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.
Was there shock?
Was there pushback?
Was it difficult to learn?
No, no, and no
Sounded awesome too. We were playing a straight 8th piece, I threw in a drum beat inspired by Drake. Now I'm pumped. What a breath of fresh air.
Goal setting is a great first step. Congruency is another.
Goals have to take into account your present reality. Reality cannot be ignored. Consider the following.
Sometimes some preparation is the first step on goal achievement.
A new blog: http://jazzdrumtranscriptions.blogspot.com/
This blog hosts transcriptions, charts, and drumbeats that I'm learning. It is part of an autoethnographic experiment in learning: learning by ear verses learning from instruction books. The notation is a record of this process. I still work from Syncopation and Stick control. I still take lessons. But I'm working a lot less from "how to drum books".
My thesis is this: that which we struggle by ear to learn will "stick better" and be easier to recall in performance because it engages our auditory, kinetical, and visual senses differently. From ear to hands, not eyes to hands is a different cognitive path. The finer points of musical interpretation cannot be notated. How would you notate quarter notes as played by Tony Williams or Terry Clarke and capture all the nuances of execution? You can’t. I will spend the next year on this project and see what happens.
I've reached the age where my cohort is retiring. Or, has been retired for awhile. There is tension.
Retirees top topics of conversation:
Attitude to time: Accountable to few. Laidback with occasional flashes of anxiety. La de la...
Musicians who are still in the game topics of conversation:
Attitude to time: Accountable, pressured. Excited, fully alive with occasional flashes of anxiety.
Avoiding burnout is a constant challenge. Sometimes we just have to step out. I'm just back from two weeks in the woods, fresh as a daisy and ready to... slowly get back into it.
Some additional strategies I employ.
“Gather ye rose-buds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying.” ― Robert Herrick
Another truism reaffirmed in New Orleans last week. Live your life now. You may be dead, sick, or disabled tomorrow.
As aging musicians with slowly deteriorating bodies, there is no time to lose to make the most of it. If there is someone you want to play with in your circle, call them. If there is a style of music you want to explore, start. If there is someone you want to study with, contact them. If there are unrecorded tracks in your head, track them.
As always a few good habits will add life to your years.
I home from New Orleans and the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Camp, I was drumming. What a great experience. I return with new insights on teaching jazz and maintaining a happy heart.
The bad: New Orleans is a study in contrast, wealth/poverty, happiness/despair and the smell of stale beer, urine and vomit.
The ugly: too much eating, drinking, and other nasty habits that lower life satisfaction and joy at every turn. I asked an instructor how he stays healthy to keep playing. He laughed bitterly, "don't do what I've done". A large percentage of my fellow campers are overweight, some morbidly so. Too many have an unfortunate relationship with alcohol and food, and an aversion to the gym. I mean they really drink a lot. Bloody Mary's for breakfast! Six beers before the jam! And, most of them are seniors.
What do I take away from this? A renewed determination to stay healthy through conscious living. And recount my blessings: my loving wife, sober friends, good health, stable self-employment, food on the table.
I'm back from the physiotherapist. I'll live, I've enflamed my rotary cuff. Duh, there is no fool like an old fool. Doubly embarrassing. Thank goodness I stopped before any permanent damage. What did it? Conditioning workouts at the boxing gym. What was I thinking. Apparently I wasn't thinking.
So, to quote the Bible, "to everything there is a season". That season has passed.
Update: July 4 I've recovered. A week of playing in New Orleans didn't do me in. Stretching works.
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.