A Significant Influence

I carried your typical acoustic guitar. Wooded. Steel strings. Anyone could recognize its sound. But as I cautiously wandered into the studio for the first time, the sound I heard wasn’t so recognizable. My teacher’s guitar was shaped similarly to mine, but it wasn’t the same. The sound it
produced was much different. More relaxing and melodic. My curiosity for his style continued to grow
as he continued to demonstrate for me week after week.

After several months of studying and answering my never-ending questions, my teacher took me to his senior recital at UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. The small, crowded hall was
intimidating. I started to sit near the back, not to disrupt anyone else, but he wouldn’t allow it.

“Sit right here.” He pointed to an empty seat in the front row. Dead center. But before I could say anything, he disappeared backstage, soon to reappear with his instrument. I sat for two hours, unaware of anything else around me. He performed everything from Bach to folk songs to traditional Spanish ballads. There was so much more to a guitar than strumming chords to your favorite song.

As if he hadn’t given me enough already, he proudly dropped a small book of music into my arms after the recital. “Now it’s your turn,” he said. “You have a performance at the studio in exactly two weeks. Start working!”

At that time, I thought learning a whole piece was impossible. Two weeks was nothing. Scared of failing to play my piece well enough, I practiced for two or three hours every day. But I learned not everything comes easy. I learned practice takes time and improvement takes practice.

“Learn music with patience. The experience is worth a lifetime.” That’s what he constantly told
me. That’s what I learned from Mr. Miller.





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