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.
Are you stuck in a creative rut? This is a common problem with musicians everywhere. Many of us were attracted to music in our youth. Most musicians are still stuck where every they jumped in But, the world has moved on. Over the last 100 years we have gone through:
A small sample of possibilities...
That being said, the other night I played piano in a trio jam. We played jazzy pop tunes from the late 1950s-60s. What a blast! But we did it in private. I believe it was successful because we were all in the same cohort, we are friends, we don't play this music often. And, it reminds us of our pre-music days as young children listening to music our mothers played on the radio. A private pleasure.
Take a shower... just kidding.
I divide my time in music making with my peers and a much younger cohort. Hanging with my peers is fun. But the stories are old, the set lists hoary. There are about times and people long gone. The youngsters on the other hand are either college age or in their early careers. They are in the process of creating stories not retelling them. They have fresh perspectives and up to date skills. A third group I hang with are the artists. This is new territory for me, a working musician. These folks have given their lives to their vision. I'm in awe of their intensity, skill, vision, and commitment to the muse.
Master musicians serve the music, amateurs insist the music serves them. There is honour in both, but amateurs must guard against mistaking which group they are in.
Last night I experienced both. Jazz Bistro with Mark Esinman? Served the music and audience. Professional display of skill and experience. Wonderful!
Jazz session with college students later in the evening? Grandstanding and showboating. A different experience. How does one make the transition from this to the later? They were fun to play with none the less.
I suggest they start with not smoking so much dope. Yikes!
Go younger, much younger. A thirty year old just sees and experiences the world differently. What ever you think you know about life, reconsider. You are likely incorrect.
I'm confident in only a few areas. And, that's mostly in my narrow business silo.
After that I'm ready for some new input.
Some examples that motivate me to seek out new perspectives.
So, how to find your own mentors and teachers? Look around your community and discover some skilled younger musicians, buy them coffee, and hire them to teach you if their ideas challenge you. At this age looking for someone to confirm our prejudices is not the way to go.
If you are blessed to have the privilege of going all in, life has the potential of being quite an adventure in the here and now. Some thought on going all in without ruining your life.
Cheers from grumpy,
If the bad attitude is coming from outside yourself and you are not the cause of it, plan your exit, life is short.
What if you've got the bad attitude? Good question. Time for reflection, planning, and execution. Life is passing by, time is irretrievable.
Bad attitudes can develop for any number of reasons.
My top ten list of activities to fix a bad attitude:
Staying in the game,
I will let smarter cookies than me figure this one out.
After I get enough sleep, exercise, practice, work, hang with my wife, attend to personal care there isn't much time left. My main personal care goal this year is not to get eaten alive by my teaching business. Toronto is a huge market, there is great demand for service. How to say no gracefully is a real challenge.
A piano teacher has to maintain and grow artistically over the course of their career. Or, you will soon no longer be in the game. Standards in the small town I used to live in where not so high. Here? They're high and the sky is the limit. So, I will meditate on this problem: grow artistically and stay healthy and happy.
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.