We caught up with our Commercial Music Performance (Guitar) instructor Patrick Unruh and picked his brain on his career, his role at DIME and tips on succeeding in the music industry.
What is your role with DIME Denver?
I am an Instructor with the guitar program here at DIME-Denver. I teach Technical Development and Improvisation for guitar as well as Pre-production, preparing songs for the Live Performance Workshop class.
Who were some of your influences as you progressed as a music professional?
I wouldn’t even be playing guitar if it weren’t for Slash, so he’s probably my biggest influence in my choice for music as a career. However, my largest guitar playing influence comes from my private instructor from my time at Berklee College of Music, Joe Stump. I should also mention Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde as major stylistic influences.
How did you establish yourself as an industry professional – what is your current role?
I stayed dedicated to the craft of guitar and performance the whole way. Throughout school I always played in bands, and right after graduating music school I sought professional performance playing with Carnival Cruise lines. For six months I gained so much experience playing a wide range of music 6 nights a week. Currently I participate in music any way possible. I play in 3 different bands, act as a music consultant for my current client, and teach professionally.
What was the first record you ever bought?
The first record I ever bought with my own money was a copy of Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction. Since then I’ve had to buy the CD two more times because I have listened to it so much it gets worn out or damaged.
What was your best experience in music?
By far the most incredible experience I’ve had in music was the opportunity to perform at Berklee College of Music’s Commencement Concert for the graduating class of 2015. This was my graduating class, and only a handful of students were selected to perform for over 3,000 people at Agganis Arena in Boston, MA. The adrenaline alone from such a high profile performance was intoxicating.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Thus far, the biggest highlight in my career has been the incredible opportunity to begin working with DIME-Denver at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Teaching runs in my family and in my blood. Having the opportunity to teach at a collegiate level, at my age, is a huge step in the right direction for my career.
What gear, equipment, websites, publications etc are you using?
I have recently turned into quite the Fender Strat guy. I have two: one, that I have been customizing with new Yngwie Fury Pickups, a fully scalloped fretboard, and a new Goto Bridge, and my second Stratocaster is the Yngwie Malmsteen signature with fully scalloped fretboard. My main amp is a Marshall 4×12 cab with a Marshall JCM 2000 Dual Super Lead Tube driven head. I also play Gibson Les Pauls often, and I tend to always incorporate the old school Yngwie Malmsteen DOD Overdrive Pedal or the New Yngwie Malsmteen Fender Overdrive Pedal into my tone.
What are your top tips for young musicians and budding entrepreneurs wanting to be in the music industry nowadays?
(1) Practice your craft EVERYDAY.
(2) Confidence is key, but stay humble.
(3) Versatility as a player and versatility in the industry’s job market is a must.
(4) The only competition is against yourself. Be better than you were last week.
(5) Maintain good time management.