More About Presley Miller
We sat down with Presley to ask him some questions and let you to get to know him better. Keep reading to learn more about his experience learning music, what he is doing with that now and maybe a few of the hiccups along the way!
"I'm a music fan. That's what I want people to know me as. I'm trying to get the kids playing it. And I'm a magician... And I'm a pro-wrestling fan."
Why did you start playing the guitar?
"As a kid I had a neighbor across the street, Tommy, who was a hero of mine. When I was skateboarding he was better, when I was doing martial arts he had already done it. He had done everything I had done and was already good at it. So Tommy started playing acoustic guitar, taught me a quick song and then let me borrow it. At the time, I was stuck at the house grounded so much that me and the guitar bonded like siblings! I was in middle school while Tommy was studying for the bar exam, so eventually I surpassed him and started to teach him! While I had already known I loved music, Tommy gave me the push I needed to decide I was going to learn to play."
What is your musical background?
"I wasn't able to take official lessons, so when I was 12 I went to the youth group leader at my church and asked him to teach me how to play. He started putting me up on stage the same day without plugging in my guitar, and I went up and played with the band every week after that. It worked! I was forced to step up my game and really play, and eventually they started plugging in my guitar.
My youth group leader was great. He taught me basically a simple way to play acoustic rhythm guitar: the main key of G chords and how to use a capo. I was also picking up things online, but I did all of this without any official guitar lessons.
Sidenote here: playing without an official instructor is the worst! I was okay with it at the time because I thought I was doing what all my heroes did. Come to find out, all of my heroes were collegiate level musicians, so I did it wrong. Years later I stumbled across theory for the first time and realized all of these weird patterns I'd been playing actually made sense! It was rough to learn that I could have shortcutted a lot of my learning with a few simple lessons.
Back to my story, by my freshman year of high school I was forming musical groups with a few people in school. I was in a few bands throughout high school, and senior year I was was able to sing as the host of the battle of the bands, which was really an accomplishment for me.
After high school I lived with friends from the band I was in and kept playing shows. We travelled some, going to Oklahoma, Austin and different colleges. My biggest dream then was to play GrapeFest. In 2009 our band was voted to play in the Palace Band and GrapeFest all in one summer! At 18 I recorded a full CD in that apartment using basic computer equipment and my guitar. When I was 19 I travelled with Live Nation doing stage, lighting and promotion events.
I came back with money I had earned on one full tour, did a couple of local live television events and took the money to buy a bunch of speakers. With the equipment I recorded another CD, had a big party and sold as many CD's as somebody can to their friends. While I was doing all of this I had a party and events band called the Presley Miller Groove Band, and we played fun classic rock and big anthem concert shows. This was around the time I started teaching.
After meeting my gorgeous wife Gail, I decided to pull back from the band and performance scene and began dreaming of opening a music school. I am excited to see the school grow and have a place for my own kids to one day learn to be musicians."
Why do you love music?
"For me music is two things: entertainment and worship. I love facilitating both for myself and others. My music career started as just entertainment. I loved the idea of doing something for somebody that has never seen that thing done. It's crazy to me to think that you don't have to be very good to be the best at an instrument that someone has ever seen. And then music became worship for me. Just being able to play somebody's favorite song right in front of them is an amazing gift to give, and to be able to lead someone in worship to a song they really love is awesome!"
What is one of your most embarrassing moments playing music?
"At the end of a show, I climbed up on top of some really tall speakers. Let's pause here for me to explain that jumping off of things was my signature move at the time. I was single, pretty cool, didn't have anything to lose… so the higher the better. On this night I had on these great denim bell bottoms. They were so cool, and I loved them. So I jumped off the speakers. And I ripped my pants so bad. There was this huge tear, just all the way down the pants. Those became my little personal rock and roll hall of fame memorabilia."
What do you have to say to aspiring musicians at your school?
"Remember what got you fired up and make sure you are taking steps to get there. There are so many things to look forward to! Don't get into playing and then realize you have to work to learn and then give up. Keep your eye on the prize. We have so many opportunities here, so choose something you want to do, and we'll get there! If you want to make your own music video, have a poster for your band, then let's do it!
And here is what you might not want to hear: practice. I think that a great musician will get there with or without a teacher. With me, I took the hard way, and it stinks. I would love for it to be different.
But a great student, a student destined to be a great musician, will get there. He'll knock down all the barriers."
To contact Presley, you can email or call: