A man plays guitar in his home studio.
Myles Jasnowski plays guitar in his home studio in Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by Audrey Hertel / NNS.

Growing up in Aurora, Myles Jasnowski’s childhood was soundtracked by classic rockers like Steely Dan and Eric Clapton. 

Like other teenagers at the time, he would spend his afternoons on YouTube. But Jasnowski wasn’t watching mindless videos like many others were. 

He was perfecting his craft. 

After ditching his violin for a guitar when he was 13, Jasnowski passed his time teaching himself how to play his favorite artists’ guitar solos by slowing down clips and trying to mimic what their hands were doing. 

He’s come a long way since then. 

Once Jasnowski became more comfortable with his fretboard, he moved from one side of the screen to the other by recording and sharing guitar jams on his YouTube channel. Not long after, the musician started gaining a worldwide, virtually established following – earning up to 174,000 views on one of his first videos. 

His music also moved beyond the web, taking him to different states to play live shows or record videos for guitar companies. 

Unlike other content creators or musicians with a large follower count who move to large cities to further their careers, Jasnowski opts for Lincoln.

But he still manages to make a living as an independent artist and maintain connections with his audiences, companies and other musicians through his Instagram account.

An introduction

“…After school, I would just go on YouTube all day and find videos of my favorite players and listen to what they were doing and try and recreate what they were doing.”

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Myles Jasnowski, a musician from Aurora, sits in his home studio in Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by Audrey Hertel / NNS.

For Jasnowski, it all began in Aurora. According to long-time family friend, guitar player and Aurora resident Bill Whitney, Jasnowski’s skills advanced quickly from when he first picked up a guitar, which pushed other musicians in Jasnowski’s hometown to want to get better themselves.

“After a while, he surpassed everybody around here in terms of his sharpness, performance capacity, because it’s what he wanted to do,” Whitney said. “He had the ability from a very early age to stand up in front of people and play or sing. We’re all chasing him now.” 

During the summers after Jasnoski’s sophomore and junior years of high school, he enrolled in Berklee College of Music’s summer program. Artists like John Mayer, one of Jasnowski’s early guitar heroes, attended the college. Jasnowski even auditioned for admission to Berklee and got accepted, but he was also given the option to go to New York and stay with his sister. He chose the latter, deciding to pursue music outside of the classroom. 

After living in New York for roughly two and a half years, Jasnowski wanted to come back to Nebraska but headed to Lincoln instead of his hometown. 

The Lincoln music community

“…I was just kind of using it as a little stepping stone, but, you know, after having lived here for a year or two, I fell in love…”

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Myles Jasnowski holds his guitar while sitting in his home studio in Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by Audrey Hertel / NNS.

One of the local musicians Jasnowski met after moving to Lincoln was Benjamin Kushner, a guitarist in Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal, and the two quickly became friends. According to Kushner, Jasnowski reminded him a lot of his younger self when he saw him play. 

Kushner celebrated Jasnowski’s ability and determination to teach himself how to play guitar, but he also noted that Jasnowski can implement creativity in a way that can’t be learned – it’s natural. 

“If you combine a natural gift with hard work – woodshedding as they call it – practicing, coming up with a broader knowledge – that really stokes me,” Kushner said.

Kushner said it’s easy to talk about Jasnowski’s talent, but it’s his demeanor that stands out the most. 

“He’s just so kind-hearted,” Kushner said. “I don’t know of anybody that I’ve ever talked to in the city, or even the Lincoln – Omaha area that has ever felt a bad vibe with him or had problems with him. He’s super easy going and very enthusiastic about others.” 

Kushner described an instance when his band, Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal, was scheduled to go on a tour earlier this year. Kushner has stage IV cancer, and with the Omnicron COVID-19 wave hitting at that time, he was worried about going out and playing shows. According to Kushner, Jasnowski didn’t hesitate to step in his place, and he was willing to learn over 30 songs to do it. 

“I get goosebumps when I think about it,” Kushner said. “I’m so honored. I don’t know what else I can tell you that is more indicative of our close relationship.”

An interview with Benjamin Kushner

“I think more than anything, he’s just a very sweet, kind, polite, respectful, humble person. So he’s not – you know – he’s not about just posting a video where he’s shredding to be the best in the world. He’s just doing his thing.”

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Myles Jasnowski performs at the Zoo Bar in downtown Lincoln. Photo by Audrey Hertel / NNS.

While living in Lincoln, Jasnowski released a debut record called “Mylestones” and has played in over 15 bands consisting of A Ferocious Jungle Cat, Mesonjixx, Steady Wells, I Forgot to Love My Father and more. 

Thanks to the internet, Jasnowski has been able to work directly with artists across the world by sending tracks back and forth to one another – a collaborative effort he is currently doing with a musician from Oslo. Jasnowski explained that because of the interconnectedness the internet allows for, where you create doesn’t determine the reach you have with your music, and you don’t need to live in a huge city to be successful.

An independent artist’s approach to making music in the Midwest

“Artists, independent artists especially, can make music from their home and then release it, and promote it, and market it and be able to make – you know – a good living for themselves…”

There’s no clear formula Jasnowski has for his Instagram videos. According to the musician, he’s just being true to himself. And this approach has been successful, especially if one evaluates it through content engagement. However, the relationship Jasnowski has with his followers goes beyond likes and comments, as some have asked to book lessons with him so they can play like he does.

‘Putting myself out there’

“I hope people – you know – like what I do, but I just, in the end, I just like doing it, and I like – you know – just putting myself out there…”

Regardless of how far Jasnowski’s music takes him or who he manages to connect with – either physically or through the ether – the musician said his biggest goal is just to continue making music he’s happy with.

A snowball effect

“…I just want to continue to grow it as much as I can. And, you know, hopefully, that turns into – you know – people finding out more about my music and what I’m about, and hopefully, it just continues to be more of a snowball effect where I can keep doing it for a long time.”

Senior Journalism and ADPR major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln