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.
Apparently age 50 is the golden year to join or form a "dad band". This explains a lot. The proliferation of collectable instruments as a start. Pros are not buying the expensive boutique guitars, pre-amps, snare drums. They are mostly broke. Fifty-year-old lawyers with dad bods and rekindled musical passion are. Online video lessons reach out to the same demographic. As do jazz camps, rock fantasy camps et al. I know, I've been. The "campers" are predominantly male and skew heavily to ages below 25 and over 50. The before and after children crowd. All have exquisite instruments.
Why do fifty-year-old women not do the same? They know better. Someone said they run marathons. But I digress.
For a hilarious take on "Dad Bands" and inspiration for this blog post check out this link to "The Debaters Podcast"
I realise that lately I've been drumming in a lot of "Dad Bands" and "Grandpa bands". Oh boy. People I haven't seen in 30 and 40 years are in these bands. "Hey Dave, where have you been?" My response is always, "super, whom am I talking too?" I remember young men.
I'm reconsidering my next move. My 85-year-old mother tells me I'm not ready for this, I'm still making a living as a professional musician. I should wait until the time is right, she says. Good advice.
What a lot of fun last night with this bunch. Drummer was away, I gave it my best shot. In recovery this morning.
It is interesting to meet up with guys you played with 30 to 40 years ago. Where the hell did the years go.
Self worth theory"The self-worth theory posits that an individual’s main priority in life is to find self-acceptance and that self-acceptance is often found through achievement (Covington & Beery, 1976). In turn, achievement is often found through competition with others. Jul 4 2019" Reference: positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-worth/
"The effort an individual puts in for the maximisation of academic competence to protect self-worth is often defined as a “double-edged sword”; while it is an essential factor of success, it can also result in feelings of worthlessness and incapability if one fails. To avoid the conclusion of incapability and hence maintain self-worth, some students choose to use defensive strategies such as putting in less effort and setting low standards towards the event of evaluation. These strategies, which support the maintenance of self-worth, are called self-handicapping and defensive pessimism respectively. "
Self handicapping, what an idea. As a music teacher I've often seen this phenomenon. Students who say they want X and then promptly charge of in the direction of Y.
The video above from Nic Voge outlines "self worth theory" that tries to explain the issue: underachievement as coping strategy to avoid stepping out of our comfort zone. After all, if we are going to reach our potential as musicians dealing with procrastination is paramount.
Enjoy the video.
I'm off tonight to introduce myself to a new bunch of musicians in the Loretta Hale Big Band. Damn they rehearse late: 930 PM to 1130 PM. I'm playing piano. It will be fun. It's been years since I've played big band on the piano. I'm happy to go. (I've brought my ear plugs for the sound levels I anticipate)
This opportunity is a great chance to revisit the basics of aging and staying in the game.
Loretta posted on Facebook, I was the first to respond I guess.
Wish me luck,
Some commitments are given to us. Being adults we deal with it. Other commitments are optional. Choosing whether to accept or decline optional commitments can be tricky. Some advice I live by, more or less successfully.
I turned down a band this week. Nice bunch of folks, but it just didn't feel right for me at this time. Perhaps in the future, but not right now. Which is too bad, it was a fine band, just awkward musically for me.
Now that we have prepared to practice, let's start with a question or two. What do we want to accomplish today? Is this doable in the time we have available? Do we understand what success with sounds like?
In drumming I follow the following general outline.
Dan Holstein, my former business coach, created this short funny explanation of why splitting our focus is self-limiting.
What did I learn from Dan the business coach?
Within a short period my finances stabilized and with my new outlook have remained robust for a decade.
Thank you Dan.
We are musicians. We wake up thinking about music, we hum it all day, we practice, we hang out, we compose, jam, and gig. It's been like this for an exceptionally long time. (For me 47 years.) There never was a serious plan B. We were in early, committed and obsessed almost immediately. We sought out others like us, banded together and made music. Some good, some not, some successful, some failures. Undeterred we soldered on.
We never imagined where music would have taken us. Some of us played locally, others regionally, provincially, nationally, and for a few internationally. We've shared stages with the famous, the infamous, the hopefuls, and the hopeless. It was all good in hindsight.
What is the source of our ambition? What continues to fuel us? Good question.
"The smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd"
Eventually this will come to an end. The body will give out, desire may die, or more pressing responsibilities will assert themselves.
What to do?
Why do adults advise their children to find the safe path in life. Rarely have I ever met a parent who, to my knowledge, said, "Johnny or Sally, do something heroic with your life, be courageous, get your shit together and go for it" Not too many.
One of my former students is finishing up a short tour in Europe with her Feminist non-binary punk band. I'm impressed. Really impressed. I've know her since she was 5 years old, she was determined very early. Parents were behind her all the way.
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.