My Musical Influences

As a kid growing up I was involved with lots of extra curricular activities including sports. I played soccer for 6 years and football for 4 years. But I also got injured a lot. So one day when I was 16 years old, I remember watching MTV (back in the day when all they played were music videos) watching a music video by the band Whitesnake and their song ‘Still of the Night’. I vividly remember watching the guitar player named Adrian Vandenberg play this slithering guitar riff followed by him holding his guitar like a violin and playing it but sounding like a cello. I was mesmerized.   


I begged my parents for a guitar that summer. They eventually rented a nylon string classical style guitar for me to see if I would stick with it.  For 6 months I dutifully practiced on that instrument. Then that Christmas they bought me a red Fender Stratocaster with an amplifier. I was in love. I locked myself in my room for hours learning all kinds of rock, blues, and even some jazz.  


Some of my earliest musical influences were on guitar and included the following bands/artists…   



Def Leppard 



White Lion 

Bon Jovi 

Van Halen  

Steve Vai  

Joe Satriani  

Stevie Ray Vaughn  

Eric Johnson  


The list goes on and on.  


This was my world for 4 years, until I was well into my college major and discovered not only did I have to be proficient on guitar but also on piano. During my course work I studied music theory levels I-IV and class piano levels I-IV side by side. My music taste began to change and mature as I began to study classical composers like Mozart, Romantic Composers BeethovenChopin, and Impressionistic composer Debussy 


But it wasn’t until I was 20 years old and sitting in a piano class when I discovered a music style that changed my world forever: the modern/contemporary piano style.  


I remember sitting in the back of the class with all the other newbies and hearing the more advanced students sitting in the front playing the most beautiful piano music I’ve ever heard. I asked who it was and they said “Madre De La Tierra by David Lanz”.  I asked, “Who is David Lanz?” So I went out and bought a songbook and a CD, (keep in mind this was before the internet) and the rest they say is music history.  I put down the guitar and switched to piano.  I was exposed to so many great artists in my early 20s including… 


George Winston  

Suzanne Ciani  

Jim Chappell  



Jim Brickman  

And the list goes on and on.  


Over the years I met David Lanz a few times and finally in 2009 and 2012 my world came full circle when I performed some concerts with this living legend. Someone I now consider a colleague.   


Life is funny sometimes.  


I hope my story inspires you. To remind you that it’s never too late to pick up that guitar, get that piano or keyboard you’ve always wanted to learn how to play but never did. 


Here’s to new adventures!  

Happy playing!   


Philip Wesley  

Solo Piano for the Soul


2018-01-18T11:35:48-06:00 February 15th, 2018|