We had the good fortune of connecting with Wayne Riker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wayne, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Preparation, punctuality, confidence and enthusiasm, respecting the music of all styles I had to learn and perform, never telling anyone what I can’t do in meeting each challenge with excitement while always staying positive and energized. I realized early on that if you don’t challenge yourself, you’ll never improve. Whether it was a positive or negative experience, I took each challenge as a teaching moment to improve my abilities and learn from the many excellent musicians I worked with in myriad genres of music. My favorite quote was always present in my journey: “the road to success is littered with failures.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
At nineteen I decided to make a career in teaching guitar and playing gigs as my full time occupation. Now at seventy years old I’ve accomplished all I set out to do with no regrets, checking off all on my bucket list of goals including recording a dozen Cds under my own name, worldwide publication of ten blues guitar instructional books, featured instructional columnist in Guitar Player, Premier and Acoustic Guitar magazines, playing on the Princess cruise line and teaching thousands of students privately, in secondary schools and summer guitar camps around the globe. Mission accomplished!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Anywhere in San Diego County, my home the past forty years, lots of choices to enjoy in “America’s Finest City.”
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A thirteen year old guitar wunderkind that lived in my apartment building in the Bronx, Dion Grody, who started me on my journey on guitar, teaching me my first chords and popular guitar riffs in 1966. Dr. Unicio Violi, my college advisor, who encouraged me to pursue my musical goals and skip graduate school and so many inspiring musicians I worked with over the years that challenged me at every turn with tough love to reach my full potential, thank you Marc Sussman, Al Alpert, Laura Lieben, Walt Riker, Pete Ramos, Dave English, Les Wise, Roberta Linn, Ninnie Brown, Phil Shopoff, Fred Lanuza and Bill Doyle.
Facebook: Wayne Riker
photo 1: Nick Abadilla (upper left) photo 4: Dennis Andersen (lower right)