The other day I was reflecting on how interesting it is that a seemingly small choice or decision at one point in our past can have a dramatic impact on our future.
For me it was the decision of wanting to learn to play the guitar. I remember it well - it was around Easter that my best friend Klaus and I were listening to some of our favourite songs.
We would listen to anything that was ‘Hard Rock’ or ‘Heavy Metal’. Klaus' older brothers were into Hard Rock and Bikes and all that good stuff, and they would ensure a constant supply of the essential classics and the latest and greatest of the time.
From Aerosmith to Van Halen, from AC/DC to Queensryche, from Accept to David Lee Roth… anything with loud, distorted guitars and screaming vocals would make the playlist. And I mean anything… which, looking back, makes me question some of the musical choices (*cough* Poison *cough* Faster Pussycat *cough*).
At that time we were basically the only kids in our neighbourhood with that particular musical taste - which by default made us outcasts. But that fit well with the Hard Rock image of ‘rebellion’ and ‘taking a stand’ against ‘the man’. And to put it into context of my surroundings: this isn’t Berlin or Hamburg I’m talking about, this is a small town in the middle of Germany where they roll up the sidewalks at 6pm.
It was then that we looked at each other and said: let’s start playing guitar. I mean, how hard could it be? Looking at the covers of the various LP’s in front of us, the guitar players didn’t strike us as rocket scientists… but they looked cool. And as the saying goes: Education is Important, but Playing Guitar and Looking Cool is Importanter!
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Anyways, we made up our minds - guitar players we were going to be. But, as mentioned before, coming from a small German town, one does not just start playing guitar. No, you go and take proper lessons. And within a short while, and promising our parents to practice all the time, Klaus and I found ourselves sitting in a tiny room at the back of the local music store looking at our guitar teacher, Joerg.
He was a great teacher, a tremendous classical and flamenco player and fabulous human being. He introduced us to a more varied musical diet - Led Zeppelin, Al Di Meola, Yes, B.B. King, Sting, Paco De Lucia, Steve Vai and more. And sometimes we would cut a lesson short, go to his van and just hang out, tell jokes, have a cigarette (it was a thing back then - I've since kicked the habit) and talk. This is probably one of the strongest arguments for learning an instrument (or any skill for that matter) from another person as opposed to learning by yourself or online - the human interaction, the non-guitar related things you pick up, the humanity...
But I digress. If I look back on this I realise that without that fateful Easter weekend, without the silly idea of wanting to learn to play the guitar I would not have arrived where I am today. Of course there are more nuances to the story but in a nutshell this key decision is the reason you are now reading this blog post. Pretty crazy if you think about it, right?
What do you think? Is this fate? Or coincidence? Do you have a similar story? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Cheers and rock well!