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.
It is possible to be doing all the right things to succeed but realise you've planted your garden on the wrong plot of land. To continue the metaphor, the plants look sickly, or worse refuse to show their heads. What then?
Change your environment.
Same effort, different soil=different results.
Five things you can do.
Sarcopenia "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass (0.5–1% loss per year after the age of 50), quality, and strength associated with aging. Sarcopenia is a component of the frailty syndrome. It is often a component of cachexia. It can also exist independently of cachexia; whereas cachexia includes malaise and is secondary to an underlying pathosis (such as cancer), sarcopenia may occur in healthy people and does not necessarily include malaise. The term is from Greek σάρξ sarx, "flesh" and πενία penia, "poverty".
A quote from the NY Times article: In 1988, "Walter R. Frontera and colleagues at the Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University demonstrated that 12 previously sedentary men aged 60 to 72 significantly increased their leg strength and muscle mass with a 12-week strength-training program three times a week."
Conclusion: To maintain our ability to play over the long term we need to be healthy enough to pick up our instruments, get out the door, and survive a few hours of playing. Twelve weeks of strength training, at any age, apparently does wonders. So does a healthy diet, proper rest, and social contact.
See you at the gym.
I’m bored and embarrassed with my musical groups. Time for a shift.
Periodically a musician needs to reassess their commitments and direction. For me that time has arrived. I’m bored of much of what I’ve been doing musically here in Toronto. Some preliminary thoughts and principles to guide deliberations.
1. No going back to relive past glories. I’ve changed, but the world has changed even more.
2. It must be congruent with my marriage and work. Not a time to screw this up.
3. If I’m not proud enough to invite my friends and clients, forget it.
4. It must make me stretch to make it a worthy use of the precious time I’ve got left on this planet.
This past summer I spent time in New Orleans studying Traditional Jazz with Gerald French which culminated with a performance in Preservation Hall. This was followed up with a trip to Poland to study mainstream jazz with Ali Jackson of Wynton Marsalis fame. We played at the Vertigo Jazz Club, a beautiful well attended old fashioned jazz supper club. The first group: old, second young. Both group of musicians could really play. It blew me away. I really had fun. It was an endorphin explosion. I haven’t had so much fun playing music since college 40 years ago. It has given me the confidence and desire to try some new things. So, what shall I try?
One of the most exciting musical weeks since college 40 years ago. Ali Jackson was inspiring, tough, and encouraging. And, the young musicians I played with challenged me to the limit. Playing with bassist Luques Curtis at Vertigo Jazz Club was a highlight. After hearing him play with us, my wife remarked, "Oh, that is what all the bass players are trying to do". My dignity is intact.
Poland was beautiful, sophisticated, and friendly.
The jazz scene in Europe is as robust as ever. Young musicians can actually aspire to be jazz musicians.
Lastly, it was very exciting to meet and play with so many Russian musicians. Who knew there was a thriving jazz scene in Moscow.
Ten adults and one teen of different skill levels recently participated in their first "jam" in Toronto. We went to a real jazz club, locked the doors and drew the curtains. We hired a professional bassist and drummer.
They were excited, nervous, and pumped. They'll all be back in the fall for round 2. They learned a lot, starting with "real Jazz" is intense and loud. And, really really fun.
Good examples for us all on stepping out of our comfort zones.
What keeps us going for 40 plus years? Good question. The money? Partly. The attention? Partly. The social community? Partly The challenge of staying sharp, staying in the game? For sure. The shear joy of making music with our friends and colleagues. Yes, yes, yes.
Great quotes from the Guardian today: Full interivew here
After 15 years of retirement and a divorce she re-launched at 65. Her advice?
1. Stay fit early in life.
2. Get a facelift, "“They bought me an extra 10 years.”
3. Dating. “I love men, I’m not done with men, but I’m done with marriage and dating.”
4. Stay young by taking a leap of faith into new projects. "You don’t always land in the right place, but you sure do learn things. It’s good for the heart.”
An inspiring interview about aging well, staying in the game, and to hell with what people think.
I think the greatest challenge of modern adult life is keeping life simple enough to stay sane and healthy. Without simplicity it is impossible to maintain a practice regime, health regime, and build relationships when we are bogged down in distraction and unnecessary crap.
Student/Us/Me need reminding of the following order of priorities:
As a teacher of adult music students the following complaints come my way on a regular basis. Notice that family responsibilities are not on this list.
Forty one years ago I was getting ready to attend Berklee College of Music. I was pumped with adrenaline, piano fingers ready to play, my scores in a bag. The next few years were a blur of rehearsals, classes, and adventure.
One professor who stood out among the giants was a young Andy Jaffe. Our paths have crossed numerous times since then, most recently in New Orleans at a Jazz Education Network event. He is still at it, I'm still at it. More evidence on the power of associations to inspire and prod us into a lifetime of musical action.
Thank you Andy.
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.