Thursday, April 8, 2010

Takin' Care of Business

Ya know, sometimes motivation and free time in which to be productive do not occur simultaneously. Like right now. I have 26 minutes in which to write a blog entry about yesterday's song and send a few emails, and I'm kinda not feeling it. Same thing goes for practicing, more often than not. As soon as I sit down to practice, I think of ten urgent things I have to do, like look up that travel book on amazon, and throw away last week's tuna salad and eat another cookie. Overcoming the urge to get up and tend to my little mental illnesses while I'm supposed to be practicing is really hard.

So that's why I get a teeny bit annoyed when someone's reaction to my being a pianist is, "Wow, you must be so talented. I wish I could play the piano for a living." Oh? That's really sweet, and I appreciate the compliment, but are you really disciplined and self-motivated and possibly slightly masochistic? Then no, you don't wish you played the piano for a living. A friend and fellow pianist recently wrote about feeling the same kind of annoyance, and his annoyance stems from the fact that he's called talented because he's a musician, but what about all the talented teachers, business owners, etc? So that's true too.

Anyway, back to monkey mind. I think the energy that makes me want to pursue an artistic career is the same energy that is hard to harness and leash to a piano, or a notebook, or whatever. Without it, it might be easier to sit myself down and work, but I wouldn't be an explorer. I wouldn't have googled "best break-up albums" when I was supposed to be working on "Piece of My Heart", so I wouldn't have discovered a blog that wrote about my new favorite song that no one's heard of, Adam Schmitt's "Thanks for Showing". I probably wouldn't be sitting here, looking out the Starbucks window at 9th avenue during a one-hour break between accompanying for voice classes. I would likely be sitting in an office somewhere, counting the hours until 5 p.m., the days til the weekend, the weeks til my next vacation (wow, paid time off. That was nice.). And, since we're assuming this is a version of me with out Monkey Mind, I might be very happy in such a situation. But I don't come in a Sans Monkey Mind model, so here I am, fighting the good fight and mostly enjoying it very much (despite how cranky I sound much of the time).

Speaking of discipline and being self-employed and such, yesterday's song was "Takin' Care of Business". By BTO. Yes. Not the Stones. I figured it would behoove me to learn this song. Also, I didn't sleep well and was slightly, as the British have it, hangovered. So I decided I needed an up-tempo to help me stay awake, the more groovin', the better. This song is the perfect strut tempo for me, as I discovered by walking to the train in my favorite shoes, plowing strollers and small dogs out of the way. Not really. But I was in a really good mood by the time I reached the train. Also, only 3 chords, over and over. I confirmed this with my fake book. Yes. Why don't I trust my ear? I can trust my ear. Not sure why I don't trust my ear.

I pretty much spent an hour with my ipod on full blast, playing the song over and over. I'm sure it sounded really strange to anyone listening to me practice, because sometimes I would echo what I had just heard in the recording, or go back and forth between playing the melody, or just a bass line, or comping. This song kinda goes on and on and is pretty repetitive, so I want to go back and look at the lyrics and also figure out exactly where the stop-time section happens, but I was having too much fun yesterday to do anything brainy like that.

And I'm outta time!

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