I am always curious to find out about the circumstances surrounding a student’s decision to get serious about music. It might have been working with an inspiring music teacher, observing more advanced students at school, or hearing an exciting live performance or album.
For me, it was a combination of all of the above. I was blessed to have parents who were supportive of music. They allowed me to take private lessons, and my teacher through high school was especially motivating.
My junior high and high schools each had outstanding students who inspired me to excel. We had a culture in our high school music department that was similar to athletic departments; we talked about the pros and shared their recordings, and also talked about the great student musicians at other high schools. Participating in high school jazz festivals was particularly eye opening. I never knew young musicians could play so incredibly well.
In terms of recordings, Dexter Gordon’s “Homecoming” album was a revelation. Hearing the way Dexter played, especially on the opening track, totally blew my mind. Later, as a college freshman, that solo was the first transcription project of mine.
Let’s hear about your experiences!