"Without desire, there is nothing to work with"
So much proverbial ink has been spilled on the topic of motivation and motivating the unmotivated.
"Intrinsic motivation is motivation that is animated by personal enjoyment, interest, or pleasure. As Deci et al. (1999) observe, “intrinsic motivation energizes and sustains activities through the spontaneous satisfactions inherent in effective volitional action."
Author: Emily R Lai
Cited by: 83
Publish Year: 2011
This is an interesting article for all musicians and teachers. Some of the research driven theories covered include the role self-belief or " self-efficacy plays in success. Self-efficacy is the “judgments of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations”.
And, the role of the desire to achieve an end for it's own reasons and the desire to impress, or draw favorable attention to one's self. As stated in the article, "mastery goals" or "performance goals". Intrinsic and extrinsic.
Regardless of the type of or nobility of the the desire, the strength of the desire leads to action or "volition". In other words getting off one's butt and moving forward in the belief it is possible.
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards to be born?"
The inevitable lockdown is coming. Cases are soaring, too many people are ignoring health regulations through selflessness, willful ignorance, fear and stupidity.
Our return date to the rehearsal room, concert hall, teaching studio has been pushed back again. My guess until the late spring, early summer. Vaccines or no vaccines.
My take on coming out the other side. I will be:
“Flexibility, improvisation, practicality, and the ability to recognize and respond to changing environments”
Two generations apart, four decades, same message.
One day you just look inside yourself and say, "I've had enough", And then importantly, you take the steps and make the decisions that move you into a new positive re-direction. You work on building the relationships and infrasture that will support you moving forward.
In short, you take responsibility and address what needs to be addressed.
It's starts with imagination. It's fueled by initiative. It perseveres through leadership, courage and singlemindedness.
Another fine place which discusses adults is here: Harvard's Project Zero.
My two cents?
Stay inspired, learn something new
When you are young study with the old. When you are old study with the young.
The young need to discover a path. The old have been down more than one. The young need encouragement, the kind that comes from being surrounded by experienced successful people.
The old need a new point of view, renewal. Let’s face it without renewal our stories get older and staler each year.
“I used to be great”
“I coulda' been a contender”
"I coulda' been a contender" Marlon Brando as "Terry Malloy"
Spent some time working with Blackmagic Design's Resolve today. Video editor. With the help of YouTube I've made some progress. I've learned how to add, crop, mix, and chop video clips, add cards and put in my own audio. Watch out Luis Buñuel. Seriously, this is going to work. I want to be able to add some polished videos on my sites and for my students.
Mark Kelso gave us a fine example of his skills with his students the other day. Click on the photo of the kids to listen.
They will remain nameless, because I love them madly.
1. Showed up regularly with booze on their breathe. It was a small room man. Did you think I couldn't smell it?
2. Distracted, with better things on their minds than attending to my needs. Yikes!
Now on to the great and influential who must be named:
Ali Jackson. He gave off a quiet confidence from his enviable track record of recorded performances with the world's finest musicians across genres. His message? Serve the music and make it feel good, real good.
The bassists and drummers met with Ali. We were paired off together and one group after another played time for Ali and the rest of the class listened. My partner was a young musician from Austria. To say we were pumped was an understatement. Ali counted off the time, it wasn't slow, and off we went. It was one of the most intense musical experiences of my life.
Then he asked the class, "what do you think?" They are responded with this comment and that. We stood there and took it on the chins.
Ali came to our defense. "No, they locked up the time, it felt good, they stayed in their lanes, I liked it"
The bassist and I walked proud for the rest of the week.
All the drummers are in the room together. One after another we played this simple pattern, I played the piano for some of the drummers. When it was my turn, Ali played the piano for me! What fun we had!
What a simple pattern. Did we all make it sound good, inviting, and fun? Nope. Only one quiet German in the corner and Ali made it sound cool. The rest of us were stiff, rushing, dragging, floundering around in subtle ways. Lesson learned. Keep it simple, make comfortable and inviting for the other musicians to play on. When I played with Ali on the piano, it was like floating on a cloud.
My question is this, “is this possible as an aging musician to reinvent one’s self and persevere long enough to succeed in a new direction, or are we forever stuck with the play lists of our youth?”
With the forced timeout from the pandemic, now maybe the best time to make a move.
Here is a short list of artists who have reinvented themselves at least once in maturity.
“Growth comes from stepping outside your comfort zone” Dawn Staley
Easy when you are young. Harder when you are old and comfortable.
Dream for a moment. Don’t worry if time is short, better to die in the saddle on the trail of a new adventure, than stuck in a chair staring at the wall.
The mask was awkward in the beginning, now it is a key part of playing safe. Other protocols include playing in a garage with the doors open, and physically distancing.
Winter will put an end to this soon. We will pick it up in the spring.
This will take work. Work that will get more difficult as this things drags on.
First things don't wait for the government to solve your money problems. Taking a temp job will be better that sitting at home underpaid on government benefits waiting for a miracle. Even a temp job that pays the same as benefits. It gets you up, dressed, and out of the house, or at least interacting with humans on some level. This has got to be better than sitting alone at home stewing in our own juices.
Secondly, seek professional help, we all know in our hearts that we are looking at another year before any kind of communal music making and audience gatherings are allowed. The vaccine will need to work and then be distributed widely to a reluctant and skeptical population to do its possible magic. Ask your doctor, union rep for ideas and possibilities.
Thirdly, take care of yourself. Sleep, exercise in sunlight, eating nutritional meals, and staying sober will up one’s chances to cope.
Fourth, take online lessons or classes if you can swing it. I find this helpful. I interact with my drum tutor weekly, piano tutor bi-weekly.
Fifth, stay close to your friends. Have online coffee meetups, or coffee in the park on a regular basis.
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.