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.
Top ten tips for a great attitude
Time Power: The best book I've read on the subject.
A recurring theme in my studies of middle age technique rebuilds is the importance of good posture.
It is encouraging to hear from musicians after a career threatening injury. Injuries caused by bad technique catching up with overuse. In this five minute audio interview drummer Terry Clarke talks about his rebuild in his 50's.
Main take away: Good posture is the first step.
Biography of Terry Clarke
300+ Jazz albums
For more info. www.canadianjazzarchive.org/en/musicians/terry-clarke.html
After Big Sid some blazing time broken up in smaller sections. Max is his mature years, still blazing.
The 90+ group
The 80+ group
What do they have in common?
Have they had a life of clean living?
Nope, many of them have lead hard lives: booze, drugs, jail, IRS problems and more
Do you have good genes?
If your parents lived to 100 they've given you a genetic advantage.
As we all know lifespans have increased greatly over the last century due to advances in health care, clean water, better and more nutritious food. Not to mention a great reduction in childhood diseases. But, as the following science article makes clear longer lifespans due to medical advances don't correlate with aging well.
So, the obvious conclusions to aging well as a musician I drew from this article and my own experiences?
"Things ain't what they used to be" Mercer Ellington
That's for sure. But, I'm encouraged by the numbers of mature musicians who are active and healthy. I plan to be one of them.
Some of habits that I hope will help me stay in the game.
Practice regime drums
i.Monday Jazz band practice, total 2 hours plus.
ii.Tuesday rudiments and very light practice, total 30 minutes.
iii.Wednesday is lesson day with Terry Clarke and Rock band practice, total of 3.5 hours.
iv.Thursday is practice day at home, 1 hour. Once a month I attend a Jazz jam and play about 30 minutes
v.Friday another practice day at home, 30 minutes.
vi.Saturday afternoon, optional hour if time allows.
vii.Sunday another practice at home, or jamming out, 1 hour.
viii.Total hours: 10. 5+ hours a week
Practice regime on the piano
i.Monday to Friday about 30 minutes a day
ii.Saturday afternoon, 1 hour
iii.Sunday 1 hour
iv.Plus, about 2 hours of professional reading a week
v.Total hours: 6. 5 hours a week
That is a lot of wear and tear on a 57-year body. So, I’m going to bed and hitting the gym early in the morning.
Coming up: A conversation with Terry Clarke, drummer extraordinaire. The interview has taken place, I'm busy transcribing it.
Exercises for musicians. There are sites on-line full of info, The Musician’s Survival Manual is one.
A quick look on YouTube will reveal lots of other viewing choices. Longevity in musical performance is going to require stamina and good physical fitness. To last we are going to have to be in shape, or we risk injury and premature retirement. Having been down this road myself a few years ago I offer the following thoughts.
Possible big reason list:
A possible paradigm shift here. Assume for a moment this is correct. What would be the consequences of such a belief? Let's think about the training of professional athletes over the course of a career.
A professional musician often has a longer career, thus their bodies train many more years and hours than the greatest Olympian. Most professional athletes are done before grey hair sets in. Not too many middle aged flabby guys and gals running around the field last time I checked on TV. But, down at the local concert hall… Different story.
Consider the following areas and the role these play in training and maintaining a healthy athletic body.
I promise to quote the sources of what I find.
Feel free to chime in.
Hope is not a strategy. This is a blog celebrating action. The kind of effective action that follows careful deliberation and reflection. Which may have been brought on after an unsuccessful, or discouraging experience in the practice room, stage, or gym. We are grownups after all. The time of fooling ourselves is necessarily over. Because, guess what? Time is almost up.
I'm looking forward to exploring this topic in some depth. Feel free to join in. But, now it is time for bed. Tomorrow I've two jams to attend. One as a drummer, one as pianist.
Here is an interesting start to our explorations: Time management
Premise: Practice time is precious and very limited. It's limited by the limitations of our bodies, and demands on our time from life. Therefore wasting it with non-deliberate practice is counterproductive to our goal: playing as well as we can with the limitations we now have.
Step one: Taking stock. "How do we spend our time, when we are in the practice room? Do we carefully plan out the time, or do we jump willy nilly from one activity to another. It has been claimed that 90% music students play a piece through once, not even stopping to correct mistakes. ( http://www.escom.org/proceedings/ICMPC2000/Sun/McPherso.htm )
Tactic: At your next practice simply record yourself on your phone. Just put the recorder in the corner and forget about it. Later in the day listen back. Ask yourself this:
1. How did you spent your time?
2. How focused were you really?
3. How do you really sound?
4. What did you really accomplish?
5. How did you really work on problems?
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.