We live large in the catastrophic click bait age. It's only going to get worse. Count on it. Louder and shriller.
So, how do we turn off without turning inward?
I haven't the friggin' foggiest idea.
An ever-present danger. Giving up, settling early. This past year has been unprecedented. Most people have been inconvenienced. Some though have been deeply affected by job loss, illness, or death.
Assuming you are in the first group and not the second how do we proceed and stay engaged in a world of imagination and action?
‘Ne supra crepidiam judicaret,” meaning, ‘Let him not criticize above the sandal.’ Apelles
Ultracrepidarianism is the giving of opinions and advice on matters outside of one's knowledge.
A real danger in aging.
Closely followed by the Dunning-Kruger effect.
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from people's inability to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their level of competence. From Wikipedia
Given the above, what can one be sure about? Not much. On the other hand, quite a bit we remember the shoemaker folly.
I know how to:
What's on your "I know how to" list?
"Someday soon bands, choirs, and orchestras will gather together again. the conductor will signal for the first note to sound, and musicians will remember it's hard to read music with tears in their eyes." Anonymous internet meme
Forty five years ago Linda, my girlfriend, and I travelled from North Bay to Toronto to take in the spectacle. This past week I was teaching a 5 year old how to play along on the drums.
Life is exciting.
Lessons from a Master teacher
Effective Practicing For Musicians By Benny Greb Book Review
It arrived, I've read it, I'm about to try it out for 90 days and see what happens to my drumming.
Benny outlines the rationale of organized practice is a humorous and unique way. The preamble until you get to his EPM systems chapters is good sense and common knowledge among professional musicians. But it gets interesting with his practice system.
Let's start at the beginning.
Organizing your practice space. He recommends imagining the setup of your perfect space, then assess your situation and arrange you space as close as you can to this ideal. I can now say my space looks different. I'm up and running now with 3 flicks of switches, boot my DAW, load the preset and Bingo, I'm ready to go. Books are in place, pencil and journal are ready. Up next a kitchen timer, I'm going to use an old iPhone for this purpose. Benny Greb has some true insights into learning.
1. Quickly name your favorite musicians of your instrument.
2. Now note what you admire about each of them.
3. Now consider your top 3 choices.
4. Now rate yourself 1 to 10 on your skill with the qualities you admire in their playing. Do not give yourself a 5.
5. Now when you practice, practice those to improve those qualities.
6. Buy his book.
Stayed tuned for the results of his 90-day practice regime.
A musician's career goes through a number of periods
1. Student: learning the craft and skills needed to make your mark
2. Neophyte: finding a place to get started
3. Journeyman: paying the bills, dodging distraction
4. Leader: making our mark
5. Teacher: helping the next generation
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,
Artist or Musician?
At the risk of an oversimplification: Artists create and lead, musicians execute and follow.
Art is about nourishing a unique vision, developing a creative imagination, the courage to persevere in the face of apathy, and craft. All the while keeping the Zeitgeist front and centre. And hustle, lots and lots of hustle.
Being a musician is about skill, teamwork, employability, gear, more skill, and the willingness to serve.
The training does share some similarities, but the outlook is completely different. Artists are often mavericks, employable musicians are always team players.
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.