AAJ: What advice would you have for a young guitarist who's just out of high school or college and is thinking of moving to New York to start their career as a professional musician?
PM: I get asked that question a lot, from my students especially. One of the most important things for me, surprisingly enough, is to have really good computer chops. Learning music notation software as well as editing and recording software can really come in handy when first starting out. I have a computer downstairs that I record music on and I think any student coming out of school these days should at least have a cursory knowledge of music software.
The other advice I would offer is practice, practice, practice, which is what everyone told me when I was in school and darned if they weren't right [laughs]. It's really important to be able to read well, on top of knowing tunes and being able to comp and blow.
I was lucky that I was on scholarship when I went to school, but I worry about the next generation of music students who've had to take on a ton of debt to get through college. That's why I think knowing how to use recording and editing software, or other skills besides playing, can really help younger players make a living in the music business these days. It's always great to have something to fall back on when the gigs are sparse.
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