How They Got Started & Advice for New Musicians

Roger Cole:

"I think people that become musicians, start as musicians.  You have it in your head, you have it in you.  You start looking at instruments and you start figuring out how to play them, it becomes somewhat of an obsession.  So I don’t know that there was ever really a conscious decision made to do it.  I think the decision that you make is how much time and focus you’ll put into whatever caliber of musician you are capable of becoming which is really up to how many hours you want to put in, how many influences you can retain."

"As far as advice for people who wanted to get started with it, I think first and foremost, take the time for whatever instrument you decide to play - or multiple instruments, whatever the case may be - just take the time to really learn it, don’t just learn what you’re into right now.  What you hear on the radio or certain styles that might really get you going right now might not always be the case.  You will grow and evolve musically as you stick with it.  So as far as wanting to become a professional musician, try to make the decision of what does that mean to you - does it just mean making a living, or being on a soda bottle or something? If it’s just wanting to make money playing an instrument, becoming a session player is a great way to do that, but once again, you gotta get to a certain caliber for people to want you there.  Always just be really honest with yourself about the caliber of your music and then see how you can make it better." 

Paul Barrere:

"I started playing piano when I was six and stopped that at 11, then picked up the guitar at 13.  It was more just for the fun of it until I got to be about 17 and that’s when I started to think seriously about being a musician.  But, I think more than being a musician, I really liked performing.  Kinda runs in the blood with my family - my parents were actors, my grandfather was a classical floutist with the New York Symphony, and my grandmother was an actress on Broadway in the 1920’s and 1930’s - so, it was just kinda something that came to me naturally.  So I’d have to say that yeah, maybe around 17 I started to think 'yeah, maybe this could be a good life style choice'.  And I’m kinda glad it did."

"My advice for any youngster out there who wants to become a musician is first and foremost, find the instrument that gives you the most satisfaction, and then study that instrument.  Find professionals to teach you the fundamentals, the rudiments, the techniques that make the act of making music a whole lot easier.  I’ve always noted that those that read music seem to have a little bit of an advantage over those who just play and basically just play by ear, which is what I did all these years, but I was very fortunate.  Second, I would tell them to make sure that they have a plan B.  Being a musician today, in this day and age, is …there’s just so many more musicians out there, so you have to be exceptional.  Or, you can study and become a wonderful player and play in philharmonics or symphonies or what have you and make a darned good living.  But, once again, as it is with many of the arts - acting, painting, playing music - there has to be an element of luck, an element that affords you an opportunity, and the more prepared you are when the opportunity knocks, you can turn that door knob."