When Rob Gulseth visited Washington, D.C., earlier this year with the Geneva High School bands, it wasn’t simply sightseeing that took him to the Library of Congress.
After all, how many visitors to our de facto national library have already copyrighted songs? And the Copyright Office has been a part of the Library since 1870, according to its history, and receives more than 380,000 new registrations each year.
As of the spring Gulseth, who plays guitar, drums and bass, plus sings, had eight copyrighted songs. “I have a lot of songs. There are more to come,” said the 2011 GHS grad, who’s headed to Belmont University in Nashville to pursue a major in songwriting.
He enjoys the process. He starts with acoustic guitar, getting the melody and lyrics down. “Then I add different things to it, to get different sounds.” That may include adding alternative instruments, tinkering with it until he has what he wants.
After the song is scored on paper (he took several advanced music theory classes at GHS), he begins the copyright process. The application can be found online; he and his parents have worked though a music attorney and when everything is complete, the package is sent to the Library of Congress for protection via the copyright process. The Library of Congress, according to its site, has handled more than 20 million such copyright registrations and transfers since 1790, and its card catalog, with more than 45 million cards, is the largest in the world.
Beyond songwriting, Gulseth has a band, known as the Rob Max Band, with “Rob Max” his stage name. He plays guitar and is lead singer. He was working on an album as well.
As he heads off to the future, what would he like to be doing a decade from now?
“I’d like to still be doing the same thing, as my career," he said. "I want to be an artist who goes on tour, living the music life.”