1. Find new folks to play with. I did it a decade ago, it's taken me around the world. Got me out of more than one rut. The picture above is one example: Preservation Hall New Orleans, yep that happy guy is me.
2. Change instruments. I teach piano, I live for the drums. An instrument I took up over a decade ago. It changed everything. Made all the old jazz and rock repertoire I'd be playing for years new again.
3. Musicians don't retire, they just change bands. Good advice from a forgotten source. Just be gracious as you step aside into less demanding formats. The pressure is off, have fun.
4. Teach the younger generation. Be open to learn from them. Help them, but realize they are entering a different world than the one you are leaving.
5. During these times, the world's best are mostly sitting at home. Call them, book a class or two. They'll be happy to hear from you, you'll be happy to have met them.
6. Learn a new musical skill from a reputable source. Good deep. Check out Berklee online: Individual Courses | Berklee College of Music
7. Play music with your spouse. Suck it up, have fun. Especially if they are not professional. The feeling is great. I know firsthand.
Have a great year,
Let's play a game. Make a list of 10 musical adventures that would inspire you to get busy, get moving, and stay at it. Then pick one from the list and get going.
My 86 year old father just signed up for cello lessons, the first since high school. They are going well. He can barely speak of anything else. He called up the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and asked for a recommendation. He got one.
My wife, who will be retired when this is published, just completed her first violin exam at the Royal Conservatory of Music. It was a big success. She could barely wait to start the next level. See this link for a full description. My first violin exam - David Story Online Toronto Piano Teacher .
In the reality series "Travels With My Father, "daddy" is 80 and he's game.
So, if you are healthy enough to move, get moving I say.
I'm off to practice,
Meaning a Life. Shortly after the book appeared, the poet Michael Heller praised its sensibility in the New York Times Book Review: it “has that rarest of qualities in an autobiography, a story of lives refusing to be victimized by experience."
Easy for me to promote. I've a job, my health, my ability to still play, my social circles of musical colleagues, my hopes and dreams.
Regardless of those "privileges", we are ageing musicians. The circle of opportunity is closing. It's difficult to renew our fan base when our cohort is slowing dwindling and to potential younger fans we look like their dads or worse, granddads.
We Boomers are going out swingin', rockin', poppin' scrappin', and tootin'. No stopping us.
What have we overcome to keep playing?
(I've compiled this list from the experiences of my students, jamming colleagues, and jazz camp buddies.)
I'm going to go and practice.
Two generations apart, four decades, same message.
One day you just look inside yourself and say, "I've had enough", And then importantly, you take the steps and make the decisions that move you into a new positive re-direction. You work on building the relationships and infrasture that will support you moving forward.
In short, you take responsibility and address what needs to be addressed.
A recent release from Fade/Dissolve our cinematic noise trio
With my new updated 2020 playlists loaded with tracks of creative musicians half my age and who have none of my presuppositions, musical hang-ups, or history I'm going for a walk. A long walk, in a safe place, deeply listening to the tracks.
What is a good attitude in the midst of a pandemic?
I. Stay in touch with others. Especially musicians who are still practicing, staying sober, practicing safe practices. This has really helped me: Jamming with social distancing in safe spaces.
2. Stay physically active. Keep the endorphins up. A challenge for sure. I'm drinking way for much coffee.
3. Taking lessons gives us another reason to stay musically fit. I take weekly classes on drums. For piano classes twice a month plus an online teaching course here and there.
4. Explore alternative routes for your career. I'm exploring drum teaching. This is a creative industry, let's get creative, we have no choice. As someone wiser than me said, "you got your war". This is our moment.
An external link:
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.
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.
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.
David Story: Professional pianist, drummer, composer, and educator. Well into his 5th 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.