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.
Dan Holstein, my former business coach, created this short funny explanation of why splitting our focus is self-limiting.
What did I learn from Dan the business coach?
Within a short period my finances stabilized and with my new outlook have remained robust for a decade.
Thank you Dan.
We are musicians. We wake up thinking about music, we hum it all day, we practice, we hang out, we compose, jam, and gig. It's been like this for an exceptionally long time. (For me 47 years.) There never was a serious plan B. We were in early, committed and obsessed almost immediately. We sought out others like us, banded together and made music. Some good, some not, some successful, some failures. Undeterred we soldered on.
We never imagined where music would have taken us. Some of us played locally, others regionally, provincially, nationally, and for a few internationally. We've shared stages with the famous, the infamous, the hopefuls, and the hopeless. It was all good in hindsight.
What is the source of our ambition? What continues to fuel us? Good question.
"The smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd"
Eventually this will come to an end. The body will give out, desire may die, or more pressing responsibilities will assert themselves.
What to do?
Why do adults advise their children to find the safe path in life. Rarely have I ever met a parent who, to my knowledge, said, "Johnny or Sally, do something heroic with your life, be courageous, get your shit together and go for it" Not too many.
One of my former students is finishing up a short tour in Europe with her Feminist non-binary punk band. I'm impressed. Really impressed. I've know her since she was 5 years old, she was determined very early. Parents were behind her all the way.
What makes Willy Nelson run? Eighty six years old and still touring hard. Tomorrow night he appears at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA with Tennessee Jet. 730 PM
Here's my best explanation.
He loves his fans.
He loves the love.
He loves the road.
He loves his musicians.
He loves the music.
If he wasn't touring he just be an old man in a home telling everyone about when he used to be great.
He's going out with his boots on and ass in the saddle.
It was friggin' awesome. We had the best seats in the house, right at the stage. Piano left, Sax centre, drums right. Our feet resting on the stage. Place didn't look like it changed much since I last visited 40+ years ago.
James Francies has a left hand I used to dream I had but didn't. He was played left hand bass on a synth and soloed on another synth with the right. Complete independence. Except for blistering tutti breaks with both hands. Paul Bley spoke about playing a synthesizer at the Vanguard in the 1960's and never being invited back. I guess they got over it.
Christ Potter was Chris Potter, unsurpassed skill.
Eric Harland is truly a drummer for the new century. No spang a lang for him. Two high hat set ups plus a high hat stack. Small strange cymbal combos, four pedals behind the kit. One highlight among many was his drum ensemble work. One man, one kit sounding like drum circle of world class drummers having a party.
I learning that it's important to check the sources of our knowledge in the autumn of our careers. So much of what we think we know, just ain't so. If it every was.
"With all the knowledge of the world on the internet how can there be so many stupid people?" Ronny Chieng comedian
I've been working with some colleagues on my piano playing in the Jazz and Classical styles. I may have been saved just in time. Many, but not all, of my assumptions have been tested and found wanting. From the origins of Gregorian chant, rootless voicings, phrasing Mozart, bebop licks, and accents in Baroque keyboard literature. Nothing like fresh perspectives served on a slice of humble pie.
2020 will be an exciting time of woodshedding.
I was reading the comments for this video from the younger set.
1. I love your “old school” approach to recording
2. Tasty tasty tasty playing ..... mint feel.... loads of old school playing!!
3. Sick shit! Ol skool yummy fusion! Incredible playing Thomas!!!
Damn, I'm thinking what masterful modern playing. Apparently I need help just to catch up to 1990!
"One more chance to get it right". Maybe our last chance. Time is short, let's get busy.
When evaluating a new opportunity, it's either "Hell Ya!" or forget it. That quickly narrows down the possibilities.
Time to mediate on our choices over the last 10 years.
I'm pleased I have only numbers 1,3 to contemplate.
Best choice? Get married
Bad choice? Projecting onto a young whipper snapper "Great expectations". Youth and ambition are seductive. Of course the ending was bad, he was a lazy bastard. Oh well, live and learn. As Henry Ford, I believed said, "you can't make a reputation on what you are going to do".
Healthy New Year,
Preparing to practice is the space between our intention and playing the first note. My ideal routine?
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.