Monday, February 9, 2009


No, not me. Jeez...

Above is a note from jazz great THELONIOUS MONK to the musicians in his band. Talk about insight into a brilliant mind. I love all the advice on here, but notice what's first:

"Just cause you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time."

As I thought about this, I looked back on all the bands I've been in dating all the way back to high school. The good ones always had a great drummer, but the great bands I was a part of--the ones I hold fondest in my heart--were the ones where the communication between musicians was practically psychic. Where we always felt that if someone went somewhere odd, strange, or bizarre in the middle of a song or long jam that everyone would be able to follow along and enchance the risk that person was taking. The goal was to go along with them on a musical tangent--an act of spotaneous musical creation--without allowing the music to fall apart. Great bands to do all the time, most of the time without the audience never knowing.

Yes, it's all about listening.

But that got me to thinking about Monk's advice. Listening to each other or "keeping time" doesn't just apply to music. It applies to life, doesn't it? I mean, come on. Isn't this what a successful relationship of any sort is all about? A marriage. A business partnership. A friendship. Contributing to a successful one means listening to the other person, not just hearing them. That's why this very random note from the past jumped out at me so much.

Maybe we should all take a moment to start keeping time more effectively with each other. With those we care about. With our planet.

Who knows what they might be trying to tell us?

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