I had to go in and have enough discipline to play because, boy, if you made mistakes, you wouldn't be seen again I was in this old sort of studio for two and a half years playing a whole manner of things, from TV jingles to soundtracks to filler music for Goldfinger, to The Kinks. I mean, it was a really wonderful, colorful role I was playing.
When Berklee President Roger H. Brown presented Page and the other honorees with their doctorates, Page was visibly bashful as he chuckled through his introduction, which boasted several accolades and a This Is Spinal Tap reference or two. He was humbled and elated upon receiving his distinction and had nothing but superlatives of his own to dole out to Berklee's class of 2014.
Keeping it short and sweet, Page reflected on his pre Zeppelin days after gushing about the commencement concert, making note of the eclectic array of music he was able to work with in the studio as a hired hand Fendi Monster Shoulder Bag
Page also was awarded an honorary music doctorate from Berklee, alongside R songwriting great Valerie Simpson and jazz impresarios Geri Allen and Thara Memory. Berklee students paid tribute to their most revered works in concert Friday night as a kickoff to commencement weekend, with Simpson, Allen and Memory joining Berklee's best onstage. Page sat out the performance portion of the program, but the exquisitely curated set which featured a reworked rendition of Kashmir and a dizzying medley of Stairway to Heaven, Dazed and Confused and Whole Lotta Love, among other picks left a lasting impression on him.
"I've got something here which could be reasonably called a speech," laughed Page, 70, gesturing to his neatly arranged script before opting to deliver Berklee's commencement address straight from the heart. "After the experience of listening to the concert last night, this speech is rendered useless. So here I am; I'm a sort of busking musician trying to busk my Fendi East West Tote
"There were serious competitors there. Everyone was fluent with their music reading. I had to come on very, very quickly in leaps and bounds, and it was quite a sort of pressurized moment. I just wanted to give you that little bit of empathy and understanding, how music reading is a major part of it. Once you can read, you can write it down, and for me, that was really quite an asset."
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