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.
Cognitive overload: Too much information, not enough context, too little time to process and reflect= stress, from the resulting inefficiencies in holding information in our memory for later retrieval.
A good example for musicians in memorizing music. Apparently as we age, we lose abilities with working memory. Memorizing becomes increasingly difficult.
How do we improve our working memory? It's complicated, but decluttering the mind might be of help.
Ten things to help lower this stress to free up our processing power, so to speak.
I am sitting in North Bay Ontario looking at the lake through a hotel window. Damn it is beautiful. I'd forgotten how beautiful Northern Ontario is. Inspired by the Netflix series, “Cardinal”, I’m revisiting my old haunts in “Algonquin Bay”.
Yesterday I had a coffee with a former co-worker from Music City, where I was employed over 40 years ago.
What a great time reminiscing on old times, forgotten bands, dead musicians, our youth with all its ribald triumphs, failures and near misses. I am feeling reenergized and full of beans going home today. It was a good idea to reach out. Thank you, Bob and Mike!
This morning on my way out of town I will be having coffee with an old blues player, whom I jammed with around 1976-77. We’ll talk blues and music. I don’t know the guy, but I do know his work. And, I remember fondly his playing.
Time is short, if there is someone from the past you want to play with, get on the phone and reach out. Time has passed, they will likely say yes. If you need to patch up some things from decades ago, it’s time.
Louis Armstrong is reported to have remarked, "musicians don't retire, people just stop calling". Then we move into community groups of various sorts. Rarely do we hang up the horn completely.
Over the last decade, as a both pianist and drummer, I have played in:
In these settings I have met countless career musicians. Long after the roar of the crowd has dimmed, we are still at it: playing, jamming, practicing, and swapping tall tales.
We the musicians.
Three months of reflection during isolation has yielded valuable insights.
I am sure you have gone through a similar experience.
So, I am still practicing. I also have sought out younger musicians to learn from as well. I am working out safe jamming practices/spaces for piano and guitar trios to meet.
The cinematic noise trio Fade/Dissolve will continue to produce work and post it online. Our newest work drops soon.
I will be taking a live online class in adult education next month. I am reading, creating, dreaming, and scheming.
It is going to be ok, but it is going to be different.
What's the coolest thing that could happen to your musical life in the next five years? I've answered this question, have you?
Performing live is over for the foreseeable future. Going to any kind a show prior to either the virus dies out or a vaccine miraculously appears is done like dinner.
Time to reimagine the future.
What's not happening?
What can happen?
Perhaps too many of us are. And, maybe we don't give a shit either. But if you feed yourself from music in some way, it might be time to get up to date.
I teach piano. Classical and Jazz piano play lists are stuck and rarely move. Bought a new book of modern piano music. Turns out many of my adult music students are hip to the artists therein.
With Dad and Granddad bands, playlists can be just as stuck. So, I've engaged a drum teacher half my age and asked him to show me his world. Staying as fresh and open as I can.
Your high school track days are over. Remember that as you consider how to maintain fitness after 60. Recovery is neither quick nor easy. So, rule number 1 is don't get injured. Rule number 2 is seek some professional input before starting to exercise again if you have been inactive. First stop is your doctor. No point dropping dead in the first week.
Here is the recommendation for a seven-day cycle: 6 days of activity, one day of rest from Dr. Stuart McGill is professor emeritus in Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. He's our age, these are his recommendation. Check out his article on the CBC website. https://www.cbc.ca/life/wellness/how-to-change-your-fitness-routine-to-stay-strong-and-mobile-as-you-age-1.5471940
Day one: strength training
Day two: something else, like biking, walking, something to "get the old ticker going"
Day three: mobility training
Day four: something else
Day five: Strength training
Day six: rest
Day seven: mobility training
Day one: Something else
Day two: strength training
Day three: something else
Day four: mobility training
Day five: rest
Day six: Strength training
Day seven: Something else
and so on
I’m going to try this new routine over the next six weeks and see what happens.
Reach out and stay connected. I've sent and received a number of messages from friends and music making colleagues this week.
Jim and I had a coffee date on Zoom to talk jazz. A little awkward to start but good none the less.
Pete and I agreed that after this passes we will reconnect and play some music after so many years apart.
Tim and Rory and I are in contact. We all miss the monthly jazz trio sessions.
William, Gordon, and I continue to make our "Cinematic Noise" videos via file transfer.
It all helps.
How to live in the moment. Shaan, age 4, is learning to rock on in the midst of everything that is gong on. His dad loves KISS, so we are playing appropriately titled etudes as he learns skills at the piano. Music he can show off. He doesn't see work, he doesn't feel stress, he sees fun.
Maybe we should be learning some new music that gives us the same thrill. Think way back, which piece of music from your youth do you wish you could play?
Now time to get busy, dust off your ax and jump right in.
Apparently age 50 is the golden year to join or form a "dad band". This explains a lot. The proliferation of collectable instruments as a start. Pros are not buying the expensive boutique guitars, pre-amps, snare drums. They are mostly broke. Fifty-year-old lawyers with dad bods and rekindled musical passion are. Online video lessons reach out to the same demographic. As do jazz camps, rock fantasy camps et al. I know, I've been. The "campers" are predominantly male and skew heavily to ages below 25 and over 50. The before and after children crowd. All have exquisite instruments.
Why do fifty-year-old women not do the same? They know better. Someone said they run marathons. But I digress.
For a hilarious take on "Dad Bands" and inspiration for this blog post check out this link to "The Debaters Podcast"
I realise that lately I've been drumming in a lot of "Dad Bands" and "Grandpa bands". Oh boy. People I haven't seen in 30 and 40 years are in these bands. "Hey Dave, where have you been?" My response is always, "super, whom am I talking too?" I remember young men.
I'm reconsidering my next move. My 85-year-old mother tells me I'm not ready for this, I'm still making a living as a professional musician. I should wait until the time is right, she says. Good advice.
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.