LIVE in THE SPOTLIGHT
- How to practice: exploring strategies and tactics in an aging body through book reviews, interviews, personal anecdotes, with the goal of staying happy, healthy and focused.
- Attitude: what it is a good attitude, how does helps us to learn and persevere, which daily tactics help us to acquire or keep a good one, what to do if yours needs a tune up?
- Metacognition: what it is, what it can teach us about learning, resources for study, conferences, and in practice.
- Intrinsic motivation: what it is, how it helps us to learn and persevere as we age, how to help those we mentor with theirs.
Many musicians dream of the day when they can hang up the day gig and get back to music making. I wouldn't wait, I'd do it now. Even in a small way: like joining a jam group once a week. Or a church group. Life has a way of surprising us.
Two true stories.
Musician dreams of playing again. Retires and joins a band. Spouse not happy. Conflict and stress. Spouse was not ready for this new focus. Musician starts missing band practices, band not happy.
Musician dreams of playing again. Retires and joins a band. One year into retirement gets cancer and presto, lights out.
Musician dreams of playing again. Before retirement arthritis sets in. Game over before it starts.
Carpe Diem, seize the day.
Dan the amateur golfer who set out to make the PGA from a standing start has crashed and burned after 6000 hours of practice.
"Dan McLaughlin is an American commercial photographer who quit his day job to become a professional golfer through 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Using this method, he created a plan known as The Dan Plan. Wikipedia"
What happened? In short, his body said no more, he threw out his back.
The pundits are weighing in. Check out the Atlantic monthly or GoldWrx articles. Sobering reading to those who believe anything is possible with hard work.
Here is an early article in Success magazine.
Here is my take. He is not a failure, but a great success. He plays in the top 1% of golfers. That is a triumph in my books.
He shot for the stars and hit the moon.
He talks about his injury in this video.
1. Make a list of your responsibilities and obligations.
2. Log how you spend your time for a week. Jot down everything. Dog walking, sleeping, commuting, Netflix, Internet, etc.
3. Ask yourself, “if I stopped doing this would anyone notice?” Or, “is this my responsibility in the first place?”
4. Create your stop doing list.
5. Execute the list.
Voila, you just gained some time.
What could you do with it?
3. Make love to your spouse
5. Play music with your friends
These activities will help your playing.
Taking time to avoid burnout is a mandatory in this modern world of over stimulation and insane working hours. We are bombarded thousands of time a day for a minute of our attention. We stress about our "brand", pumping out content on social media, managing relationships at work, planning ahead, practicing to stay in the game, composing, teaching, driving, jamming, texting, posting, blah, blah, blah. Time for a break, or my great attitude is going to get a little worn down.
So, I'm taking a month off of work. I'm gonna hang around and do very little except sleep, exercise, read, meditate on my priorities, and do maintenance practice. My first priority will be my wife. She needs a less distracted husband who is fit and cheery. It will be good.
Now the book.
First: I suggest getting on Brad Stulberg's twitter feed @BStulber He is his own best reviewer. The content on this feed and in this book can save your life.
In short: Get more rest. More rest=increased productivity.
At the 25 minute mark he talks about composing technique. Knowing how to realise your musical vision. Learning how to control your musical resources. It's all about being a student of music throughout your life.
Stories have playing with Gene Simmons and Stephen Stills at his school's fundraiser is worth the wait. Bob Dylan stood them up.
In my opinion the whole interview is insightful, inspiring, and hilarious.
I'm back from another week at the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshop in Louisville Kentucky. My 5th visit.
For a music educator specialising in adult students, it is informative for the following reasons.
My attitude is now adjusted for another year.
To be grateful for a career well played is one of the consolations of aging. A good project for a rainy day is to list all the memorable moments of your playing career. The good, bad, and ugly. Follow up by searching and contacting some of the survivors.
Possibilities include former musicians, band leaders, agents, club owners, and fans. Tell them you were thinking of them. Retell the stories together. If they live close share coffee and swap impressions. It's worth it. They'll love it, You'll love it too, I promise. Everyone loves to be remembered.
Your career may not have soared to the level of the Funk Brothers, but I bet they are just as colourful.
Gary Burton Calls It a Career
“It increasingly makes me uncomfortable when I go out on stage and I don’t feel as confident that I’m going to have a great night,” Burton says. “I’m starting to have moments — what we call senior moments. I have them sometimes when I’m playing. I suddenly forget where I am in the song. So, for a few seconds I’m fumbling and having to guess where the heck am I, how do I get back into it, and so on.”
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article135228289.html#storylink=cpy
And he has heart problems too.
So, he decided to call it a career before he either drops dead on stage or makes an ass of himself. In other interviews, he mentions other Jazz Legends who overstayed their welcome and played way past their ability to maintain their dignity: Oscar Peterson, Dizzy, and others.
I too have witnessed first hand some indignities. A senior band director going headfirst into his music stand. Another, so blind he couldn’t follow the score. Poor man proud to the end, fumbling with the score in front of 60 embarrassed friends and colleagues.
We owe it to our fellow musicians to stand aside, both for our own dignity and the integrity of the music and our legacy, big or small. We don’t want people to say of us, “they used to be great”.
Until then folks, get some sleep, curb the booze, take a walk, practice, hang with friends, write some music, play some gigs and have some fun.
Why are musicians luckier than most people?
...most people get to die only once.
Music gives us a chance to test our reliance in the face of disasters, big and small. Here is the story of a small one.
Last weekend I performed in a street festival here in Toronto, playing drums in a classic rock band. Let us count the challenges.
Forty five minutes later it is mercifully over. The bass player remarks, "you didn't sound like yourself today?"
Gary Marcus' short video introduction to learning something new. He explodes the idea of 10,000 hours. But, he reiterates the importance of correct practice habits, commitment, and bias for action.
Another good example, that you can participate in, is the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshop in Louisville Kentucky this summer. Each year hundreds of adults from around the world gather to play jazz together. Some are beginners, some are pros. They are all obsessed with learning to play jazz. Starting at 8 AM and going to 11 PM, they chase the jazz rabbit. A truly thrilling and inspiring bunch.
David Story: Professional pianist, drummer, composer, and educator. Well into his 4th enthusiastic musical decade, David works with adults pursuing musical dreams in the autumn of life, while he maintains an active presence in the Toronto arts scene.