Programmer and technologist Scott Hanselman recently posted about the people who helped him to get to where he is, and he challenged his readers to write about the people that helped us get to where we were. There were many people who helped me along the way as a guitarist, so I thought I’d post about them in response to Scott’s challenge.
First and foremost, my father helped me to get started playing guitar. I remember fairly early on in my life wanting to play guitar. It took me a while to convince my parents to buy me a guitar, as I had a history of only playing with toys for a short period of time. No one else in my family plays a musical instrument, so I’m sure that they figured it was just a phase. However, after a while I was finally able to convince my parents that I was serious about wanting to play guitar. Even though it was over 15 years ago, I still remember going into the music store with my father and picking out the guitar I wanted: a Strat-style Washburn Lyon guitar. I also picked out a 15 watt Dean Markley practice amp. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was in heaven. I’m sure my family got tired of hearing Smells Like Teen Spirit over and over again, but I’m grateful that they put up with it.
I really wanted to start playing guitar because several of my friends had picked up the instrument and I saw how fun it was. Several of my friends in particular were instrumental (pardon the pun) in helping me improve as a musician. We would get together and jam all the time after school, and we even played a couple of shows together. One of the most exciting musical experiences I’ve ever had wasn’t as a musician, but as a spectator watching my friends play Ugly Kid Joe’s I Hate Everything About You as part of a school talent show. The crowd roared after they finished, and it illustrated to me the power that music has. During that time, I really learned a lot from my friends, and I’m appreciative for having the opportunity to play and learn from them.
After college, I really didn’t play that much for several years, as I was getting started in my career and expending most of my effort in learning what I needed to know for my career. However, after getting married, my wife encouraged me to pick the guitar back up, and I’m grateful she did. My passion for the guitar was reawakened, and I owe it all to her support and encouragement.
There are many people today that still encourage and inspire me. To my wife, my family, my friends, my fellow bloggers, and musicians, I thank you for the encouragement and inspiration you provide to me each day. As Scott says, I will do my best to take that encouragement and inspiration and pay it forward.
Who’s shoulders are you standing on?