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Classical Snack, Opus 2404

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still life painting of a woman in the background playing the piano and colorful fruit in the foreground

You’re Not Special

“If you were ever going to be anything special in music Mr. Wimmer, you’d already BE special by now. You’re not special. Please do yourself a favor and find a major that will give you a happy life.”

I was nineteen when my piano professor told me, “You’re not special.” It was the reason I changed majors from music to business. The next fall I found myself in Accounting 201 instead of Music Theory 201.

What a mistake. Although I respected my fellow business majors, I knew business wasn’t for me. I had no passion for debits and credits. My passion was for downbeats and codas. Finally, after being kicked-out of accounting class one day for falling asleep, I trekked up the hill back to the spooky old music building that overlooked the campus.

The Director of the School of Music was a kind man. Within minutes, he had me re-enrolled as a music major. He said, “Mr. Wimmer, you’re a musician, not an accountant. Anyone who knows you knows that. If you want that happy life, do something you love.”

So, there I was back in music school. This time with an attainable goal. I would work to become a public-school music teacher. It felt right. I ended up graduating successfully and went on to have a 34-year career teaching just about everything in music at one time or another – from kindergarten to 12th grade, including band, chorus, general music, marching band, jazz ensemble, theory, high school musicals, and I even taught music appreciation at the college level for a few years.

I guess it all boils down to what you believe it means to be special. In my case, if being special means becoming a world-famous artist who performs Carnegie Hall recitals, then no, I’m not special. But if being special means sharing something you’re passionate about with others and bringing them some happiness in the process, then I’m incredibly special . . . and lucky. I got to do it all those years as a teacher, and now I get to do it in a different way as a host here on WNED Classical.

As a retired music teacher, I see former students everywhere I go in Western New York. They remind me of things that happened in our classes and rehearsals years ago – and always with big smiles and laughter. Oh, the happiness they bring me now! I’m so glad my former students remember me with smiles and laughter . . . not for telling them, “You’re not special.”

Marty Wimmer

Marty Wimmer is your Midday Host on WNED Classical. He’s been with WNED since 1995. Recently retired from a long career as a public school music teacher, Marty is thrilled that he still gets to talk about music every day. He lives in Buffalo and is grateful for the many good friends he has in our local classical music community. You can reach Marty at

Marty Wimmer