Fun gig tonight at Johnny D's, 17, Holland Street, Somerville! Show starts at 8:30 pm. Stanley and Grimm (Nikki Engstrom and Sean Brennan) are opening, and we follow at about 9:30.
Are we ready? Well, a significant gig at a great music club the weekend after Steve's 40th birthday party (two birthday parties, actually)? There have been fresher Tuesdays. But yes, we are ready.
So... three days at once, I'm checking in. It was a massively busy weekend with people around almost every moment. It has not been easy to carve out practice time.
The key appears to be schedule: doing it at the very same time every day. And first thing in the morning, for me.
Still ringing in my head are two important points:
1) It's music as a practice, not music practice. So that means retaining this unbroken ribbon of concentration, a music mindfulness. Even if it's not three hours a day, there needs to be a connection. The challenge may be specific to parenthood, I'm not sure. When there are young children in the mix, three hours a day is not really a possibility. But doing at least SOMETHING: that's possible.
2) Pat the Fabulous tells us: just pick up the instrument. If that's all you do, that's all you do... but the consciousness then has been retained.
Some friends of mine can't imagine going through a day without playing. And the payoff, of course, is that they are terrific, connected, accomplished musicians. They are blessed, I think, with the ability to be single minded. Focused. Clear. Then there are those of us whose glasses of water are a bit more muddy. You know, MUD. The background noise in your mind: work deadlines, worry over unpaid bills, anger at something that happened the other day, what shoes to wear to tomorrow's gig, etc etc... One benefit of practice is that it gets you to sit still long enough to let the mud settle.
Practice with a goal is good, but too firm a goal orientation subtly stirs the glass. Practice with a loose handle on a goal--but also practice for the sake of practice--that's what allows the mud to settle.