How It Pays To Pay Attention
The late Albert King must have been impressed, honored, and even maybe a little bit taken aback when Stevie Ray Vaughan performed with him for the TV special In Session on December 6, 1983. Stevie was 29, Albert 60, both respective blues guitar greats. In the banter that went back and forth between songs, Albert talked about how SRV (who he didn't even recognize prior to being informed) was "little stevie", the kid that would sit in on guitar with Albert in Texas. Albert acknowledged SRV's prowess and mastery of the guitar and offhandedly remarked, "that's what you get for paying attention". For SRV, this was what took him to the top of the blues world.
In life, paying attention to the masters of any craft or your own personal mentors can often be overlooked. Its a valuable skill that I had to learn myself. It is very easy when starting out to learn a little bit and then start blazing your own path. I personally wanted to play my own way, with my own technique, and my own style. It was not until I met my own mentor, a man named Lloyd Moore, that I realized that I had more to understand.
It was difficult to let go of my stubbornness at first, but as I listened to Lloyd play, I realized I had to drop any barriers and just soak in as much knowledge as possible. I learned country, blues, soul etc. Genres that I did not have interest in previously become starting points for my new musical journey.
As I visited the local music store more frequently, I noticed that a lot of players that watched Lloyd did not even bother stopping to get advice or learn a lick. They heard and knew that he was brilliant, and then moved on. These same players could not come close to the virtuosity that Lloyd displayed and it made me think that they too could achieve more if they just had stopped to listen.
To conclude, in the music world you have to use your ears just as much as you use your hands or voice. There is much to learn, and there are many people and resources out there to willing to show you things that can grow our talent.