Keeping our musical thread going

Lots of great stuff going on here, and over the past few weeks I’ve experienced the same thing that many of you email me about: life can become too busy for us to get to our music (or, in my case, this newsletter) as often as we’d like. I’ve been performing and teaching around the clock, and also had a wonderful but unexpected project come up that kept me very busy.

When this happens to me, I try to remember what the true priority is: to keep our musical thread going.

If we can’t play music for 3 hours per day, then aim for 5 minutes in the morning or late at night.

Sometimes, it’s even about connecting with our dreams again after putting them aside for years or decades!

Case in point:

Two musicians whom I haven’t seen for 20-25 years reached out to me last week to work on projects together. These two musicians don’t know one another and contacted me independently, two days apart. One is a doctor who hosts jam session in his office one evening per week. I loved attending these jam sessions when I first moved to New York City, in 1989, but had to stop going to them when I began playing piano for Broadway shows. The other day, after literally decades, Steve contacted me and asked if I would like to come over and jam when I could. Of course I said ‘yes!’

The other connection was more roundabout, and it puts me back in touch with a great pianist whom I used to call to substitute for me when I couldn’t make a particular gig, and now he himself is looking for subs as he becomes very busy post-pandemic. After 20 years, it’s come full circle!

Currently on tour:

Another long-term “keeping the thread going” event involves the musical group Genesis. After a career that began in the late 1960s, this legendary “progressive rock turned pop” band has reunited for their farewell concert tour. Reflecting on them lately, I’ve noticed more than ever before how influential their keyboard player, Tony Banks, has been over the decades. Banks has influenced everyone from his fellow progressive rockers to Eddie van Halen to Ozzy Osborne and even, to my ears, Kanye West. (Kanye has sampled music by King Crimson so progressive rock is certainly on his playlist.)

Here’s a video of Tony Banks playing his iconic composition “Firth of Fifth” during a recent performance:

Genesis Live Sept 20, 2021 Birmingham UK

After hearing that, you’ll notice the inspiration behind Eddie van Halen’s keyboard solo on “Jump.” The solo begins at 2:30:

Van Halen – Jump

So even when things get busy (and that can be a great thing!), let’s remember to keep our musical thread going. After all, that’s sometimes all we can do and yes, it will lead to more and more music when we do have the time to pursue it as fully as we wish.

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”


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