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On Learning, and Music, and Programming

In high school, an amazing and kind old giant of a man named Mr. Bills found me playing guitar in the hallway during lunch hour. His soft, low voice slipped through the brambles of his impressive beard as he complimented my music and asked if I would ever like to play the cello. I was surprised—I had never noticed him before, and unlike the other adults in the building he was reaching out to me as a friend; as an equal. We spent the rest of that school year meeting in his small office at lunch as he taught me where to find the notes and how the bow could make them sing. Mr. Bills had such a simple way about him, a method of teaching undoubtedly carried over from his years of working with special needs children, where he would feed me just enough information to run with and then watch where I could take it. He was endlessly patient, and utterly confident in my abilities—at least, that’s how he let me feel.