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The Richest People on the Planet are probably, very happy people. Oft times, they are not, because having MORE does not necessarily give true meaning to your life. Beauty and Love and Happiness are far more valuable than having a lot of Stuff.
Last time we talked about Quantity verses Quality.
I related a story or two about how some musicians approach playing their instruments like they were running a race,....the faster you can play, the better a musician you are.
I still stand in awe, as a player, at other musicians whose fingers can burn and burn, playing those licks on those records that they learned.
I found, early on, however, that my ear-hand co-ordination was just not good...and THAT shortcoming bummed me out early on, in dedicating a lot of time on getting really fast and smooth on scales and chords and arpeggios and riffs in hours long, daily practice. I just didn't get better fast enough to be rewarded with noticeable improvement. Besides, I wanted to play, not practice. The only people that get paid to practice are Medical Doctors.
I made up for it by getting real good at improvising and composing songs and tunes in all styles and combinations of players....
I was working with a band leader at the time of that story I told about Carlos, the guitar player, and Tommy, the Sax Player; let's call the band leader Stan.
I was relating what had happened to Stan the night before while we were at one of our regular gigs in a little 2nd floor nightclub on Broadway Avenue in South Phoenix.
I asked, rhetorically, how anyone could have the guts to play a solo, right after Tommy had just played a solo like a cyborg from the twenty-seventh century....in other words, how can you feel like you have anything left to say, on your instrument, when the performer before you has already said everything that can be said, musically speaking?
Stan scratched his goatee and surprised me with an answer. He said, “Roger, after all those musical athletics, you just wait a couple of bars and let the music go by, then you play one long sweet note, then you play a couple of little notes to connect to another long sweet note...and you squeeze every bit of beauty out of each one of those long sweet notes as you possibly can...and I guarantee you that you'll move the audience to tears....always...”
Stan was one of those handful of very wise men that have changed my life with just a sentence or two......
In this case, he changed me from fretting that I was never, and probably would never be, good enough in that More-is-Better world. He replaced that concept with “Strive-for-Tone”. Strive for beauty. Strive for your own way of saying things. Strive for quality. Strive for Uptown Funk. Playing with Passion will always be remembered.
And this change stayed with me in all I do. Creating something beautiful, became one of the points of my life, rather than comparing how I was doing to someone else.
In other words, I changed from striving to be better than anyone else on the planet, to being just as unique, important, and precious as anyone else on the planet.
And re-framing one's life in this way has life and death consequences.
Later in my life, I played a solo saxophone gig at a major hotel in Hawaii. It was a cocktail party before a main ballroom event where patrons from the convention, staying at the resort, were entering the hall on two floors.
I was on the lower floor main door, just playing what they call pop standard melodies as the people came in, embellishing a little, here and there, and another Sax Player, let's call him Kimo, who I played with occasionally at other events, played the upstairs door.
Now, I could hear Kimo playing as the Island Breeze wafted the sound downstairs, you know, in the distance. Kimo was a warp drive, a hundred notes a second kind of player, and frankly, I would forget to play the next note of my song because I was in such awe of the intricacies, how he made it sound so easy, and complexity of his embellishments of the melodies he was playing. I felt like a 3rd grader who loved the idea of dinosaurs listening to a paleontologist undergrad lecturing on the fine points of the mating habits of the pygmy tyrannosaurs.
Then the man who was writing us our checks came out to me...and asked me to come inside the hall to continue playing and sent Kimo home. I was at first dumbfounded. The other player was clearly warp-drive better, in my own estimation, yet the guy in charge of the event chose me and my stick-to-the-melody-and-play-sweet-tones type of playing.
A couple of months later, when I didn't see Kimo at one of the other gigs we would normally play together at, I was informed that he had hung himself in his bedroom, his practice room, by a ceiling fixture and his parents were the ones that found him....
I'm not saying that the hotel gig had anything to do with his demise..........
Listen, it's all about the way you frame the world. And this may be a matter of life and death. And, of course, the quality and enjoyment of your gift of life.
Every human on this planet is important, unique, and precious...an individual expression of the Infinite...with a capital “I”. And YOU...are just as important, unique, and precious as anyone else on this planet...and you need to know this, to live this, deep down in your Innermost Mind...
And this is one of the most important things to your Inner Most Mind that we cover in our sessions at:
YOU...are just as important, unique, and precious as anyone else on this planet...and I will SEE you next time....