When Ron Cornelius was young, he fell in love with music. His first instrument was a clarinet. Not exactly what you’d expect from a musical legend, is it? But his musical story didn’t end there. Instead it’s become one of the best examples of where determination can take you, no matter what path you choose.
Where Determination Can Take You
Ron Cornelius’ musical career didn’t have a glamorous start. In elementary school band, he was chosen to play the clarinet. While certainly an important instrument in big bands that were popular at the time, Ron’s inner musical instinct told him there was something more coming and he was determined to be a part of it.
In junior high, Ron transitioned to the trombone. Again, it was an instrument important for big bands but, again, Ron was not satisfied. “…neither of these instruments did much for me other than providing something in my day that was enjoyable,” Ron said in his book, The Guitar Behind Dylan and Cohen. He was determined to find something else, something newer, something more.
And then, he found that something more. As interested in music as he was, he soon became very aware of the guitar and he knew that this would be the instrument that would allow him to express his musical genius and on which he’d build a career.
Roadblocks to Overcome
As any successful person will tell you, before you meet success, you meet roadblocks. Whether or not you’ll succeed or fail is decided by the way you approach those roadblocks: with determination or with resignation. You either believe you can or you believe you can’t. Either way, you’re probably right.
Ron’s first roadblock was the fact that guitar was not an instrument taught in school. If he wanted to learn to play, he’d have to figure it out himself.
His second roadblock was even more significant than the first: he didn’t own a guitar. How do you teach yourself to play the guitar if you don’t have one?
As a young man, Ron looked around at what he did have and grabbed hold of the closest stand in: his mother’s broom. That’s right. Ron’s first “guitar” wasn’t a guitar at all. It was a broom.
He cut a guitar pick out of a milk carton and took up his mother’s broom. He worked out rhythms and chords, he practiced strumming. In his mind, the music flowed. Only one question remained: had his determination paid off at all?
Of course, just how well his broomstick guitar lessons had worked remained a mystery until, for Christmas, Ron received his first guitar. Can you imagine the trepidation he felt when he first picked it up, how different it must have felt in his hands?
And so he played. The practice had worked! Soon the music wasn’t just in his imagination. His drive and determination lifted him over the roadblocks. Ron knew that he’d found the instrument he loved, the instrument that would help him fulfill his dreams.
Of course, these first roadblocks were not the last Ron would face, (read more about his challenges here) They did, however, form the attitude with which he’d face each one. Determination helped him begin and determination is why he’s succeeded.
How far will you go? How will you approach roadblocks in life? Only you can answer those questions. If you are to have any success, it is clear: determination is a must, even if it means you play guitar while holding a broom.
Ron Cornelius’ stories of success, determination, and playing with the greats can be found in The Guitar Behind Dylan and Cohen. Autographed copies are available exclusively from his website.