The only two things in my life of any promise were the discovery of classical music and a slowly awakening interest in philosophy. I recall at one point I was bunking on a small ship anchored in one of the inlets on the Western side of Vancouver Island, planting trees during the day and reading A Hundred Years of Philosophy in the evening.
The summer I was working for the stuccoer I decided I had to make a change in my life. Some friends who attended university had got me thinking that might be an option. I managed to save up $1,000 and there seemed to be three ways to spend it: go to university, buy an upright piano and do some composing or buy a secondhand Jaguar automobile. I noticed one in the paper for $1,000. I ended up at university, likely the best choice. I remember the first time I visited the library, six floors not counting the basement where the listening library was. I stood there looking around in amazement thinking to myself "I will NEVER read all these books!"
Due to advice from various people, I enrolled in the music education program. An audition was required, which I wasn't aware of, so when I showed up at the music department without my instrument the conducting professor dragged me into a practice room and tested my musical aptitude. "Sing this note. Sing this note. Sing this interval. Is this a major or minor chord?" That was about it. If you know what to listen for a simple little test like this can tell you a lot. Music education didn't really work for me so in second year I switched to the music department proper as a music history major. They did not have a guitar teacher, so I had no real choice.
My real goal was still to become an accomplished classical guitarist so I did not go on into third year. Instead, after working for six months for the Ministry of Education (a desk job in statistics), during which time I was commuting to Vancouver on Saturdays for guitar lessons, I decided to go to Spain to continue my studies. This was on the advice of my teacher in Vancouver, a fellow from Holland who had done the same. The place to go was Alicante and the maestro was José Tomás, a student of and assistant to the great Andrés Segovia.
|A fairly young José Tomás playing his eight-string guitar|
As an envoi, here is my recording of a vals venezolano by Lauro with some photos from around that time.