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Tip #1 – Closed Minds NEVER Grow!
There once was a young boy who hailed from a dirt poor family… he would spend his days and nights dreaming of being wealthy, living in a huge mansion on a hilltop, and never having to fret about money, food, clean water, etc. again. As the boy grew into adolescence, he learned of the wealthiest man in the land, and how this man had taught others to find their own power and to open businesses and flourish financially.
One day, he and his friend who was equally poor decided to muster up the courage to ask the wealthy man for help, and to teach them how to become business minded so they too could flourish. Upon introducing themselves, the wealthy man knew why they had come. He looked the two young boys in the eye, and said – I have helped many that have come before you, but the ones I cannot help are the ones who will not open their minds and listen, as what I will teach you will defy your current beliefs of what is true. Then he asked each boy, do you agree to listen with open minds and do as I say? Eagerly – each said… YES!
The first task the wealthy man gave them was to individually seek out a poor farmer, and offer their services for free for the day, then report back to him the next morning early. Doing exactly what they were told, each boy located a poor farmer and offered their services. The friend worked without question, and kept to himself, only doing what the farmer asked… the boy on the other hand, told the farmer why he was there, and that he was going to be a wealthy man. The farmer balked and said, “I’ve never seen anyone get wealthy – especially volunteering to help a poor farmer such as myself. That makes no sense!” The more the boy thought about the task and what the farmer said, the more he became angry…
The next morning, both boys arrive back at the wealthy man’s mansion… after asking the boys, how was your first lesson, the now angry boy burst out and said, “this is ridiculous, we’ll never get wealthy helping poor farmers, and I don’t see the point in this!” Calmly, the wealthy man turned to the friend and said, how about you? The friend said, “I did as I was told, and will continue to do so!”
Becoming increasingly angry, the boy now storms out believing this was pointless, a waste of time, and he remained poor. But as his friend listened and did as requested, he learned how to be a generous business man and grew wealthy.
Trumpet playing is much like this. As young students we are taught things by lesson teachers, band directors, etc. and hold them to be true. Many struggle because there are a great number of holes in the “common sense” approach we’re taught. And once we seek out and find a teacher that defies those “common sense” ways, some balk and doubt the advice that is given… and because they remain closed minded to the new information, they often stay stuck.
If you want to learn something, seek with an open mind! Asking a ditch digger how to become wealthy is probably not going to yield the results you’re after…
Tip #2 – It’s NEVER Too Late To Start Your Journey!
At one of the lower points during my time on Maynard’s band, I asked him if I was too old to start this journey. He looked at me and said, “You’re never too old to chase your dream, if that’s what this is!” I was 34 when I joined the band… one of the oldest sidemen at the time. Many people that joined up with Maynard were in their 20’s, and I felt as though I was “too old” for this at times. Hearing these significantly younger players just BURN – the piano player on the band my first 4 months was 18 years old at the time!
But what I learned from Boss was that what is REALLY needed is the true inner passion for playing. That deep desire that will still burn bright at the darkest moments of your journey! THAT’S the true secret to success and the ultimate definition of “talent!” Someone passionate about playing and learning to play better will grow much faster than someone relying on what came easy to them initially. Whether that be playing with a great sound at a young age, or being able to improvise a little at an early age without guidance or knowledge of what they’re doing.
Tip #2 is very simple… if this is what you really want, then stay on the path of learning! When things become extremely challenging, know that you’re on the right path!
When I was young I observed that nine out of ten things
I did were failures, so I did ten times more work.
George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950, Playwright
Have a GREAT week!