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.
Preparing to practice is the space between our intention and playing the first note. My ideal routine?
A couple of my friends of retirement age are still playing up a storm. And in the game. Why?
They both responded similarly, "what and sit around all day waiting to die?" I agree, let the grime reaper catch us on the bandstand, or packing up.
That being said, being prepared just in case is a good idea.
Bernie 1970s era coach, Mark 2020 coach.
Lowell Whitty working on my NOLA funk and swing
Jackie working on my classical phrasing on the piano
Terry Clarke, a constant source of inspiration since I was a kid.
A lot of research has been done on children's motivation and educational outcomes. It seems that allowing increasing choice to students as they age and supporting those choices in positive ways leads to better overall outcomes. Click on the picture above for more information.
At our age we need to understand these four types in order to stay in the game. The psychologists seem to agree the first two types of motivation are the strongest and most important to a positive outcome in any activity. Nagging from others and our own indifference are motivational suppressers.
Intrinsic motivation comes from knowing yourself. Self-determined extrinsic motivation comes from knowing what's good for you. In other words, education.
How to keep demotivation at bay? Here are some possible ideas.
I've been enjoying "Breakfast with Vinnie!" a podcast with the incomparable Vinnie Colaiuta. I'm now all fired up to hit the practice room. Listen here: https://breakfastwithvinnie.com/
My coach and I have planned a project. Finalise my list of memorised jazz standards at the piano. I've got 10 days to memorise and present 5 standards he has chosen. This has been an ongoing project I've been working on myself. Time to supercharge the effort.
Here are the steps I'm taking.
Create a list of jazz drumming tunes, a "greatest hits list" and get busy there as well.
My daily practice of classical piano repertoire is going well. I'm feeling much more confident in that department.
Sometimes you just got to step back and regroup. It's time to spend some time in the woodshed and rethink business, drumming, and piano practice. I need a new strategy that fires up my enthusiasm going forward into the new decade.
It may be time to pivot.
My mentor drummer Terry Clarke says it all about time and keeping it simple. Amen to that. This past week I filled in for an ailing drummer in a local big band. Two plus hours of full speed sight reading. Swing, second line, funk, ballads, and blues. It was a reminder of the importance of the basics and fundamentals of drumming and playing music in general.
What I learned.
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.
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.