What's Your Thing?

Photo by Erik Bell

photo by Erik Bell

Eric Branner

What’s your thing?

What helped you stay afloat during adolescence, through a difficult career change, or health issue?

Is your thing still your thing now?

Gymnastics, piano, yoga, concerts, poetry, calculus, Bach, bluegrass, Capoeira, soccer, literature, meditation, friends?

Want to understand and engage someone new? Call them by their first name, and ask about their thing.

People light up when discussing their interests.

My thing is guitar.

I moved to a rural area in middle school. It was a tough time.

I locked myself in my room and practiced guitar.

I got pretty good, performed in talent shows, made friends, and played in some awesome bands.

I am ever grateful to have found my thing.

It wasn’t just finding an inclination or passion. I found a tool for survival and a means to success.

My first guitar teacher was Michael Rhodes.

My grandfather was his music teacher.

He taught in the corner of a car-battery warehouse. I remember waiting next to pallets of plastic-wrapped batteries and forklifts.

I learned "Sweet Home Alabama" and worked through Hal Leonard Method Book One.

I’ve had forty-nine music teachers since, and it all started with him.

Who was your first teacher?

Who introduced you to your "thing"?


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