Harboring a false sense of sophistication, we’d ridicule him.
While everyone else in the class stayed politely in their seats, Hiro would get up with his pad and pen in hand, walk in front of the class, and peer over the man's shoulder. This happened every time our professor would sit down at the piano to demonstrate a point!
I mean, really. Who does that?
I went to college with Hiro Morozumi. While we were both jazz studies majors focussing on piano, there was a major difference between us: Hiro did not take up the piano seriously until he was twenty.
That first year at UNT, Hiro struggled. His chord voicings were bland, his technique questionable and his solos lacked groove. As a struggling freshman myself, I took solace in perceiving my playing as better than his – which was not something I could say about most of my peers.
The thing was, Hiro didn't care what anyone thought of him. No question was dumb. He had no pride; he just wanted to learn. And learn he did.
By the time we graduated, he had smoked all of us! Hiro played for one of the school's most prestigious bands his senior year and was gigging around Dallas every weekend. Today he has a fruitful music career in Japan.
What Would Hiro Do?
I often remember the lesson I learned from Hiro. Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending rhythm section sessions in Nashville. Some of Christian music’s best musicians and producers were present. As I drove up the day before, I wondered how I could take full advantage of the two days there. I thought this: what would Hiro do? Silly question, really. But it totally changed how I interacted with these musicians I looked up to and honestly, felt intimidated by.
Whether you are at a studio session, a weekend workshop*, or around a musician you respect, seize every opportunity to learn. Don't ever let your insecurity get in the way of becoming all God has made you to be.