Interview with Caleb Chapman, Part 2 of 2

Welcome back to part 2 of Caleb Chapman’s story.  I hope you enjoy AND become inspired to achieve your goals and never give up.

Caleb Chapman grew up in Derry, New Hampshire (a town about an hour north of Boston).  As a young boy, Caleb was absolutely NOT into music.  He said that he was a stereotypical athlete who loved anything with a ball and wanted nothing to do with music.  His parents were not extremely muscial, so let’s just say that music was not a big part of his early life.  However, in the 4th grade Caleb signed up for a band class (in order to get out of another class) and decided to play the saxophone because the band director told him that his lips were too big to play it.  He didn’t enjoy the band experience and was even more upset when his mom signed him up for a music camp.  Somehow his mom convinced him to attend and that is when everything changed.

Caleb said that his mind and eyes were opened during that camp.  He realized that music can not only be a lot of fun but can be very diverse.  He loved the fact that he could play rock, pop, jazz, etc.  As a result of this camp Caleb began to practice and excel.  Although Caleb’s family frequently struggled with having enough money and had to experience the challenges that come with long-term unemployment, Caleb said that his parents always made the necessary sacrifices to provide continuous private lessons and other musical opportunities.

Some Important Lessons:

  1. You don’t know what you are good at until you try it.  Imagine if Caleb had never given music a chance?  That most definitely would have been devastating.  Therefore, experimenting with a wide range of things is a great idea.  Listen to the people around you who know you the best.  They many change your life, just like Caleb’s mom did by signing him up for the music camp.
  2. Parenthood is one of the most, if not the most, important position we can find ourselves in.  Caleb’s parents, through their support of Caleb, have essentially made Caleb’s profession possible and allowed for thousands of young musicians to have life changing experiences.  To those mothers and fathers out there who think their impact on their children is small, think again.  All of the good (and unfortunately, the bad), can be magnified in the lives of your children and grandchildren for many years to come.

In 1991, after high school, Caleb moved across the country to study music with Dr. Ray Smith at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  However, Caleb was more interested in business than he was in pursuing a professional music career.  Throughout Caleb’s experience at BYU he started a software business and continued to study music.  In 1998, Caleb’s wife encouraged him to start a music school.  Caleb thought that she was completely crazy; however, he agreed with her.

In November 1998, Caleb opened his first school of music.  By 2003 they had grown significantly and attracted interest from a venture capital firm.  Caleb raised $4.5 million, moved into a multimillion dollar facility and his business really started to explode.  Life was good, until… one day in 2008, when Caleb received a phone call from his investors informing him that they were going to shut down his music school.  As you may know, 2008 was the beginning of our most recent recession and this particular investment firm had other investments (that they thought were more important) that were struggling and they needed to provide more time and money to them.  The following Monday, the doors to Caleb’s music school were chained up and almost everything was sold.  Caleb was officially unemployed by the business that he had started.

Caleb had two options, 1) let this completely destroy his career or 2) dig in, look up, work hard, and never give up.  He chose the second one.  Caleb was able to find some office space at Thanksgiving Point and was given permission to rehearse his bands in the shed that housed the lawn mowers for the Thanksgiving Point Golf Course.  Caleb went from a multimillion dollar music facility to a golf course shed…. Can you say, “Humbling?”  Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse pushed through that period and now enjoys a fantastic facility back on Main Street in American Fork.

One More Important Lesson:

3. As I sat in Caleb’s office listening to this story I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Talk about major hurdle, brick wall, obstacle, whatever you want to call it.  I don’t know what I would have done.  I hope that I would have persevered like Caleb.  My invitation to you is, next time you are going through a trial, remember this story and let it inspire you.  Human beings are capable of accomplishing amazing things.  Reflect on some advice from the late Steve Jobs.  The amazingness of the world around us has been created by people, just like me and you, and YOU can be one of those people to accomplish something extraordinary.  Go for it!

I hope you enjoyed the article.  Feel free to share any comments or stories of people who inspired you.  Thanks!