I grew up in Kentwood, Michigan a decent size suburb in the second largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids. I went to college in Big Rapids, MI which is a small town but always had that connection to the city. Now that I live in New York, I need to get away every now and then to a quiet, small, beautiful place where the people know each other by name.
About 2 hours north of NYC, by the way of Amtrack, there is a beautiful place that I have come to love, Hudson Valley, NY. It’s full of art, food, and that small town vibe that I miss after the hustle and bustle that comes with living in the city. This particular journey up I ventured into Hudson with my wife. I explored a bit, flew the drone, and walked into some local businesses to chat with the shop owners.
Right next to my wife’s place of work is a music shop. It brought back a lot of memories of when I dabbled in music. Music taught me a lot about soul. After walking into this music shop, I was halted by a semi-bald man strumming away at some chords on a guitar. If you know me, you know that there are three instruments that make me lose my mind- guitars, saxophones, and violins. I greet the man after he plays, tell him my name, and he responds, “I’m Rob.”
Rob is the owner and he works alongside his wife who is also a musician. He teaches and fixes string instruments all under one roof.
We spent several hours talking about his experiences and also a bit of philosophy centered around the change that Hudson is going through and the effects on his business. To him, and I agree, playing an instrument or doing anything in the arts teaches you about accountability. With accountability comes fear. He used the guitar as an example, “people are ashamed of their guitar. Fearful of it. Fearful of facing that they don’t know how to play; that they have to struggle with it.”
This is true. We live in a “right now” kind of world and we want skills instantaneously. Facing the fact of not being able to do something ourselves is scary to us, but it shouldn’t be. Rob’s old school, he believes in hands on training. No YouTube, No Iphone Apps. Straight one on one learning.
Rob’s wisdom was a gift. Something that I really needed that day. In a rapidly tech advancing world I tend to try and appreciate the past as much as much as I appreciate the future. You should too. Businesses like Rob’s are slowly fading when they should be rapidly appearing. So, if you find yourself in the Hudson, walking near the Warren St area and wanting to take some lessons, pick up a new guitar, get your guitar fixed, or you just want to jam, head to spend some time with Rob.
**All Images shot on the Yashica-D TLR Camera on Kodak 400 Tri-X