Travis Black - February 2020




When I was 11 or 12, my family visited my aunt and uncle’s house on Christmas Day. When we got there, we saw that my uncle had bought my aunt an old organ that was sitting in the living room. Typically, these organs wouldn’t have sheets of music, but rather, you play each key depending on the number it’s labeled with. This makes it easy for someone to memorize and play a song just by remembering which numbers to press. Later that day, my dad sat down at the organ, which surprised me. I had no idea he could play any type of instrument, but he asked my aunt if she had any sheet music with notes. She went and grabbed him some sheet music, and he started playing like he’s known how to play for years. I’ll never forget the song he played: “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” I was stunned. I remember telling Dad that I had no idea he could play, and he told me he could play the organ, piano, saxophone, clarinet, and recorder. When I asked how he learned so many instruments, he said his parents forced him to when he was young. Now to me, this was confusing; I’d wanted to play the guitar for years, but he never signed “If you have a particular passion or something you’ve always wanted to do, never give up on your pursuit of it.”

me up for any lessons. So I asked him, “And you won’t let me learn?” His reply crushed me at 11 years old. “It’s a waste of time,” he responded. Here, I’d wanted to play for so long, but he never even gave me a chance. I was so hurt and angry with him. While I never picked up the guitar as a kid or for most of my life, I never forgot that passion and how much I wanted to learn to play. About four or five years ago, I traveled up into Nashville to attend a seminar. A friend of mine lives there, so after the seminar was over, I spent about a week on vacation. One day, we drove through the Smoky Mountains to a beautiful lodge where a husband and wife were singing old Southern music and playing guitars. Afterward, I bought them a drink and told them I’d always wanted to play the guitar and was thinking about picking it up for the first time. When they asked what kind of music I wanted to play, I was a little surprised. But as I soon found out, certain guitars are designed for certain types of music. Since I love country music, they suggested I get a Martin guitar. When I got back home, I went to a really beautiful music store here in Folsom. I walked in and told the man behind the counter I wanted to buy a Martin guitar, but when he asked what type, I was surprised yet again. I didn’t think it mattered! When I told him I was going to learn how to play on a Martin guitar, he flat out told me he wasn’t going to sell that type of guitar for a beginner

like me. Instead, he gave me a different guitar after I bought a $75 case and set me up with a guitar instructor so I could learn. That was four years ago. Now, I have a session with my instructor every Thursday night. It took me quite a while to get the hang of it, and even though I’ll never learn to play like the professionals can, I still thoroughly enjoy it. Two years ago, I walked back into that same music shop, and the owner agreed to sell me a custom-made Martin guitar. If you have a particular passion or something you’ve always wanted to do, never give up on your pursuit of it. Take a chance when the opportunity comes and indulge yourself. – Travis Black

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