Rodney Wiltshire: A Lifelong Love of Music

20211006 203304 scaled

South Troy, NY, is where Rodney Wiltshire was born and reared. Rodney Wiltshire initially resided in the Troy Hill Apartments on Thompson St. He was a patrol leader in Lad Scout Troop 502 when he was a young boy, which aided in developing his leadership abilities. He also played little league for South Troy. Rodney Wiltshire grew fond of the outdoors during this time.

The Troy Record later hired Rodney Wiltshire and his sister to deliver papers. He also served as a lifeguard and pool supervisor at the South End Pool.

Rodney Wiltshire attended public schools in his neighborhood, including School 16, Doyle Middle School, and Troy High School. Rodney Wiltshire contributed to the student newspaper while he attended Troy High School. He participated actively in music and the high school musical each spring as an actor.

Rodney played as a running back and a jumper for the Troy High School football and track teams, earning letters in both sports. Rodney Wiltshire attended Cornell University after completing high school, where he majored in Electrical Engineering and received a Bachelor of Science degree.

Rodney Wiltshire had a fruitful time at Cornell, where he excelled in music, theater, sports, and academics. During his college years, he developed many of the abilities and experiences he would use later in his profession. Rodney Wiltshire’s academic background gave him a strong foundation for problem-solving, teamwork, and perseverance in even the most trying circumstances.

Rodney Wiltshire lettered in both football and track & field while playing for Division 1 Cornell. In addition, he made a lot of lifetime friends from his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, during his time there. He still keeps in touch with many of them.

Rodney Wiltshire began working at an engineering firm in New York after graduating.

Rodney Wiltshire has been passionate about music throughout his life.

What is your favorite hobby?

I really enjoy music. My interest involves more than just listening to it, but also studying different musical styles and experimenting and creating music as I go. I really enjoy playing guitar and practicing songs I do know and some that I even don’t know. Music has always been a fascination of mine, and any opportunity to immerse myself in it and create something musical really is an enriching and cathartic experience. 

How did you get started with it?

I think my interest in music really hit a high note around middle or high school. It was then that avenues and opportunities started opening up not only for studying music in more depth but exploring its possibilities, its transcendence, and its potential through performance. I was very involved in music during this crucial period, and perhaps the pinnacle of that involvement was the annual high school musical, in which I acted and sang each Spring. It really opened my eyes. 

Tell us what you love about it

Whatever its form or genre, music has the power to touch people in truly personal and meaningful ways. It’s an expression of feeling, of intellect, and the energy and vivacity of life. Music says things in ways that are often hard, if not impossible, to express through other methods. I really enjoy the transcendental nature of music and how just the right tone or beat or melody can transform a scene or experience into something more. Whether it’s as the performer or the listener, music carries a transformative quality and power that, at the right wavelength, can turn the prosaic into the profound, breathing new life and perspective into ourselves and, ultimately, what it means to be human. 

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

Over the years, I’ve spent money on a number of music-related items, including books (musician biographies and genre history/studies, mostly) and instruments, etc. I’ve purchased a few guitars in my lifetime, and I have an acoustic I bought a few years ago that still handles pretty well.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

I don’t shop a whole lot, but when I do, I prefer to shop locally for musical gear. I like to support local shops and business owners when I can. This includes local music equipment outlets, shops, and sometimes even thrift stores and bargain places, which often have hidden gems. If I really need a piece of equipment or guitar accessory or something, I’ll browse one of the chains, but that doesn’t happen too often.  

How much money have you invested into it, and how much should a beginner invest to get started?

Over the years, at least with guitars, I’ve put some money into it, but not really much. It wouldn’t amount to much, particularly since it’s been spent over a few decades or so. With other music items, maybe a few hundred dollars, give or take. If you’re really into music and creating and performing, there are ways to avoid spending too much and still get a great deal out of your instrument or item. Good equipment maintenance and an eye for good deals can really help stretch your budget. 

It’s hard to say what a music beginner should spend these days to get started. I think it really depends on your personality, level of interest, the type of music and equipment, your time commitment, etc. I would definitely recommend talking to musicians or enthusiasts in the niche you’re interested in to get a better idea of the cost.

Are there any good books for beginners interested in your hobby?

For guitar, I would say the updated “Hal Leonard Guitar Method” edition by Will Schmid is a pretty good introduction. For those interested in music at a somewhat higher level, say, the realm of music theory,  “Groove Alchemy” by Stanton Moore, and “Singer’s Toolbox” by Mark Baxter hold up pretty well.

How has your hobby changed your life?

I alluded to it earlier, but I would have to say I’m just not sure where I would be if I hadn’t discovered my passion for music. I’m an engineer by trade, but music has always provided a source of solace, catharsis, exploration, energy, and even guidance that brought no end of peace and understanding to my life. Listening and performing music has opened doors and shown me things I would never have dreamed of otherwise. 

What advice do you have for others just starting out?

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different instruments, genres, styles, or tempos. Music is such a wide open, expansive field, and there’s so much to learn and enjoy and find inspiration in. Some of the best artists and creators out there have found their calling just by tinkering and playing and trying new things just to try them. 

Are you involved in Social Media? If you are, please provide the links below:

  • Facebook:
  • Instagram:
  • Twitter:
  • Linkedin: