Tommy Emmanuel: Lessons From a Guitar Virtuoso

Bob Baker

Tommy Emmanuel is amazing in so many ways.

Certainly, his virtuoso playing ability is one of the main things that put him on the map and allows him to wow fans and gain respect from fellow musicians.

However, there is another element to his success that shines through in this TED Talk video.

Early in it, Tommy says …

“I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet. I get to make a living doing what I love. People ask, ‘Are you in the music business?’ I call it the happiness business. I play music and you get happy. That’s what matters to me.”

Isn’t that an awesome perspective to have?

Sadly, I hear few artists describe what they do in this way.

Watch the video and/or scroll down to read some of the powerful comments he makes toward the end of the video …

At the end of his TED Talk, Tommy reads a letter his wife helped him craft. Here are some of the highlights:

For me, the real critics are my fans and my audience. When they laugh at my bad jokes, when they cry at my ballads, and when they share stories that involve my music, it touches my heart so deeply, and I know I’m doing the right thing.

My music has been played at weddings and funerals. Others have learned my songs and make their living playing like I do. My music has brought life to Alzheimer’s patients, willpower to cancer survivors, escape for grieving families, and joy to people’s daily drive to work.

I hear these stories, and I know that music goes beyond what we see, hear, and feel. There is some innate sense that gets triggered by it.

There’s another point I want to make here, and it’s one of the things that has enabled me to live the dream life — in other words, to do what I really love and achieve my goals.

Chet Atkins once told me that I am the most fearless player he ever met, and I think that being fearless is a huge part of breaking molds and raising self belief.

There were many times in my life when people told me that my plans were rubbish, that I was crazy, that I would fail. But I ignore the critics and I keep working to make my show and my life better and better.

Music brings people together, and I love being a catalyst for it. So I play my shows. I meet my fans as often as I can. I answer their questions on my forum. I read the Facebook comments. I upload videos to YouTube for them to enjoy. I continue to tour around the world and take my one-band band with me.

And just remember, folks, that life is not a rehearsal. So you better get on with it.

I love his attitude! Which leads me to ask …

  • How fearless are you to pursue your goals and forge new paths?
  • How dedicated are you to spreading happiness and serving your fans?

I’d love your thoughts on this!

Please leave a comment, give this article a clap or five :) and share it with someone who would benefit from reading it.

This is Day 27 of my 30-Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Listen to an extended audio podcast version of this article here:

Bob Baker helps musicians, authors, artists, and creative entrepreneurs use their talents and know-how to make a living and make a difference in the world!

Listen to his Creative Entrepreneur or Music Marketing podcasts.

Check out Bob’s books on Amazon and follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

He also creates affirmation and guided meditation recordings on his YouTube channel, Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, and other platforms.

Bob Baker

Written by

Bob Baker

I help creative entrepreneurs make an impact and a living. I’m also a coach who creates music, affirmation/meditation recordings, visual art, and improv comedy.

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