· A cheerful peer group to play with is a powerful motivator to playing music in our maturity. The power of association is a well documented phenomenon. Successful people hang with successes, juvenile delinquents hang with other delinquents. The mediocre flock together like lemmings.
· We need a serious peer group to maintain our focus, a difficult thing to do if our peer group(s) are a bunch of grumpy old farts. Or worse, grumpy old farts playing the same old same old.
· I remember in the mid 90’s playing with some old timers. I noticed a set list in the sax case of the band leader dated 1956! We were playing the list. Wow.
· Musicians need to play with other musicians. Good musicians need to hang with good musicians. Aspiring musicians need to hang with great musicians.
My cure for grumpiness: Get fit, change your terrible diet, take music lessons again, stop drinking so much, get some sleep, join a new band, take your spouse on a date, and update your wardrobe.
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.
David Story: Professional pianist, drummer, composer, and educator. Well into his 5th 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.