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TOPIC: One armed guitarist, singer, songwriter

One armed guitarist, singer, songwriter 7 years 7 months ago #84

I started my music career at the age of 4 when my dad first started showing me how to play guitar. After starting the guitar I began singing at church. Eventually I started my own bands. Then in 1998 I decided that I had hit a wall with my playing and needed a way to continue growing. So I enrolled at the Atlanta Institute of Music (AIM). After I graduated AIM, I attended Kennesaw States University for 2 years. At this point I was offered a teaching postition at AIM and left KSU.

As far as challenges go, I always view challenges as a good thing. I see them as a way to better myself. Afterall nothing worthwhile comes easy right. One of the things that I always try to share about myself is that I never say "I can't" do anything. I always say "how can I do this?" I believe that all things are doable. It's only a matter of how. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to accomplish goals.
 
When I first started playing guitar I was only using the skin on my arm (like a thumb). After hearing Jimmy Page's solos I decided that I wanted to be able to play like him. Because my arm is shaped the way it is, I could only manage to play up-strokes. This made it difficult to play fast and pick individual notes. So I decided that I needed to build a pick of some sort. At first I went to go see Grant (the guy who built my prosthetic arms). He had one idea that was a sort of leather sock with a pick attached to it. When I got home and tried it I found that it didn't work for me at all. I needed something more solid and unyielding. So I took apart one of my old prosthetic arms and used the shoulder harness as a strap and then I attached a pick to it and bent the pick as much as I could. Over the years my method for attaching the pick has evolved from paper clips to staples to glue. I eventually landed on rivets as a way of securing the pick. Rivets make it harder to change the pick out when it wears down but, they are very secure and unyielding. Every other challenge that I have faced simply boils down to practicing and being stubborn. I believe in myself. I believe that I can achieve my goals. And I do. It's simply a matter of committing to getting it done no matter what and not giving up until it's done. 

As for my other thoughts. I have taught guitar and helped out many kids and adults around the world who only have one hand like me. The one consistent thing that I see is that parents baby their kids too much. Parents, tell your children that they "can do it." Don't do it for them. Don't tell them what they can or cannot do. Push them to think critically and creatively and come up with their own solutions to problems. They are much more resourceful than you think.

My website www.lefty-music.com
You can download both of my CDs for free from the store page on my site.
All my best,
Lefty Williams
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Our Mission

-Share our stories
---Obstacles we faced
---What we've done
---What we learned
---What we need
---What we offer
-To help each other  
    
Our purpose
    Our story

Catherine Gogel, Publisher

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