TDBS Producer and CaptainU Sales Director Pete Davidson joins Dan to talk about their experiences choosing the right college, what kind of resources are out there for high school students, and some of the ways CaptainU Recruiting is bringing college band recruiting into the present

Read the transcript of the podcast below.

Dan Schack (00:06):

This episode of that Dan band show is brought to you by the captain U recruiting platform powered by stack sports. Captain U is breaking into the band space to offer support to high school students who are looking to perform in band at the collegiate level with over 10 years of the recruiting industry and over 3 million student profiles created over the years, captain U has long been a leader in athlete, advocacy, and support. Now it’s time to provide that same support to band performers. Captain U creates a direct line of communication between musicians and college band directors. With the LinkedIn style profile performers can put their best foot forward with search criteria, like your position, academic info and test scores, audition videos, direct or recommendations and potential majors. Performers can directly message college directors to learn about scholarship opportunities, a university’s academic strengths, and ultimately place themselves at the right institution. If you are a high school band student looking to perform at next level, go to captain and create a free profile today takes less than five minutes and will save you time and money. And for a limited time, we are offering performers 50% off an upgraded profile by using the promo code T D BS 21. That’s right, 50% off an upgraded on captain by using the code T DBS 21 at checkout sign up on captain U gain exposure and get recruited powered by sax sports.

Dan Schack (01:37):

And we are rolling. We have special guest today on that Dan ban show. We got the man who’s general behind the camera proverbially in this internet space, but we have that Dan band shows one and only, and original producer Pete Davidson, as well as the sales director of captain U recruiting. So before I go too much into the backstory, Pete, just tell us about what you do, what you’re as well as kind of your background and how you maybe got to the place you’re at right now.

Pete Davidson (02:08):

Yeah, for sure. First of all, really, you know, exciting to be out kind of in front of everybody, all of our listeners now instead of behind the scenes. But yeah, so as far as my background you know, was really excited to be working with you Dan and, and kicking off this podcast because I grew up really fascinated by the marching arts and spent summer evenings with my dad and grandfather actually. So going back a couple generations attending drum and bugle core competition shows in a, a small high school football stadium in horn, New York, which is in Western New York about, you know, six hours outside of the city. For those, for everybody who uses the city is kind of their, their point of reference. But it’s the town where my dad grew up in and it was where I was first exposed to marching band.

Pete Davidson (02:51):

And, you know, I played a little bit of trumpet did the like fifth, sixth grade band and all that kind of stuff. Didn’t really stick with it shifted to guitar around middle school, high school, cuz that’s what I thought was cool at the time and, you know, thought that would impress people. Yeah, for sure. But you know, definitely always kind of had that draw towards the marching arts and you know, my dad and I have always connected over big scores in a movie that employ, you know, the big sounds of brass or, you know, we’ve big fans of going to the Denver center for performing arts, anytime that, you know, the Colorado symphony does. They did like a John Phillip Suza set a few years ago. And they’ve, they’ve done shows where it’s like the music of the music man. That’s one of my dad and my favorite co favorite movies of all time. So, you know, just kind of been, I guess adjacently fascinated by this world for a really long time and, and saw that as a great opportunity with, you know, the launch of this podcast to really dive in with both feet, learn about the performing arts and the, the marching industry. And yeah, it’s, it’s been a fun ride so far. But yeah, definitely, definitely very cool.

Dan Schack (03:54):

Absolutely. And I, I love that, that context and the background because we always talk, like, I think you’ve even heard in just a bunch of conversations about, you know, how insular this world is. And like, especially for me, like I’m a person that’s very interested in bringing into like a more popular space and, you know, putting out products that are popular, but can you talk to us as well? You know, just about like how do you and I connect and you know, a little bit about captain you stack and maybe about your background in sports as well.

Pete Davidson (04:23):

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been with a company called captain U for little over six years now. And we are acquired by what is now stack sports as part of, you know, this, this working towards providing kind of a one step platform or a one stop platform for any high school or even beyond athlete looking to kind of guide their process through athletics from, you know, Peewee all the way up to the pros was kind of the, the motto when we first started out. And the, the part of the tools that I currently oversee right now is a team that directly works with college coaches to help them find their recruiting classes for the following year. And the way we kind of present ourselves is we’re very similar to like a LinkedIn for high school athletics, where the athletes are the, you know, proverbial job seekers in this metaphor and the college coaches are the interviewers, right?

Pete Davidson (05:11):

And the, our database is set up so that athletes and coaches can build relationships and really get to know each other before committing, whether it be time resources, you know, just investment by either the parents and, and family or the, the collegiate teams themselves. You know, we wanna make sure that this is a good fit. And one of the real priorities at captain U is trying to place athletes you know, with programs where they’re gonna earn a degree. I mean, these are student athletes first, and that’s something we definitely take very seriously on our end. So trying to kind of guide these where I come in is trying to kind of guide these college coaches on their, their path to identifying this talent communicating with the athletes and their parents in a way that makes sense and, you know, is, is lucrative and, and I guess, valuable and builds value for both the college coach and the athletes and parents.

Pete Davidson (06:00):

And then eventually hopefully narrowing that down until we, we find the best fit for the, the perfect program for these athletes and, and putting them in a position to succeed, not just a year or two down the line, but for the rest of their lives, because getting a, a collegiate scholarship or even playing collegiate athletic is a life changing opportunity for many people. And so kind of where that brings us around to the marching band world is the general manager, a gentleman by the name of Tanner Highland, and myself kind of put our heads together and we’re, we’re picking our brains for other areas of the world that we could bring this level of sort of relationship engagement based connection to, and the marching arts for one that we felt was grossly underappreciated currently, and an area that just does not have a ton of support when it comes to recruiting and what those next steps are, you know, for, for a family.

Pete Davidson (06:53):

And, you know, through that, we brought Dan on and started this podcast. And, you know, I’ve been spearheading this kind of from the spring months into now and are looking to really engage with as many of these college band directors that we can, and just kind of provide them with a safe, secure space to be identifying key performer talent and, you know, hopefully someday even help out with like auditions and school trips and, you know, recruitment and things of that nature. So the sky’s really the limit, but without giving too much of a long-winded answer, I think that’s kind of what is a good capture of kind of what we’re looking to accomplish.

Dan Schack (07:27):

Absolutely. So it’s been super cool. You know, just learning in the field about not only what we do from an athletic standpoint, but also its relationship and, you know, differences, contrasts similarities to college band recruiting right now, we’re just focused on athletic bands. So generally ones that perform on the football field on, in halftime or on the basketball court ones that are, tend to be aligned with sports. So the athletic and the band thing, they they’re very much in tandem and the amount of visibility that any college athletic band program has, it tends to be in relationship to the level or exposure of certain teams they have, for example the George Mason university and door drum line where I’m one of the, the directors of creative director specifically came out of funding when the GMU basketball team made it to the final four, it was, it was a necessity of exposure.

Dan Schack (08:37):

And all of a sudden there was all this attention and all these eyes on that program to that exact point, there are so many college bands out there that might not have that div one football team, but they’re out there and they need players. They need members. And in our space, there’s no database, there’s no singular streamlined kind of system where I, in any competitive level, cuz as you know, like we’ve been, we’ve been talking about college band, but we also have talked extensively about DCI and WGI and wins and percussion and all the different facet, all the different levels that none of these circuits really have a place to go. When you have a member drop it’s it’s word of, we operate exclusively by word of mouth in a subterranean network that per, that has no scaffolding and has no clear orientation. It’s it’s wild west style I think is what we kind of, we label it and, and everyone knows that.

Dan Schack (09:37):

So the first place I want to go is transparency. What kind of tool captain you is in terms of providing that transparency to students? So for me, and I’ll, I’ll, I’ll end it with, this is I think we’re in a time where students need more information and if you’re not able to provide that information, they kind of can flag that and feel something out. But when I was going to college, I think you’re, you went to school very similarly, my vetting process for why I went to college and where was half hazard to be delicate about it? Considering the amount money, the amount of loans, there was nowhere for me to go, I guess I could like research the Burer website and the financial aid website, which are like reading biblical taxa, like it’s so confusing to read. So it’s like, when you think about athletics recruiting, even outside of just like general college recruiting, like what is it about athletic recruiting that it it’s, it’s more in touch with the students that they’re trying to go after and to get on their teams? Like what does that look like? Like I’d just love to hear about that from your perspective.

Pete Davidson (10:47):

Yeah, for sure. And I think you, you touched on a few different things there that, that are, I really wanna make sure that I capture. So I think first and foremost, the, the point that you made around exposure is, is very, very, because that’s a word that we throw around in our business constantly. And what we, what we mean by exposure is from a student perspective, it’s just getting your audition tape in front of as many directors as possible because you never know who could need whatever piece of the band that you potentially occupy. You never know who could need, you know, that, that wins player, that percussionist for that specific part of the drum line. So when we’re talking about exposure, that’s really what we’re referring to, is the effort to try and get these athletes as many potential conversations as possible. And from a band standpoint, I think there’s such a massive Delta between to your point, the top programs and every anybody else.

Pete Davidson (11:39):

And you know, I’m gonna have to get my LSU shout out in here somehow, but like the golden band from Tigerland down at LSU plays in front of a hundred thousand people, seven Saturday nights, every single, every single fall period. Yeah. They have that audience built in just because of the football stadium and yep. You know, that’s only football, that’s just the football home games. That’s nothing with travel. That’s nothing with basketball. So they’re already reaching an audience that I would assume just through that one particular entity goes beyond the scope of many smaller Cali marching programs just from pure exposure. So yep. What we’re looking to do both from the band director and also from the student standpoint is, is to provide some of this guide and some of the scaffolding to, to your point. And I think that’s a really great term there that you mentioned.

Pete Davidson (12:27):

And so I’ll start on the, on the director side and, and, you know, not just the collegiate director side, but the director side at large, and then I’ll kind of shift to what we can do for the actual students. So from the band director side, and, and again, this goes beyond just the collegiate conversation in, in my opinion, and you and I have been looking for new areas to explore new ways to flex this tool and just new people to engage with on the platform. But the goal here is really to provide directors with that conduit, that, that platform to distribute that information that you referenced to educate their, the students, the athletes, the performers, whatever, whoever they’re engaging with on the values, the draw, the benefits to marching, to performing with their institution and, and a captain U the, the platform is really meant as an education tool.

Pete Davidson (13:18):

It’s meant to open up a conversation. It’s not designed as a one time email blast dump system where, you know, email 5,000 people, you get six responses back and you never touch it again. It’s not designed that way. It’s designed to open up and foster an actual. So when we think about this from the director standpoint, not only being able to identify key talent, but then also to engage with it in a, in a clear concise and also secure world is just something that we find that I think is really missing from this space right now. And then shifting gears to kind of the, the student side of this. When we talk about out this from a value standpoint, as a resource, unless in, in my personal experience, I shouldn’t speak for everybody in my personal experience in talking to parents of students.

Pete Davidson (14:04):

Who’ve used captain U in the past, whether it be on the athletic side or on the band side, unless these, these students have an older sibling who has gone through recruiting within the past five to 10 years. So not, not outside of that way, I would even say the 10 year window is probably no longer apt anymore. So within the last five years, parents really are looking for resources to help guide their hand a little bit, not necessarily do the process for them by any means. And that’s not what we’re here to do either. But the idea of this scaffolding, where that if, if a student or a parent or a director in this case ever feels like they are out in the cold, spinning their wheels or uncertain about what their next step should be in the recruiting process, we wanna be the resource that they can reach out to and say, Hey, here are some things we found some success with in the past.

Pete Davidson (14:52):

Why don’t we give this a shot together? And then, you know, we provide a support system for them and kind of guide their hand through this recruiting journey. And, and we really do treat it. And that’s the term we call it internally, it’s their recruiting journey, right? Because this is not confined to days, weeks, months. This is a process that takes years for a lot of these students and their parents. So we wanna kind of be there every step of the way and, and be providing support and resources and guidance and, and help wherever appropriate and possible while providing a safe space for these students to communicate with the collegiate and out beyond programs that you know, are looking to recruit them.

Dan Schack (15:30):

So I think the context and comparison is really important here. You know, we can identify some of the mechanics that take place or lack of mechanics in the marching space. I think a good jumping off point would to be, would be rather to hear kind of what the, the average recruiting journey or process looks like for say your, your average soccer player, who is, let’s say a sophomore or junior in high school, they’re looking to go play maybe at the div two or three level. They really want to continue. They love the community that it builds. The social aspect of it is huge. They love, you know, the physical activity of it, the, the schedule and the routine, like these are all the same reasons by the way that people do college band, because there is no competitive college band. It’s not like I’m trying to get recruited to Ohio state to like win the college bowl.

Dan Schack (16:20):

Like that’s not what happens. It’s very intrinsic. It’s very cultural. It’s not, there is no trophy. So the, the, but those driving forces are very similar to like any program. That’s not gonna be the most famous, huge program. There’s only 10 of those really. And, and for soccer really, I’m not too sure of like hyper popular, you know, collegiate soccer programs as a layperson, from my perspective. So just, you know, for all the years that you’ve been doing this, like, what does it look like? I’m a sophomore, junior soccer player. I, what do I do? What are the places I go like, how do I get jump started in this recruiting process? I

Pete Davidson (16:59):

Actually love this question. I think this is a really great question because, and, and I’m unfortunately gonna be a little bit difficult because there is no simple answer. And that’s part of, I think, where captain, you can come in because recruiting on a different sport by sport basis can even be so are so different. And I love that you used soccer as an example, because for instance, in women’s youth soccer, if these athletes aren’t committed at least verbally by sophomore, junior year, they’re viewed as quote unquote behind. Now, that sounds a little crazy to me. You know, these are 16, 17 year old, you know, kids that are making these decisions. And obviously there are certain programs where like, yeah, if you’re gonna go to your dream school and they offer you as a sophomore, of course, you’re gonna sign that letter of intent.

Pete Davidson (17:42):

But, you know, that is very specific to women’s soccer, that early sort of commitment age, whereas in a, a lot of other sports, it comes very much later. So I think, you know, for that, that’s really where captain, you can provide some of that benefit. Some of that value is helping families and, and athletes navigate the nuances and the differences there. And, and we hope to bring some of that to the marching arts too, which is, you know, recruiting for collegiate marching bands, very different than recruit for drum core. We wanna try and provide sort of the, the, the balance between those two, four parents who maybe have had all of their other children go through the athletic recruiting. And now they’re trying to bring the same process to marching band, and it’s just not working because they’re two completely different worlds as you and I, I think are finding out.

Pete Davidson (18:27):

So kind of with that in mind us to, to paint the picture and to go back to your original question, the sort of average recruiting process for most high school athletes is obviously, you know, being identified at a fairly early age. You know, and that age seems to be going up earlier and earlier over year for better or worse. You know, and I think it’s, it’s anywhere, at least where we come in is encouraging athletes to kind of create this captain U account as freshman before their freshman season. So if they’re, you know, you’re a fall athlete, you should be doing it the summer before you start high school. And regardless of how good you are, if you’re at the top of your team, or if you’re a starter on, you know, varsity as, as a freshman or a, if you’re on the freshman team as a freshman start just collecting that information.

Pete Davidson (19:14):

And again, I think this can also be applied to the music arts as well, just start collecting this information and sort of build yourself your own resume, whether it be academic athletic, musically just sort of build this resume so that when it does come time to sort of promote yourself, promote your own personal brand within the recruiting space, you have this beautifully built profile to fall back on and showcase all the amazing things that you’ve done throughout your career. And so kind of the typical process is for one of our athletes is to kind of do that for the first two to three years, and then to begin and engaging with college coaches typically around the junior year. And then we’ll spend the next 18 months kind of figuring out which offers are the best negotiating, any, any scholarship offers and then signing a letter of

Dan Schack (20:02):

Commitment. Awesome. So what are some of the, let’s say we’re peeling back the curtain on the recruiting process. You know, you’re junior are in high school, you’re a senior in high school. It’s like, where do I want to go to school? Or I wanna go to this school over here, cuz it’s like, somewhere that I like, I’m gonna go to this school over here because I have friends there. So I’m gonna be have a great like social life there. What are the types of information that coaches or directors can provide to students that would motivate them to pay attention in a place where otherwise they wouldn’t have?

Pete Davidson (20:37):

Yeah, absolutely. So, and I feel uniquely positioned to speak to this directly, cuz I actually spent the first 18 months of my time at captain U locked in a proverbial broom closet channeling my inner Harry Potter and making literally thousands of phone calls to parents and athletes and just understanding what they respond to and how they communicate and what types of things are important to them when considering a university. So there’s a lot of things that directors can be, can be communicating. You know, first and foremost, I think the things that everybody starts with are always, you know, what’s it like to be a student at your university? What are the university’s goals? What are their values? You know, if they’re a faith based institution, we wanna make sure that that’s captured if you know, and, and then just the overall environment, right? We wanna make sure that these, these students coming in understand, okay, this is more of an urban setting or this is more of a rural setting or this is a pure Midwestern college town, you know, that you read about or see in the romantic movies or whatever.

Pete Davidson (21:38):

So we wanna kind of provide as much scope in of the environment for the student and sort of paint a picture of what they will feel and when attending this university for four years. And again, this goes back to kind of what I, I, a point I made earlier where we’re looking to place these students at universities where they’re gonna go the distance, they’re gonna earn a degree and we want to capture that in our engagement even very early on and, and kind of paint that picture for ’em when these students hear from this, whether it be a coach or director, they should kinda see themself walking across the, the stage four years down the line, earning a degree here, right? That’s the eventual goal for, for this process. So you know, it really comes down to, I think identifying for each program individually, what their key callouts are, whether it be facility based values based staff, you know, certain institutions have just like a rockstar staff that we wanna highlight and helping them to put their best foot forward. And again, I don’t mean this as a pure sales pitch, but that’s again where a lot of value can be brought to the table by captain you is by helping kind of craft some of that and helping directors or coaches find that voice if they’re feeling a little bit lost in the woods there.

Dan Schack (22:51):

Absolutely. So there’s a lot of students that probably are listening to this. You know, I, I think that the reality is when you are in that last half or quarter of, of high school, there’s so much going on life is changing a so rapidly. You barely, you barely really can observe all of it in a thoughtful way. You know, I mean, when I was 17, the things that I was focused on were, were not making smart financial choices. And I, I honestly that it sounds Gish, but like I wish that someone was, was helping me because the is the average student, at least that I can speak to. They don’t really know what is in store when they’re choosing the college. Sure. Those surface level things are gonna last a very short amount of time. And then the tuition is gonna become a real thing, the type of classes and class size that you’re gonna be exposed to the strength of the majors and the type of professional network you’re gonna be able to draw on in that place.

Dan Schack (24:02):

These are not things related to, and they’re not necessarily even things related to the team. Right. But when you’re making these choices, it’s like, all right, I’m about to either invest a lot of money and, or a lot of time. So if I’m gonna choose this place to play div two soccer or to, to be in the, in the basketball band or to be in the, the marching band, it can’t just be like, I want to go here because of the band and that’s it. Or I want to go here because the campus is cool. And that’s it. It’s also these other questions that no one teaches you to ask you, who is, who is telling the students, Hey, how much grant money can you get that? You’re not actually gonna be, have to, to pay back like how much, how much of that money is gonna just be given to you if you go here which institutions are gonna reward you for your academic background, more than others which are the places that are gonna spit you out into a job versus into kind of a state of confusion that that’s just, you know what I mean?

Dan Schack (25:03):

So it’s like, I, I feel like as a company and, and what we are looking to foster, what we look to create is a much clearer funnel between this is what’s really going down at this university and the student, because right now the touch points are Instagram, right? The student is on Randall. Like I wanna go to Yukon. That’s where I graduated from for undergrad, the marketing and the language. And what Yukon’s gonna be putting forth is not gonna be the full story via their Instagram. Right? Sure. You gotta dig into like more layers and figure out like, okay. Yeah. It’s like the Huskies and they have a badass women’s basketball team. And like, are you interested in being in stores, Connecticut? Do you know, do you understand what that’s going to mean? What kind of in-state tuition versus outta state? Like, you know what I’m saying? Like, yeah. It’s not a clear process. I feel like choosing college is, has been such a, for me, has been such a important part of my life because now I live with those loans. So I, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m asking a question, but I just feel like it’s not that clear. I wish that there was just a clearer way to go from point a to B and all those decisions are informed.

Pete Davidson (26:21):

First of all, one of my favorite, I guess we’ll call it like borrower questions is if you could go back in a time machine to any point to your life and live like a six month period, what would you choose? And for a long time, and, and I’ve noticed that, you know, I’ve realized that my answer probably will change as I get later into life, but for a very long time, it was second semester of high school senior year, because that was just such a fun whirlwind of a time. And to your point, I didn’t really feel like I captured it all right. Like it went by so fast and it was like, yeah, such a big end of an era. And then you’re off to this next step. And for me that was literally moving to a different state, a different part of the country.

Pete Davidson (26:58):

And, you know, having some culture shock in, in a good way. I mean, I, I went from Colorado down to Louisiana, so I got to partake in a lot of the Southern hospitality and meet dozens of beautiful hundreds of beautiful people down there. But it’s still really, it’s, it’s really intense and it can be right. And this is a very formative time for, for these students as well. And, and I really do try to think of, think of them as students first or regardless of whether they’re athletes or performers or musicians or whatever the case may be just students first. And to your point of, you know, Instagram marketing, all of those methods of distribution are gonna be through kind of rose colored classes, right? Because I mean, my Instagram feed is very carefully curated to make me look as awesome as possible as I guarantee most other peoples are too.

Pete Davidson (27:45):

Like, that’s what it’s for. Right? You put your best foot forward, you post pictures where you look at stuff like that. So how do you kind of cut through some of that and give these students and their parents that perspective on, you know, what it’s really like to be at that university. And, and I think that a lot of the coaches that I work directly with do a really good job of painting that picture for, for their, their students, their incoming freshman. And those are the students that typically go the distance and again, are in that degree and, and all that great stuff. It it’s, it’s really, in my opinion, comes down to just honest communication and opening up a channel for that honest communication. And, you know, I’ll kind of speak to this a little bit without getting too far into the weeds, but the idea of recruiting on social media makes me a little bit nervous just personally just because there’s not a ton of oversight and accountability there.

Pete Davidson (28:35):

And, and again, what we’re hoping to do is provide just a safe and secure channel for these, these students and the people looking to recruit them to communicate, and the parents have full insight, any point of communication happening within captain U. They can log into these athlete or performer profiles at any time and see exactly what’s being communicated in between parties. Any youth coaches can also access this information. So within the database, there’s full accountability, full security, and the feedback that we’re getting from both coaches and band directors a like is they really like that? They’re really encouraged by that they, they are looking for, you know, social media has been a, a, a fine recruiting tool for many years past. And I do know that coaches use it actively, and I’m not here to resource bash if that’s working for their program, then that’s awesome.

Pete Davidson (29:23):

But the feedback that we are getting is there are, there is a, a fairly significant population that enjoys the idea of having this more secure area to have those conversations. And, and I think that, you know, it’s, it’s a potentially vital service where there’s just a lot more accountability and security for everybody to feel more comfortable, because this is a really exciting and fun time for these athletes, right. And, and excuse me for athletes and performers. Again, there’s a reason I, I would love to go back and relive that six months is cuz it was really fun and really cool and, and really exciting. And, you know, probably had the most potential to look forward to in my entire life at that state, you know, because you’re old enough to realize to appreciate your future, but young enough to still have all the, you know, hopes and dreams and shoot for the stars mentality when you’re a senior in high school. So it’s just a really cool time. And, and anything we can do to provide a little bit of clarity, I think for anyone looking be recruited, do some recruiting is really where we just want find that value.

Dan Schack (30:26):

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Dan Schack (32:13):

It it’s hard to slow down when you’re 17, 18, you’re you’re either applying and getting into a bunch of schools and you know, my parents, God bless ’em, you know, they were, they were essentially like wherever you get in, you can go. And we’re gonna just take loans out. You know? So as a 17 year old, it was like, you know, I was visiting my friends down here, I’m in Philly and they were all, you know, a bunch of friends at temple and I went, came down a bunch of weekends. I was like, I’m gonna to temple. Like I love it. I love the city. Like, you know, I’m, I, I love the people that I met there. And by no means, would I ever say that I like regret that choice, but I didn’t end up finishing at temple the years that I lived in the city, it plugged me into a, an amazing network of people, but it didn’t necessarily that wasn’t my degree granting institution Yon was.

Dan Schack (33:03):

So I legitimately ended up spending 75% of my undergraduate loans are to an institution that I don’t have a degree from. And ultimately Yon is just about, at the same level as temple in some ways higher yeah, than temple, at least from what I was doing and not to mention again, like you’re talking about culture shock. We come from this world in high school where everyone’s like, making sure you get through and making sure you get buying, your teachers are like, Hey man, you’re, you know, you’re messing up and they’re like kind of up in your face. And then, you know, for me and many people you go to, you know, I don’t know about you, but you go to institution and in a 200 to 300 person lecture hall. Yep. So, you know, I started as a psych, my ma major rather psych undergrad.

Dan Schack (33:47):

My psych survey was 300 people. I got a C minus in it. It was like my best subject. And it was just like, okay, head scratch. You know, it, it was just like one of those moments where it’s like, it’s just, there’s so much flowery stuff out there about like, come here. Like you’d think that every institution is like the best place ever. What we’re trying to talk about is like the custom fit approach. So talk to me a little bit about that, like that custom fit idea, like how can directors provide the right information so that students can get the custom fit? What should students be looking for? What kind of questions can be asking, cuz that this is the world we live in now is making informed choices and finding a place that really suits you as an individual rather than just like buying into a brand that you’re actually not totally privy of what’s going on.

Pete Davidson (34:35):

I, I always tell people, well, my, obviously I went to school in the south and I always tell people that my decision to go down there was actually the best decision that my dad ever made for me because he made it very clear when I was rounding the corner senior year that, you know, even though I wanted to go to see you Boulder and you know, kind of stay close to home, that he really felt like it would be a good idea for me to experience a new culture and knowing me as well as he did obviously being my dad and, you know, we spent a lot of hours on the basketball court together. So he knew me. He knew that I would love going to school down in Louisiana. So it’s, it’s kind of funny to hear you describe your, your experience changing schools.

Pete Davidson (35:09):

And you know, I went down to LSU kind of in the back of my mind, fully intending to transfer at some point and obviously fell in love with the south and stayed down there, yada yada yada. But in order to find that perfect fit, if you don’t have someone, as I was super lucky to like my dad to just say like, Nope, this is a perfect school. You’re going here, cuz you got in and it’s amazing. How do you kind of navigate that and how do you, how do you explore that? From a, from the, the student side, I think it’s really up to the students just to have conversations usually, you know, with their parents or who who’s ever kind of guiding their, their recruitment journey, whether it’s parents, guidance, counselors, coaches, band directors, kind of whoever that mentor person resources for you have a very free think, honest conversation about what it is you want to get out of your collegiate experience.

Pete Davidson (36:00):

Do you want to go to a big school? You know, do you want to go to one of the, a D one school, whether it be on the athletic or the musical side that has, you know, that 300 person lecture hall that you referenced or would a more intimate liberal arts or smaller private school setting be a good fit for you where the class size is a little bit smaller. There’s a little bit more one to one attention. I personally went to a private Jesuit high school. So I was ready for that bigger state school environment. I’d never been to the public school and I wanted to do that in college. I wanted that, you know, kind of college town atmosphere and whether it was Boulder or Baton Rouge, I knew that’s what I wanted. And, and so that’s when kind of came down to deciding between the two schools, that those were my two decisions because I’d already outlined very clearly in my own mind, here are the things that I know are priorities.

Pete Davidson (36:47):

And then you kind of make a short list of the areas, you know, that you apply to then that you get accepted to then that you get, you know, any financial aid scholarships to, and from there, you kind of pair it down while still keeping those guiding priorities in mind, whether it’s the environment, the majors, the, you know, just reputation of the institution, a particular band or sports team that you want to compete for at the next level, whatever those priorities are, start there and then narrow your scope appropriately. And then when thinking about it from kind of the, the director side, it’s giving athletes as much information about your program as possible to try and fall into as many of those lists. You know, when we think about students creating their, their big list of schools that fit their criteria in shortening those, right, as a director, you want to deliver as much information so that you land on as many of those shortly us as possible.

Pete Davidson (37:40):

And we’ve found that the way to do that is just to communicate because there are not a lot of other in my experience, other great resources for the performing arts to just educate us as a culture on what’s going on. I mean, I’m subscribed to like the Denver center for performing arts, but I get it 10 times as many emails from like the Denver nuggets and Bronco’s ticket office as I do the D CPA. So there’s clearly a massive disconnect in the amount of resources that are being, you know, utilized for athletics and for performing arts. And we see captain U as a potential way to maybe close that gap a little bit and, you know, just provide some of the same sort of outreach and content generation resources for the performing arts as athletics has been enjoying for many years. Yeah. I love that, that, that really springboards just a couple topics that are really kind

Dan Schack (38:34):

Of prescient in the marching arts PR is just huge. We, we don’t really put enough attention to putting ourselves out there. I think there are some groups that do better than others, but it’s not the standard. Whether it is, you know, I’m more now thinking into, you know, DCI WGI, there’s different approaches to it, but certainly not to the standard and consistency of what we see both like in the individual teams or the national governing bodies in you know, NCAA sports, they’re, they’re wildly competitive. Like there’s no question that like the, you see something in those players, there’s like a hunger there that sometimes you don’t even see in some of the NBA players, for example, right. Or some NFL players, like I love watching college football, honestly more than the NFL because there’s different energy about it. And some of the technical things that maybe they haven’t achieved yet, I don’t care about, I just love that there’s so much fire behind it.

Dan Schack (39:45):

And certainly, you know, the, the different, you know, what, what just happened with like those two schools just changed divisions and this and that. There was like, there’s like a drama being played out that we all are into in the marching arts. We are, we have a little bit of a, a wavering identity in terms of like how much PR we want around ourselves. Well, it’s all about the education and it’s all about the kids. It’s all about the experience. Well, that’s all great. And it is about that. And that therefore we should use this as a PLA form to make ourselves more popular and more available. Whether it is transparency, whether it’s PR and marketing, I just don’t know that this is as critical and it’s not necessarily just an issue about money. It’s just an issue about creativity because we have these tools in our hands.

Dan Schack (40:37):

And I’ve seen groups who are like, yeah, we’re gonna commit ourselves to getting our TikTok out there. And like, they go legit viral, like viral, viral, not just viral within our space. So that’s, that’s a major difference too, is it is much easier to recruit from an athletic standpoint because football is just more popular. So like, I don’t know where to go with this. Like I think this is just something that I’m very obsessed with because I’m, I’m a person who loves pop culture. I’m a person who is into that space. I’m into like hype stuff. And I also am into this wildly niche activity. I mean, you know, we’ve been working together now for a while and it’s like, I, I love that space. I live in this space, but like, why isn’t there like a marching Jordan, right? Why isn’t there a Nike marching shoe? Like that’s where my head goes and I don’t know where it all connects, but I just feel like as an activity, I don’t know that the marching arts are like, we’re like, we’re too busy teaching and we’re too busy designing, you know? So I just, I don’t know where to go with that because I feel like that is an important part of this is just like, how do we get

Pete Davidson (41:47):

Out there? Yeah, absolutely. And, and the last thing I wanna do is, you know, obviously I’ve, hopefully at this point made it very clear that I am kind of marching band adjacent. I wouldn’t know what to do with that trumpet from fifth grade, if it smacked me over the head right now, I’m definitely not as plugged into this as the other guest on this podcast. But if anyone is interested in sort of building a voice or brand or an identity within this, I think services or, or systems like captain, you are, are great ways to go about that on an individual level or on an institutional level and, and going back and being the producer for this have obviously been part of, or at least lurking in the conversations that you’ve had so far. And, you know, a couple kind of spring to mind when, when discuss, you know, Travis, Wade all the stuff that, you know, Travis was discussing building the, the excellent sort of social media presence for the, the institutions that he worked with that was really, really great to hear.

Pete Davidson (42:46):

And then, you know, building a brand with Matt Verberg over at lot ride, I think, you know, obviously I’m a little bit biased cuz part of this podcast and they were one of our partners, but right. They seem to be at least from the exp little exposure that I’ve had one of the few within the space, that’s really trying to carve out some identity for, for the marching arts. And, and to sort of say like, Hey, we’re here. This is your gear. This is your branding. You know, this is something that you can wear around town and be proud of the, a fact that you March and, and, you know, that’s really cool and that’s something to be celebrated. So I think there’s, there’s definitely a lot of potential for that to happen. And again, I’m not here to dictate how anybody should go about it, but if anyone is interested in going about it, we are here as the support system and kind of again, the scaffolding to, by which that can happen.

Pete Davidson (43:35):

And then to kind of speak a, speak a little bit more, I guess, from a prescriptive standpoint, when I’m shifting gears and now talking about this from a purely athletic recruiting space, which I do feel like I have a little bit of authority to speak to for them, it is all about building a brand and it’s only gonna get more. So with this name in image and likeness legal legality coming through now, collegiate athletics and anything that’s athletics adjacent is about to see probably a pretty significant shakeup in that a lot of these, what were former considered amateur players performers can now be making money off of their own image and likeness, which I think is great. I think it’s awesome. Personally, I’m fully supportive of it. And I think that the more all of these young people can do to just sort of educate themselves on the benefits of, you know, engaging with particular institution, whether that be for a drum core that’s outside of college or, or a collegiate marching band, make sure that their values are aligned with yours and that, you know, whatever brand you hope to build.

Pete Davidson (44:42):

And I, I hate to use that term of like building your own personal brand because coming from the sales world, it just feels like such a sales buzzword these days. But whatever values that, that institution that university is putting forward are aligned with yours. And I would say if you can get lucky enough to find one that advances that branding or building or generation, whatever you wanna call it that’s where the real magic happens is if you can not only find an it’s institution that’s aligned with you, but they can move you and your development, your career, your education, your athletic resume, whatever it is, move that forward. That’s where you see, you know, the, the real value and, and the real learning come through.

Dan Schack (45:25):

I think that’s such a great point. There there’s a human at the end of all this. Yes, no matter what we do, like it, it doesn’t matter because there’s only so much you can do in, in life period. And yeah, go, you know, if you wanna be a robotics major and build robots, there’s plenty of choices for that. But what actually matters is who’s gonna become your like guru, who’s be gonna become like your guy or your girl, and who’s gonna that person that inspires you to, to do it your special way. And, and then, you know, sends you off into the world or who’s gonna become, you know, your grad advisor and then is gonna help you through the PhD. Like there’s, there’s more, it’s not just like, that’s it, you know? And I think once I learned about that, like my whole, my whole trajectory changed once I actually did to, you know, to spiral back in and through and out.

Dan Schack (46:19):

When I finally transferred to Yukon, I, I went to the Stanford campus, which is an offshoot campus. And it’s really small it’s way, way smaller. And the first like month or two, I was there, I was bummed. Cause I had transferred from 10. I was doing a lot of traveling cuz I was, you know, I was like marching, indoor, marching drum core. And I just didn’t need to be paying the way I was and paying for rent. So I just moved back into my parents for my last year and a half, my undergrad in the first two months there I was bummed. I was like, dude, this is like so small. And it’s just, doesn’t feel like it just doesn’t feel like how I felt, you know, those that first year or two at temple. But then I actually got into the classroom and you know, my, my my academic advisor was one person.

Dan Schack (47:04):

You know, when I went to temple, you would sit in line and then you would be in a booth with a stranger and they’d be like, yeah, do this. Like I made bad decisions, no one there was helping me. I, I didn’t know who to talk to finally going to UConn smaller institution. My, my academic advisor is also my capstone professor, which is like the last class you take. And he was another one of my professors. Like the English department was like way, way smaller. And I started to have real interactions with people and they, they oriented me a little bit about what I wanted to do and into my next phases of life. And just like, what kind of person you become, like when you’re a junior senior in, in college, just like you were talking about high school, those are, those are such important times, but you can slow down and your brain is slowing its craziness down.

Dan Schack (47:53):

And you start to pick up a little more of the bread crumbs on the way. And if I didn’t, you know, if I didn’t end up going to Yukon, like I, would’ve never probably applied and gotten into my grad program, which was funded and which I got paid to be in. I never would’ve eventually started a PhD E which I ended up not finishing for different reasons or podcasts you can listen to on which I, I speak on that. But you know, I, I finally was making those, those human connections, you know, I had never really didn’t look at temple and go like, who are the people teaching me? I was like, it’s an institution. It’s cool. Whatever. I think that’s what you’re getting at is like the soon you make that connection with that person, they can give you that insight. You’re gonna make better informed decisions on what you’re doing.

Pete Davidson (48:38):

Yeah. And so I actually have a personal experience that maybe I guess, may drive this point home that you’re you’re making. So when I did my official official visit to LSU in October of my senior year of high school, again, bear in mind that I did not want to go to LSU at this stage. Right. I was fully set on, on wanting to go to see Boulder and you know, my dad kind of had other ideas and so it went down there and was fortunate enough to have a meeting with a professor at LSU named Dr. Mary Bell D two is the resident medievalist at LSU. Oh wow. And she became my academic mentor for lack of a better term, picked me out of 28,000 other undergrads as someone that, you know, just was deserving a, a little bit more of her extra attention.

Pete Davidson (49:33):

And, you know, I, I was what at 17, 18 wandering into her office on a Tuesday afternoon during her office hours as a collegiate professor at this major, you know, power five university. And she took an hour to, you know, tell me a little bit about the classes she taught and make my parents feel very safe. And I, I do think she was a major motivating factor in kind of why my dad was like, Hey, you’re going down there. But for me, she was always kind of that person that I could go back to and say, you know, Hey professor, Dietza, I obviously want a degree in history, but like, do I have to take this algebra or, or this calculus class? And she would help me find like, no, this is what we call the math for three majors class. Like you’re, you’re in the humanities, you’re under the wing of the humanities department now, like we’ve taken you under our wing there’s there’s guidance resources here.

Pete Davidson (50:21):

So I would say, you know, when we think about navigating those waters, especially again, through this really formative time for, for these students and parents, it’s, it’s all about identifying those people, whether you’re at a school of 500 or, or 50,000, it’s all about identifying those people because no matter what at the, at, you know, at the collegiate level, these, these are all educators, they’re all teachers they’re working at these universities because they want to foster them of the youth of tomorrow. I mean, that’s kind of in the job description, right. For being a collegiate professor or a coach or a band director or whatever the case may be. So if you can just, you know, really identify that person or, or at least you know, that network of people that can kind of help provide you with a little bit of that guidance early and often, I think for me was just the key know, speaking from my personal experience and my personal story.

Pete Davidson (51:10):

Not feeling like one amongst many at a big university, like LSU lost among the masses. It was just, you know, always having, having that sort of lifeline there. And I didn’t attend classes with professor deets, all eight semesters that I was there. I was lucky enough to do like five or six, I think more often than not. I was in her classroom a few times a week and you know, kind of having some of that, but if you can just find that person, whether it be that band director, that coach, that teacher, that guidance counselor, that one individual that can kind of help provide that sort of landscape, then, you know, I, I think you got a much better shot of a feeling like a part of that community. And if not heading up through the recruiting process, that’s exactly what captain is designed to do is be that person, you know, that kind of stand in and that’s what you and I are here to do for the, the folks on the performing arts

Dan Schack (51:57):

Side. Absolutely. And I, I, to, to your point about professor deeds is frequently. If you are a high school student and you want some insight, you can email these people, you can get on the departmental website and go like, all right, like legit. Once I get into my core classes, who is gonna be yeah. The important figures and you can reach out to them and call ’em, I still do. Yeah. Send an email. Like those are real people. And that’s where the real answers are gonna come. Not really from, you know, the faceless individuals and advising, or they’re trying to, there’s a volume thing going on, or with Burr’s office. They, they need to make sure that you’re paying, but the professors are gonna be able to be like, like you just said, here are the classes you should really take. Yeah. Here, here’s the direction that you should really go. So as we kinda round year, I want to ask you, if you could go back and talk to the Pete Davidson of, let’s say like end of junior being in a senior year, what would you tell him?

Pete Davidson (53:02):

That’s a great question. Especially since, as I mentioned, I’ve spent so much, probably an inordinate amount of time examining that part of my life and be like, what could I do differently if I could do it all over again? Yeah. So I would definitely tell him to stick with basketball. You know, I, I, that was something that my dad and, and I connected over and he, he walked on at Miami of Ohio when he was doing his undergrad in Ohio, before going on to law school. So he and I have loved basketball our entire lives. And you know, it’s something that we still connect on to this day constantly calling him up and asking him if he saw that game or whatever. So I would’ve told him to stick with basketball. I would’ve told him to find a resource like captain U because, you know, I was, of course, everybody has this vision of I grew up in the Kobe Bryan era.

Pete Davidson (53:46):

So going straight from high school to the NBA at the age of 18 and being amazing. But when you play the position of power forward or center and top out at six foot, 280 pounds as a high school senior, that’s not really in the cards for you at that stage. But right. If I would’ve known that there was a system like this and, and there were, or just starting to be systems like this at the time that, you know, maybe I could have ended up playing or even just walking on, even at a D two D three school and, and, you know, wouldn’t have gotten the big collegiate experience that I was looking for, but if I would’ve reprioritized a little bit I think that’s definitely something I would’ve loved to explore as an option for me, even just to play for a year at, you know, a smaller school and then transfer into the big, you know, the big bigger university, just to be like my dad and play that one year or something. And then from there, I would’ve, I, I guess thinking, not necessarily trying to think outside the box a little bit the last thing I would leave him with is just be curious, continue being as curious as possible. You know, the next four years to be some of the best of your life, some of the most challenging in your life in a lot of ways, but you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna learn. So just try and soak up as much, as much as you possibly can.

Dan Schack (54:55):

Yeah. That’s a good one. To direct a question at myself cause I, cause I, as I feel like it and my name isn’t the title of the podcast I wish someone had grabbed me and told me that grades were money. This goes back further than that. Cause I had fudged up my grades just a little bit throughout high school cause I had some other, you know areas of focus and you know, I don’t think high school is geared to be very interesting, to be honest, not, not for, not for me. So I, would’ve definitely been like A’s are gonna be money in a couple years here when you are applying, get A’s it’s your job and it will equal actual dollars. And then, you know, related to that is like, look in state for somewhere that meets the requirements.

Dan Schack (55:47):

And like I didn’t do college band, but now looking back like that, I have a skill that would’ve kicked me back 500, a thousand, $1,500 a semester. And I was more interested, you know, I was pursuing like the competitive drum line aspect, but there was, there are all these corners where these institutions are set up to pay you if you arrive with the right credentials. And I never felt like that was made clear to me. It was like, you have all the choices in the world. It was like a very Lafa counseling process between my parents and you know, my actual school, I don’t remember talking consulting with a single person. So I definitely would’ve just made it so clear. Like, Hey, like the choices you make in public school, where, where you have no debt and you’re not paying for anything that will become tangible dollars that you make and don’t have to pay off later. So cuz I’m, I’m gonna be dealing with my undergrad debt till I’m 60 something that’s real. That is a real thing. And you know, we live in a crazy time where we actually don’t know what the future holds for the job market period. It’s so uncertain. So it’s just like, I just want students to like be informed and come out of high school and like have a clear vision of like what they’re dealing with, cuz it’s a confusing world we live then. Yeah.

Pete Davidson (57:04):

I, I mean, I, I completely, first of all, I completely agree with everything you just said. I got, I was lucky enough to receive an academic scholarship LSU and still just got done paying off my loans like this year. So I mean, it’s something that whether you have resources provided to you by the university, just understand that it’s something everybody deals with. And then I think the last point I would make is, and, and I know that this is a little bit crazy coming from the director of sales at captain U, but college isn’t for everybody. And I think especially we’re seeing a lot of alternative programs, educational programs right now, cropping up that are excellent. You know, like computer engineering, there’s a local one in Denver called tour Institute that one of my buddies has a, a liberal arts degree. He is a, he’s a double major in fine art and psychology.

Pete Davidson (57:51):

And I knew going into it that, you know, well says the guy with the history degree here too, that is working in sales so far for me to stand on my high horse by any means. But he ended up going back and, and doing that. And I had a conversation with over the weekend and I was like, so if you could have not spent $80,000 on your undergrad degree, double major that, you know, you got a 3.8 degree and then just spent the $12,000 in that computer programming thing and started your career five years earlier, what’d you do it? And for the answer for him, the answer was no, he wanted to go to college. That student loan was worth it for him. It, it just was, but that’s not the answer for everybody. So I would just encourage everybody. And, and again, this is kind of going back to what maybe I wanted, you know, told myself if I could do it all over again, chances are I’d end up right back at LSU, hopefully, you know, with my same three roommates and room 200 and Hert hall at the same scenario and just have it all pan out.

Pete Davidson (58:43):

But for every buddy, you know, I, I, it goes back to that, be curious, explore other opportunities, see what is the best fit for you? And, and at the end of the day, that’s really what I want people to take away from this conversation with me, hopefully is we’re not in the business of telling anybody what to do, but if we can help you find the answers, we’re, we’re certainly here as a support system. My main goal is just find whatever is the perfect it for you. Whether it be a four year degree, two year degree, somewhere that you start off and then you transfer and finish up elsewhere, whatever it is do, whatever’s gonna make you happy. And that may not be the traditional traditional path. So, and I just would encourage everybody to find their own, whatever the shape that

Dan Schack (59:20):

Takes. Boom, heard that everybody, we gotta close out on that. That was some wisdom. Y’all all right. Let’s see you all next time, Pete. Thanks for jumping on. And everyone like subscribe, follow us on Instagram, leave us a review and we appreciate you all see you next time. Peace. Thanks everyone.

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