benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

Month: November, 2015

CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU

The entire cast of the Jersey Boys national travelling tour spent thanksgiving with us this year.

 

And as most show people will do around a piano, even on their off day, asked if they could sing a couple of songs.

 

“Sure”, I replied, “But only if the music director plays.”

 

After a few carols and musical standards, there were hugs all around, good byes and well wishes.

 

As an only child, sharing sometimes comes with great difficulty for me.

 

The instances where I don’t take my eyes off of being generous, however, always let me feel like I feel, know that it’s real, and are just good to be true.

 

 

 

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SPOT

In a challenging new lifting program, I squat relatively heavy everyday as a warm up.

Which means that on the days where I am by myself, without my trainer, I have to ask complete strangers to spot me.
I can get under the bar and do the repetitions, but it’s hard for me to get back into the rack.
When someone familiar is helping, it’s a simple exercise.
When it’s a new guy, I have to implicitly trust that they will pay attention and be ready to steady me when I falter.
I like making friends and meeting new people.
But it’s always really nice to go back into the arms of one who has always been faithfully watching out for me.

 

PORTE OUVERTE

A guest asks to play an anniversary song for his table companions.

 

I concede, but only because I’m at the end of my set. And sometimes, it’s just futile explaining to the militantly myopic why they can’t it have their way. I extend the man professional courtesy.

 

What happens next is the blatant high-jacking of my 15 minute break into a rip roaring piano bar performance like it’s one dollar beer night, replete with the mandatory Sweet Caroline and Pianoman.

 

Much to the chagrin of the entire restaurant, patrons and staff alike, he won’t stop. Even when told to do so.

 

For this very reason, I don’t normally have an open door policy. It’s an open call for disaster and damage.

 

But like the strangers in Paris opening up their homes to sanctuary safe space for their fellow man, I felt compelled to have a little hope myself.

 

I read today that a pianist set up outside the Bataclan and played Imagine for a grieving crowd.

 

So I will keep imagining that a gracious act of sharing my bench will return not in rampage but perhaps, a heartfelt exchange.

 

I know that if I close my doors out of fear, then bitterness and brutality win.

 

ROUTINE

On Sundays, I wake up, get dressed for work, have my breakfast, reflect on the week, then write this blog to try to make sense of my life’s purpose, place and plan.

Today, I couldn’t think of a single thing that was significant.

I’ve been cranky and depressed over doing the same old thing every night at work. Even learning new material hasn’t really been that inspiring, and normally that gets me recharged.

By the afternoon, I still hadn’t thought of anything to write about when I started complaining to an old friend that I was feeling the pointlessness of everything – even though I have everything for which I should be thankful.

And he responded, “You’re created a platform and opportunity for other musicians to work.”

I guess consistency has its merits after all.

THE HAUNTING OF BROADWAY

At this annual event, a set of scary showtunes is sung to guests who attend a Halloween dinner.

Amongst the other entertainment features between courses, are ghost hunters, magic shows, acrobatic clowns, strolling violinists and mystic séances.

So naturally, what terrified me the most was that my singers and I would be the least favorite act of the evening.

I worried that compared to the other performers, we would be the most boring.

Actually, I spent this whole month worrying myself sick about how we would be received.

Even though I knew logically, that part of the night was completely out of my hands and control. Also, that this wasn’t an actual competition and there was no need to turn it into one.

My gratitude this Sunday morning is immense.

I am blessed for being given the opportunity, the right and wonderful singers, the intuition for an appropriate repertoire, and, the gift of being heard.

We were told that we were by far the most popular act.

If the spirit is right, and when the spirit is willing, the only haunting thing that should get exorcised is self-doubt.