Enrolling in GTCC's music program paying early dividends for student's career

Published on: February 22, 2022
Jordan Pickett plays a guitar.
Performer Jordan Pickett hadn't planned on college, but now GTCC is a vital part of his music career.

For a few years, Jordan Pickett dreamed of being a country music performer. The stage would be his office, the road his home.

Along the way though, he realized he needed a backup plan. That plan led him to Guilford Technical Community College's music program.

"Going through high school, I told myself I'd never go to college, but it's funny ... I had a friend that had gone to GTCC, and he knew some people in the music department. He told me how great the music program was," Pickett recalled. "I didn't really know then exactly where I wanted to go in music, but I took a look and thought if music is what I want, why not go to a school with a good music program?

"A lot of people told me what a good music program GTCC had and boy, were they right. It is awesome."

It was a good decision for the 19-year-old native of Silk Hope, a little hamlet in Chatham County about 50 miles from GTCC's Jamestown campus. His country/gospel career continues to gain traction as he learns a side of music he knew nothing of, but which has become important to him.

"I learned to swim in the deep end but never learned in the shallow end," Pickett said of his venture into professional music. "I'm learning things now that I needed for the beginning of my journey. I'm learning to read music, learning the things I needed to do."

Pickett began playing the guitar early in high school but had never played in front of a crowd and had never written a song until he was moved by the death of his grandfather in 2016.

"My grandfather passed away on a Thursday. I wrote a song that night, 'I Will Never Forget You,' and played it at his funeral on Saturday," Pickett said. "That definitely gave me some confidence. My family and I found out I could somewhat sing and play.

"That's when I discovered I could write songs, too, and that music was a good outlet for my emotions. If I got mad, I would write a song about it; if I was happy, I would write about that."

It was some time before Pickett played publicly again, but with lots of encouragement from his dad, he began looking for appearances that paid.

"One of my very first paid gigs was at The Pittsboro Roadhouse. It was great. I had people that I hadn't seen in a while to come out to specifically hear me. That meant a lot to me."

It hasn't been easy launching a singing career during the restrictions brought on by COVID-19 the past two years, but Pickett says he's averaged two-to-three shows a month during that time. And he's had plenty of other projects to keep him busy. He has recorded and released several of his songs that have received radio airplay, including two original Christmas songs. He also has released a Christian/gospel album, "Finding My Way."

"I wouldn't say music is my job because it's fun, but I don't have a regular job outside of school and music," Pickett said. "It's school, music, and meeting people, booking gigs, writing songs, and learning songs."

Though he's just a semester into GTCC's music curriculum, it's already paying dividends in his performances.

"I've learned things about microphone technique and how audio works and that has helped in the way I set up for my own shows. Learning how it all works has been very beneficial; learning about stage presence … there are so many things I've learned at GTCC and implemented in my performance."

Pickett figures he has the best of both worlds: live performances on a regular basis and classroom work at GTCC to bolster those performances. Regardless of what the future holds, he believes it will revolve around music and GTCC will have been a big part of it.

"I think about my future all the time. My heart is here at home and wants to hang out right here, but sometimes my brain says you have to go to Nashville," Pickett said. "Going to GTCC has inspired me to maybe be a music teacher. That's kind of the other half of what I think about. If I don't make it in Nashville, what am I going to do? That's why going to GTCC is so important."

For more information on GTCC's Entertainment Technology Program, visit https://www.gtcc.edu/academics/academic-programs/programs/arts-entertainment-and-design/entertainment-technology.php.

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