Alumni’s success surges during pandemic

Electrician swaps wires for strings

11/3/2022 10:21:55 AM

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, NL – Knowledge is power, and for one College of the North Atlantic (CNA) grad it’s meant taking what he learned in college to forge a new career path.

Patrick Dwyer, a graduate of CNA’s Applied Music program (AMP) in 2004, has been racking up the views on his popular music tablature site, Mr. Tabs.

“Over the past two years, my page has grown from 170 subscribers to 410K. On Instagram, Mr. Tabs has 80K followers. Mr. Tabs continues to grow gaining about 12-14K subscribers and four million views monthly,” he said.

Dwyer says his website started when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and more people worked and stayed at home. There was a growing need for making guitar lessons virtual.
Patrick Dwyer, a graduate of CNA’s Applied Music program (AMP), is racking up the views on his popular music tablature site, Mr. Tabs. Photo by Erin O’Mara.

“When I started tabbing out full songs and uploading them, my videos began to attract a worldwide audience and views started to climb quickly on the page,” he explained.

Before the success of his website, Dwyer was a part-time guitar teacher and full-time electrician, having completed the Construction/Industrial Electrician program at CNA in 2017. However, as time went on it was evident that life would lead him back to his first passion, music.

“Before COVID, I was working part-time as a guitar teacher and I would upload video lessons on YouTube for my local students as a way to eliminate paper lessons. My goal was to create a curriculum for everyone to follow and I would keep track of their progress as they would go through my video lessons,” he said.

However, putting two songs that he created tabs for on YouTube changed all that.

Welcome to the Jungle and November Rain were two videos that were promoted in the browse features on YouTube, and this caused a domino effect on the page bringing thousands of new subscribers. I was able to monetize my page and make a living off of the ad revenue,” he said.

Chain reaction
The success didn’t stop there.

“I started a Patreon page and offered extra content to patrons for a subscription fee,” noted Dwyer. “I began a partnership with Music Notes selling my tabs to those wanting digital copies in PDF format,” he said. “Guitar Pro, the software developers of the app that I use for my screen tabs, reached out to me and I began creating content for them. As well, my videos have been sponsored by well-known brands like Amplitube, Paul Reed Smith, and Blue LAVA guitars.”
Patrick Dwyer, a graduate of CNA’s Applied Music program (AMP), plays at the George Street Music Festival in St. John’s, NL. He says the pandemic helped him shift gears and led him to a brighter path of success. Photo by Erin O’Mara.

Watching his YouTube page grow, Dwyer decided it was time to take the plunge.

“I quit my job as an electrician and quit teaching locally,” he said. “I just wanted to devote myself to the page.”

He says he owes some of that success to the training he received at CNA.

“The music industry course at CNA helped shape my path as a musician,” he said. “After growing up in a very small area, I was suddenly exposed to musicians from around the province – those who I could jam with, bounce ideas off of, and learn from.”

He said the other courses he took during his two-year program were helpful as well.

“The entrepreneurial courses were useful to me when I finally was able to apply myself in the field years later,” he said, adding that he also gives credit his instructor. “I wanted to pursue my interests further in Music Theory so I took lessons from Wade Pinhorn. And he was a great mentor whom I really looked up to. He saw that I had keen interest and was always willing to give me some of his advice whenever I needed it. I just can't express how much I appreciated him not only as a teacher but as a human being.”
The Fogo Island, NL native says CNA also allowed him to combine his love for music and computers.

“I took an interest in courses which explored the software side of music. I gravitated towards that because I was interested in computers. I gained experience learning about MIDI and music software and I learned about recording in a studio. All of this contributed to what I do now. I use computer software to tab my songs out. I wouldn't be able to do this without knowledge of Music Theory not to mention my gift for having a good musical ear. I use recording equipment and computer software to record the audio tracks for my videos, and I use MIDI software in every song that I upload on my channel.”

He says he whole-heartedly recommends AMP to aspiring musicians.

“I would recommend the program to anybody who is musically talented and feels that they can put the work needed to succeed into a music career. It opened up other areas in the field that I was not aware of, so I'm personally glad that I made the decision to do that program.”

For more information about AMP and other CNA programs, visit

Media contact:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic