In this instalment of our Featured Alumni series, we catch up with Guitar graduate Matt McConnon!
Matt McConnon graduated ACM in 2014 and is now touring around the world with JP Cooper along with fellow alumni Adam Rust (Keys 2014) and Sam Wade (Drums 2013).
Tell us a bit about your background, and why you wanted to work in the music industry?
My name is Matt and I’m a working guitar player, producer and songwriter from the South East. During secondary school I picked up the guitar and became completely addicted, I played in bands and in theatre pits for most of my teens before coming to ACM to further my studies as a musician.
I always wanted to work in the industry as it seemed like a really exciting career choice, and I was right! I could never imagine myself behind a desk doing something I wasn’t passionate about, I’m very fortunate to have known what direction to swim in from such an early age.
Tell us about what you’ve been involved with since leaving ACM?
Since Leaving ACM I have had the absolute pleasure of working with artists such as Jonas Blue, Dappy, Naughty Boy, Si Cranstoun and many other talented individuals. I’m currently lucky enough to be working with the incredibly gifted JP Cooper, which has been my main focus for the last 6 months.
I am also in the process of building a studio complex with my writing/production team, which has kept me pretty busy as you can imagine!
What are your aspirations for the future?
To keep doing what I love to do and making a living from it!
How did your course prepare you for life in the music world?
It showed me what I was good at, and what wasn’t without having to do on the job. That was invaluable. I always thought I learnt more from the 10 minutes either side of a lecture, where the tutor would chat to us about tours, sessions and past experiences in the industry than than I ever could on on paper.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the industry?
Just get out there and put the miles on your instrument. Be good at what you do and keep in mind that a percentage of that is social too. It works the same as many other professions but with less security and nothing is guaranteed. At the end of the day, if you turn up and make a nice sound with your instrument, are a nice person and act professional people will want to work with you. You’ve probably heard it all before, but it really is true.
Also, try to immerse yourself with as many different styles of music and cover as many bases as you can. I’m not going to lie to you and say you need to be a great reader or a competent jazz player to get a pop gig… but these skills will help you remain employed between tours and projects. A lot of the work you will have to do won’t be the most exciting gigs in the world, but they will keep a roof over your head and your skills sharp for when the next big project comes up. Which could then keep you busy for the following year.
You never know when your artist will take a year or two out to write, that’s exactly when you need to be smashing the pantos, functions and Sunday jazz brunch gigs!
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
Coming to the end of secondary school I was working with a few lads that were enrolled in the degree course at the time, seeing the syllabus and how far they had come in a few months motivated me to come to an open day. Once I was there, the tutors, facilities and opportunities available seemed right for me so I enrolled and started that September. It was a good move!
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
MNG. That’s definitely a joke! The best thing for me was the amazing musicians I met during my time there, many are still very close friends and without them I wouldn’t have a career at all. The tutors were fantastic also, very inspiring and helped me get the most out of my time studying.
Connect with Matt McConnon on Twitter!
If you’d like to be a student at ACM to kickstart your career in the music industry like Matt, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.