Douglas College music student Antonio Larosa holding guitar

Fine-tuning his passion into a profession

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communication

Photo by David Denofreo

As a high school graduate, singer, songwriter and guitarist, Antonio Larosa had never considered a career as a musician. He studied acting and even tried accounting and architecture. Eventually, he turned to music and completed the Basic Musicianship Program at Douglas College to tune his passion into a career.

The Burnaby musician is currently in the process of recording a six-song EP while performing across the Lower Mainland. “I loved to play music, however, I never thought of it as a feasible career,” says Antonio. “I took some time to figure out that if you love something, and you are passionate about it, you can make it work.”

Antonio worked on getting a strong foundation in reading and writing music, and learned the core basics of how everything fits together. “Douglas laid the foundation of my career as a musician,” says Antonio. “Theory, scales, practice techniques and practice regiment are skills that I believe every musician needs in his toolbox. The program teaches you how to take that knowledge to the next level. It’s a traditional way of learning, which I think is the best way of learning the fundamentals of music.”

“Whether it’s teaching music or giving a live performance, you need to know the basics. I believe the Basic Musicianship program at Douglas can open up careers in teaching, studio recording, live performance, composition and music therapy. This is the best program to be in when you have little to no music knowledge to get you on your feet for the future.”

At Douglas, Antonio also sang in the community choir and networking with musicians by going to live, weekly performances by experienced musicians. “It’s very inspiring,” says Antonio who recommends local open mic nights to get a taste of performing live. “Learning to sing with others and performing with others is a very key piece to working as a musician.”  

These experiences helped Antonio perform with 11 other musicians in a show called “Bailamos!” which took place at the Empire Theatre in Belleville, Ontario, and aired on PBS in North America.

Antonio Larosa with Marc Devigne (centre) and Michael Daniel Murphy (right) at Bailamos 2016.

Working as a musician is challenging – expressing emotion in a song takes years of practice. There is also a marketing and entrepreneurial side to the profession that a musician has to learn to manage. “Social media is cool if you learn to harness it and use it to your advantage. It can be daunting to expose yourself so much, but it has definitely become a necessary part of this industry. 

“I’m striving to get to the point where I can just play or sing what I am thinking, musically. If you are doing your best, that’s all you can do!” says the up-and-coming musician who believes in enjoying his musical journey and staying focused on his career.  

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