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.
Forty one years ago I was getting ready to attend Berklee College of Music. I was pumped with adrenaline, piano fingers ready to play, my scores in a bag. The next few years were a blur of rehearsals, classes, and adventure.
One professor who stood out among the giants was a young Andy Jaffe. Our paths have crossed numerous times since then, most recently in New Orleans at a Jazz Education Network event. He is still at it, I'm still at it. More evidence on the power of associations to inspire and prod us into a lifetime of musical action.
Thank you Andy.
The power of association
I was reflecting today on the power of association on learning outcomes. Over the past 8 years of my drumming journey I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the most inspiring musicians imaginable. In lessons and workshops, these drummers had the expectation that you would master the material and get a world class sound. They helped you believe, that with enough effort, this was in reach. They all stressed fundamentals, no fancy shit or tricks, just working on your time, tone, and your knowledge of repertoire through listening and jamming. They all inspired me to push through personal limits and self-limiting beliefs. While at the same time, kicking your butt if my head got too big. They created an interesting brew of humility and ambition in me.
· Terry Clarke
· Gregory Hutchinson
· Paul DeLong
· Ed Soph
· Bassist Rufus Reid
· Trumpeter Bobby Shew
New Orleans Traditional Jazz Camp: How to prepare?
How exciting! Nine weeks to go until NOLA. How to prepare is the question. I’ve never really played this type of music. Though, I do love it. I have jammed, in the distant past, on piano with local musicians, including Jeff Healey.
Traditional Jazz is the music of joy. Nothing too heavy here: party, party. Terry Clarke is helping me exploring the modern New Orleans music of Johnny Vidacovich.
The instructor at the camp is Gerald French. His work online is solid and colourful. It will be exciting to hang in “Nola” with the locals and fellow enthusiasts jamming, learning, and taking in the place.
A lot of talk about keeping it fresh by seeking out opportunities to play with younger musicians. But, sometimes it is good to play with your own cohort. Jamming tonight with guys in my age group is like wearing your favourite set of clothes: it fits, it's relaxing, it's undemanding, it's fun. Jamming with your peers is naturally musical 'cause they know the tunes. You can shoot the shit without offending, they will listen to your old war stories and they laugh at the jokes.
Chick does it
Hiring younger musicians to keep it real. I'm not hiring anymore, but getting out there and jamming with younger musicians is fun. A couple of tips, some of which I've learned the hard way:
Victor Wooten Metronome Exercises: Let's get our timing together with these hair raising exercises. Good luck.
To quote Nike: Just do it. But, staying enthusiastic takes some work. Sometimes the vegetative state, induced by Netflix binging, is seductive. Some tips:
"Mulligan", the do over. Is it possible at 50, 60, 70?
I found myself in a dramatic do-over at 51 through divorce. Worse than broke, I was in a negative equity situation. Thinking about the possibility of starting over wasn't a choice. Up and at 'em was my only choice.
Less dramatically, can a musician change direction or continue to contribute at a mature age?
Yes and No
It is probably too late to pursue a career as an idol to teenagers and young adults.
It is probably too late to take up the violin at 60 and with plans to attend Julliard as soon as you get it together on your way to world domination.
Some dreams are the stuff of youth.
What is possible in later years? Lot's if you are healthy, bold, thoughtful, determined, energetic, and committed to excellence and learning some new things.
Here are 10 things a musician can do after age 50
This list comes from either my experience or the experience of others I've known. My list includes #1, 2, and 9. Previously #3 and 5. Upcoming? Playing with those two guys up above and trying my hand at #7.
Commercial gigs are sparse these days, thank god. Thirty two years of that was enough. Creative music shows with interesting people? Going full on. With that in mind I hired some A+ Jazz musicians the other day and recorded a session. I had so much fun I'm saving up for round two.
Swirl is a tune I wrote, enjoy.
St. James Infirmary is an old tune I love to play.
“Tell me what you listen to, and I’ll tell you who you are.” ― Tiffanie DeBartolo
As musicians we are who we listen to.
Have a great week of listening.
What I'm up to this week. Saturday February 10th 8 PM Array Music 155 Walnut Ave.
Toronto, ON, Canada M6J 3W3
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.