I’ve been doing this a long time. Pre-internet, pre-computer even! But it’s never stopped being fun for me. I’ve learned new things throughout my career (including the internet and computers!) and that education has come from fellow musicians, from students, from good gigs, from bad gigs, from audience members and from all genre of music that I’ve ever played.
I grew up in Indianapolis. Studied music through a Bachelors degree at Ball state University. BUT… I was a percussionist, studying to work as an orchestra musician. My instructor, Erwin Mueller, taught me so much about how to practice, how to study a piece of music, and generally how to maintain the discipline needed to be a professional musician. During that time I played piano in the Ball State Jazz band and gigged around the area in various bands playing all styles of music, including jazz. Post college I dropped my percussionist life to devote myself to piano playing, but I still love the percussion section – heck, some of my best friends are…!
Lots of good and bad gigs followed while I first taught middle school band and general music in those early years post-college. Then more good and bad gigs followed as I worked a day job at an insurance company, typing policies first on a typewriter and then the new fancy-schmancy computers (PC) that were introduced to the company.
Finally, I was able to devote myself to only playing good and bad gigs while co-owning a small, not-profitable recording studio! After a few too many years trying to make the studio part work I was finally able to work mostly good and just a few bad gigs per year!
I also returned to teaching in 2000 with Butler University’s School of Music. I’ve been an adjunct professor of Applied Jazz Piano there ever since. Although as I tell my students, the only professor I ever knew was on Gilligan’s Island, so they can just call me Mister Walters!
Now my career is either play music, teach music, or write music. I couldn’t be luckier if I tried, but then, I guess I did try!