Dear Greg (1999),
I wish you had an idea of the changes that are in store for the music world in the next 10 years. Looking back on things, there is one thought that keeps coming back to my mind and it serves as the most important piece of advice I can think to give you for the upcoming decade: Don't Wait.
We both have a tendency to plan things out and think about how great things will be when we get everything just right. The secret is, it is never just right. Start documenting things, start writing, start recording, don't wait! Things are coming that will blow your mind!
In just a few years, the internet will be much more connected to the music world and it will change the whole paradigm of how music is experienced, purchased, discussed, etc. There is still much discussion going on even now in 2009 but I can tell you, this is a GOOD thing. Artists are getting their work out at a rate that is unprecedented. The trumpet player Dave Douglas (go find his recordings as soon as you can...) is self distributing everything he does. He records a set, goes home, posts it online and makes it available for download. Tenor player Matt Otto (don't wait to check him out either...) does similar things with his recordings as well as lessons and exercises with a pay what you can system. So generous.
Get your stuff recorded and get it out there. As an artist, you (and I) have to be ready to embrace the opportunities that are coming.
Remember what you tell all of your students: "If we waited until we could do something to do it, we'd never do anything!"