benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

EARLY BIRDS

I awoke one morning to 8 texts from my boss, demanding to know why a bass player had showed up at 10 in the morning, instead of 10 at night, when the trio always starts.

 

I texted back, “Some people are so excited to work for you, they show up twelve hours early.” Followed by a heart emoji.

 

Nothing more was mentioned of the incident.

 

Later that night, the bass player, a freshman in college and his first time on this particular gig, apologized and said he was sorry if he had made me look bad in front of management, like I didn’t have my shit together.

 

I told him I had his back, had already taken care of it, and showed him the text.

 

His eyes widened.

 

“Wow,” he said, “That’s a valuable life lesson. Always see the positive side in every situation.”

 

 

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BEST LAID PLANS

I’m 4 weeks out to a wedding that I booked last year. 

And I’m stressed out. 

I don’t know where the ceremony is, or what music I’m playing, or what time I’m supposed to show up with the violinist I hired, or if there is even a piano at that venue! 

I’m also playing for the reception afterwards with a piano quartet, and I need to tell my drummer, bass and saxophone players what their timeline is for the evening.

Finally, I was put in touch with the wedding planner. 

Who didn’t have all the answers. 

But said that she would meet with the clients and get that information next week when they came back from vacation. 

And I felt immediately better. 

Not because there was a plan.

But because there was communication. 

COOL

When my coach said that she would be going out of town for a week on business, I didn’t panic.

 

I stayed cool because I knew that I had been trained well, and conditioned even better, to accomplish the program goals that we had been working on together for the past 6 months.

 

However, when the bride for a wedding this weekend told me on Monday that she had decided to move her ceremony from the shaded gazebo to the outdoor garden at the park venue, I became agitated.

 

At 2pm on a Saturday in July, a typical Michigan afternoon is close to 100 degrees.

 

I was not looking forward to loading my gear in and out, then getting into a three piece suit, and playing in this heat.

 

I just checked the weather report.

 

It’s going to be a cool 79 degrees tomorrow’s wedding.

 

I should have stayed cool all along, knowing that I will always be provided the means to sparkle at my brightest.

 

 

HARD AND SOFT

A very drunk woman said the nicest thing.

 

“His body is so hard but his touch on the piano is so soft.”

 

And just like that, I found the way back to myself, realizing that I can be many things at one time.

 

I can be assertive, but act kindly.

 

I can be independent, but express vulnerability.

 

I can be intuitive, but think rationally.

 

I can be courageous, but be humble.

 

I can be grateful, but have pride.

 

I can be loud, but always listen, quietly.

 

AIN’T MISBEHAVING

When he asked if I knew any Fats Waller, I responded with Ain’t Misbehaving in a slow sexy swing, the way I imagined a burlesque dancer would sing the tune.

“Oh, that’s different … but I guess I’m kinda ok with it,” was his critical reaction.

I just shrugged and finished playing.

I ain’t misbehaving, or sassing back.

I’m just saving all my love for more important things.

SPEAK LOW

When she got off the elevator, she went straight to the bathroom.

What I found out later is that she went to the bathroom to cry.

Which made it look like I had said something completely awful to her.

Truthfully, I could have said it in a much nicer way; to not lean over the piano lid In the nook of the instrument when I’m working.

But instead, I said, “Don’t stand there because you are neither a bass player nor a singer.”

Lesson learnt.

And I apologize in advance for this and any other unkind words I might say for the remainder of competition prep.

BITING THE BULLET

Read the rest of this entry »

REMEMBER ME

I felt bad when she asked if I remembered her.

 

But when she said that we had met 4 years ago and she had never been back until now, I grew irritated.

 

It is completely presumptuous, I thought, to expect me to remember everyone I meet.

 

Especially, when in my mind, this particular lady was in no way outstanding, in looks, in song request or generosity to my tip jar.

 

I kept my feelings to myself, and told her that it was a pleasure to run into her again.

 

And then counted the amazing number of ways in which I am remembered.

TIME AFTER TIME

A former server decided to return to the restaurant to get married.

She choose recordings for her ceremony music, but asked me to arrive an hour earlier than normal, so that she could have dinner music for her small reception.

She also asked that I play her first dance song.

So imagine my immense irritation when I arrived at work to find out that without informing me, she had decided to have her reception at another venue.

And equally obnoxious to our current staff, she started her ceremony very, very, late.

I congratulated her and her new husband, and wished them well.

Then went on to greet, and play for, the 8 very appreciate regulars, who showed up on time for their reservations and my scheduled set times.

RATCHET AND TRIFFLING

I finally sat down and learnt Come Rain Or Come Shine and The Man That Got Away, two Harold Arlen tunes that I have always loved but didn’t have either the technical understanding or the musical focus to access until recently.

I also successfully completed, with ease, a German Volume Training sequence of 10 sets of 10 reps of squats at 135lbs, that I failed at, miserably, a few months ago.

So when a nice guy asked me out on a date one night, I was optimistic that it would go a lot better than the awkward string of men I had been meeting lately.

We arrived at the bar at the same time and were both dumbfounded that it was closed, without reason or explanation.

At this point, another much better looking patron showed up, and wondered out loud where he was supposed to go now.

So I suggested another bar, and we all regrouped there.

When the first guy went to the bathroom, I slid my phone over to the second guy and asked for his number, which he programmed into my phone immediately, agreeing that we should, most definitely, meet again.

Then when he returned from the bathroom, I told the first guy that I was tired. He offered to walk me to my car, where we said our goodbyes.

Except that when he drove off, I got out of my car, went back into the bar, and proceeded to spend the rest of the night making out with the second guy, a flight attendant on layover in Detroit.

I may be finally learning the repertoire that once eluded me, and lifting harder than I have before, but some things just haven’t changed all that much.