Monthly Musings – May 24, 2017

My last blog

I have been writing these blogs for about ten months and I think I have said just about everything I have to say about music and a few other things. I have always been a pretty organized person and don’t like to leave unfinished business. So, at some point, if I am no longer able to write a closing column, I want it to be already written. I can’t help it, that’s just the way I am!

As I approach 80, I sometimes wonder if I should subscribe to any magazines! Hah! I’m not really serious. I am generally healthy and I look forward to every new day with enthusiasm. I wrote a senior blues though. The lyrics begin, “Woke up this morning, so what do I have to be blue about?”

I recommend trying to live in the moment so as not to miss things that are happening each minute of each hour of each day. Sure, it’s good to look ahead and anticipate certain things and it’s also natural to reflect on our memories. But life unfolds in some amazing ways that are best experienced as they go by. If I could foresee the future and tell you where and what you will be doing even five years from now, you might be skeptical and not believe it. My career has been a series of opportunities that I chose to take a chance on. Each one was gratifying in certain ways and a learning experience that helped strengthen my conviction about what I ultimately wanted to do. Even though I taught at North Texas for 35 years, while there, I continued to pursue new possibilities in relation to my job and continued to learn more about the music I love called jazz. I have also continued to listen to and learn from the classical repertoire for a broader perspective and balance..

Here’s a thought about problems. Though they can be difficult, problems that arise in our lives are often opportunities for growth. They may require patience and tolerance of other points of view but they ultimately lead to increased understanding of yourself and others. I think we can all stand to improve in our ability to get along with others.

Most tunes that we like to play as musicians contain problem areas that require solving before we can sound good improvising on the harmony. The standard repertoire of songs from the Great American Songbook and jazz compositions have shown that, as we identify and solve problems in a tune, we improve our understanding of music in general and that tune specifically. We start with easy tunes in familiar keys and not many chords and gradually work through more challenging material. This growth process is the work of a lifetime and, if we are applying ourselves, we can realize a great deal of improvement. We’ll never be perfect but we can aspire to perfection! I love a quote from the great football coach, Vince Lombardi. He said, “Perfection is not attainable but, in the pursuit of perfection, we can attain excellence!”

It has always been my opinion that we should all be both student and teacher our whole lives. You never finish learning everything about any subject and, at the same time, you have something to share with others that may be helpful to them. We have all received help from others and should give back when there is an opportunity. Pay it forward! Life is fascinating and always full of potential. It is an amazing opportunity to be given the chance to live, grow, learn, share, and hopefully realize our full potential as human beings. It has been quite a ride so far and I am loving every minute of it! I wish you all a fulfilling, positive life experience and many hours of great music!

p.s. There is a possibility that these blogs will become a book. Stay tuned

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10 thoughts on “Monthly Musings – May 24, 2017

  1. Very enjoyable reading, Dan. It’s good to be able to say I know you, even though we haven’t really seen or spoken to one another in person more than once or twice since the mid-60s when we both were much younger and much less further along on our respective journeys through life and musical careers.

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    1. Thanks, Cal. I still hold you in a position of high respect from our relationship many years ago. The basic nature of people doesn’t really change, even over many years. As far as I am concerned, you are one of the good guys!
      Best,
      Dan

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  2. Thanks again for the post Dan. Enjoyable reading. As I was working on my boat, now that the weather is nice, I thought I might just get it in the water this Summer – ( my wife has been after me for years to sell it ). Then I thought – you know it dosen’t matter if I do or don’t (get it in the water ), what matters is the enjoyment I get out of fixing it up! What counts in life is the journey, not the prize.

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  3. Living in the moment and being thankful for waking up every morning are key concepts to a happy life, uncomplicated by self defeating angst. Being blessed with both creativity and the willingness to share and serve as an example makes you a very special human being. Thank you.

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