Thank you Les Paul (and Les Paul’s mom)

Les Paul passed away last week, and I just wanted to post this little piece of thanks and to share something about his story that I had heard before, but seems extra relevant to my personal exploration into education and how we learn – his childhood music teacher told his mom, “Your boy, Lester, will never learn music.” (NYTimes).

Yep. You read that right.

It sounds like his mom enabled him to keep at it. Read the entire NYTimes story. Not only did she enable him to continue to pursue music, it sounds like she empowered him to look at his entire house as a creative pallet. And he did. Minnesota Public Radio’s blog, “Trial Balloon” went so far as to say that “Les Paul’s Mom Invented Rock & Roll”. It’s hard to argue that.

Beyond empowering him, enabling him to continue when some indicated he had no talent was huge. Perseverance clearly became a core part of his story going forward, dealing with a car crash that would have eliminated his capability to play (he had his arm fused in position to be able to still do so), dealing with painful arthritis in his hands (he adjusted his playing style). He would cope with a myriad of life’s ups and downs and in doing so left so many gifts for the world.

Think about it. And think about how the world was changed because Les Paul believed in trying and trying again.

Psychology Today, “Les Paul, Skills, and Abilities”.

NPR: Guitar Legend And Innovator Les Paul Dies

NYTimes: “Les Paul, Guitar Innovator, Dies at 94”

The Wrap: Obit: Guitar Hero Les Paul.

Gibson: The World Has Lost a Remarkable Innovator and Musician: Les Paul Passes Away at 94