TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter I Parental misgivings
A word to parents of children who are possibly musical
A word to children of bewildered parents
Chapter II Fire in the belly
The ‘safety net'
How my niche found me
Chapter III Overcoming pressure
Pressure 1: Your Parents
Pressure 2: Your Teachers
Pressure 3: Your Peers
Pressure 4: Yourself
Chapter IV The myth of the white picket fence
Reality 1: Performing won’t always pay the rent.
Reality 2: It is possible you will spend your life in total anonymity.
Reality 3: Your personal relationships will have to write their own rules
Reality 4: The house with the white picket fence is not a reality.
Joy 1: Learn to love it all.
Joy 2: Do your best where you are without worrying about moving up.
Joy 3: Build the skills you need to get you to your dream job
Chapter V Unsolicited advice for special individuals
For aspiring instrumental musicians
Chapter VI Dealing with negativity
A sample of trials from my own life
Turning Failure into Gold
What to do when you realize you’ve chosen the wrong instrument… or career
Chapter VII Coda
FOREWORD by PAUL BLACKBURN
You’d never expect the hillbilly, gator hunting, swamp living accent, to cross the path of the tuxedo wearing, internationally revered orchestra conductor.
If you did, you’d assume they would mix like water and oil - or that there would be a clash of titanic proportions.
To find them both in one body brought not just me but my entire class to a standstill.
Meet Dobbs Franks, the genius musician who sounds like he should be wearing a bib-n-braces, have one front tooth, a banjo and a gallon container of hooch by his side but who can actually convert an unbelievably complex musical script 400 years old and a ragged bunch of 110 opinionated soloists into a magical, transformational experience for an audience of 1,000 with the flick of a wrist.
And he was doing that on Broadway when he was barely 20 years old.
In any one day Dobbs will chat with prime ministers & presidents, discuss the finer points of a rare red wine with it’s makers, mutate a talented singer into a virtuoso and tell a joke that is so ‘blue’ and genuinely funny that while faces redden, raucous laughter erupts.
The class I was teaching on the day that Dobbs changed my life was on the benefits of the right mindset. He was attending because my recorded meditations had got him out of a wheel chair after the car smash that stole both the love of his life and his ability to walk.
He’d met tragedy, enduring heartbreak and grief on a scale most people never know and was eager to learn how to deal with them more effectively. In that class and many others since, he has become simply inspirational.
I implored him to start sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience via teaching and coaching and he brought his prodigious skills into the field. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t marvelled at his insight, intelligence, gentleness, respectful truth telling and above all his great wit and humor.
A coaching session with Dobbs is more than mentoring or teaching. It’s an experience to be savoured, the pearls of wisdom coming firstly in a cascade and thereafter continuing to announce themselves subtly over the months and years following.
Personally - I knew I had met a great teacher when he made his first ever job application aged 81. Whilst I was personally inspired, Dobbs, in typical Dobbs style, spent two years fighting the job provider and eventually sacked them to preserve his integrity. Never has a university lost such a powerful asset because they were so ancient and moribund in the face of a revolutionary force who spoke his truth regardless of the consequences.
Those he taught during those two years are forever changed.
After 33 years as a coach and mentor myself I can say that rarely do I meet a student who becomes my teacher.
Dobbs is that man.
He has become a great friend and confidant. He has taught me (by example, not lectures) how to extract the most from each moment of our short time here on the blue planet.
But fair warning: You are about to step into a crazy world. One that defies categorisation, let alone description. You’ll be enlightened, uplifted and inspired.
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