I don’t know about you, but I have had a rocky relationship over the years with the idea of commitments. Im my musical life, there have been times when I was so excited about learning and playing music that it was not a conscious decision to commit myself, I was just in the game and enjoying the hell out of it. That was great till that scene dried up and I had no real strategy to make something new happen.
I have friends who seem to just naturally set goals, make commitments and just keep motoring ahead. For them, motivation is a verb. Something they do, not something they wait for.
Chuck Berry: “As I was a-motivatin over the hill, I saw Maybelline in a Coupe De Ville…” Get moving, and you will find someone or something that excites you…
Anyhow, back to these people I know who are major musical adventurists and achievers…. goal setters, people who make and keep schedules, i gotta admit that they inspire me and the older I get the more i question the “don’t fence me in” musical philosophy that ruled my youth.
I started playing once a week with a blues band in State College PA, the Triple A blues band. Friday from 7 – 9 at a place called Zenos. Your basic basement college town old school tavern. Dark wood chars and tables, long room with a low ceiling, hundred year old Penn State posters behind plexiglass, chili, sandwiches, fries, all kinds of beer.
The guy who started the band, Andy Tolins, has been doing this gig for about 20 Years. He is a monster multi instrumentalist and on this gig he plays slide and electric guitar and sings. Stubby on Drums, Jogo on bass, JT on keys. I never know what these guys are going to play next. I do know that if I show up and start playing, I get inspired.
Many years ago there was a guy called Jack the Poet here in State College, and he was a big inspiration to a lot of people who were trying to stay sober. Jack was one of the worst drunks ever and somehow he managed to come back from the brink and keep his job as a writing instructor and live out the last part of his life as the kind of guy who just made you feel good to be alive. Every time I saw him speak in public he always said one key phrase: “action before motivation”. He would tell the story about getting up in the morning full of aches and pains, hardly able to move, and then suit up and go play tennis. By the end of the game he was a new man, limber and able to walk with glide in his stride.
I wrote the phrase “action before motivation” with a sharpie on my Conn Strobotuner years ago and stare at it every day when I tune harmonicas. Jack the Poet lives on in my harmonica shop.
So – there you go – I’m planning on being more inspired, cause it will be in my schedule.
Thanks for reading this!
PS – Stay tuned for details on how to get a free sample of my new, completely rebuilt course on the foundation skills for playing the harmonica. This new approach gives you a way to absorb scale degrees, pentatonic and blues scales, and will show you how to uncover new power in your breath control and timing…