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.
Deliberate Practice focused attention on the right things for a long time. A good working definition. As aging musicians, we might consider the following areas for focus:
"In one way, I think of myself as a tenacious loser. I mean, the Met was my 28th audition." Jason Haaheim, Principle timpanist of the Met Orchestra NYC. An inspirational story of commitment, dedication, and focus. A great read to start the day. http://jasonhaaheim.com/how-did-scientist-become-timpanist-met-orchestra/ He makes the important point to focus on the process not the outcome. Outcomes are the result of successfully working through the process.
Musicians and booze. Old school thinking that persists. Me, I never drink on the job. Ever. I won't hire folks who do either.
Back in the day, drinking was very common in the music business. Those who persisted are now unhealthy, incapacitated to varying degrees, or more likely just plain dead. Don, Bill, Kurt, Steve, my personal list goes on and on.
Imagine your child's grade school teacher proudly declaring that it helps them relax and get in the zone before class. Or lawyer, doctor, bus driver, etc. Unthinkable, dangerous, and the quick cause of sanctions.
I'm not impressed. If you are an alcoholic, you know it. Slay the dragon before it kills you, what's left of your career and/or family and "stay in the game".
"No fool like an old fool"
We could go on.
I think it is really important to compartmentalize our musical lives with the rests of our lives. Planning regular practice times and sticking to them helps. Learning how to practice effectively and healthily is imperative. Being easy on ourselves while effectively dealing with our goals is important or unpleasant consequences are sure to follow.
Ask yourself the following
Stretching has become one of my tactics to stay in the game. I play drums and piano. I practice daily, I play and jam regularly. I'm going to 58 years old this week. I'm still in the game.
For the past number of years I've attended the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshop in Kentucky. Full of weekend warriors who 3 days in, sometimes after just 2 days were already suffering. Stretching and proper warmups may have helped some, but not all the discomfort they experienced.
A word to the wise: Don't wait until you have inflammation and tingling fingers. Carpal tunnel, repetitive strain injuries and worse are no joke. You don't have to be a mature musician to suffer from these problems.
Social isolation as a musician is musical death, or at least a lonely purgatory. As we age the musical colleagues and scenes we were part change, die, or mostly likely, just fizzle out. Not a good situation. If you are a jazz or rock musicians who remembers the glory days of gigs, gigs, gigs, fun, fun, fun, $, $, $, you know what I mean. Most jazz fans are either dead, in the home, or too old too tired to go out.
Here are some thoughts.
Musician Hand Stretches and Warm Up
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.