Music is life
This will be a short post, as it has been a busy weekend, and I haven’t had many deep thoughts. Today I write about music.
This weekend is the annual Barbados Jazz Excursion, organized by one of the most talented musicians I have had the pleasure of knowing. We both played in our school orchestra for a few years together, and even then, he was a prolific musician. I am so pleased to see him achieve his dream of becoming a professional recording artiste, making music and performing all over the world.
The lineup for the weekend was fantastic as usual – and last night we had the privilege of hearing Norman Brown bring his guitar to life. He showed how consistent practice and study of the greats of his time allowed him to develop his own style and sound, and led him to great accolades and awards, and in all honesty – he just sounded amazing. And of course Elan did not disappoint as he performed with the excellent group of musicians which included Brian Simpson tickling the ivories.
But for me the sweetest surprise of the weekend was Jeanette Harris. She is a young and extremely talented saxophonist, and I will say that I have NEVER before seen or heard a woman play the sax like that. I was blown away by her talent as a musician, songwriter and performer, and I immediately purchased her album for myself and for a friend of mine, who also plays the sax.
In addition, let us not forget the group of young pre-teen musicians that are part of the music program that he has set up on the island, to teach children instruments from a young age. They opened the night with a great rendition of a gospel song, and it was great seeing them playing confidently on the stage. One of the things I miss the most about being younger is the fearlessness of youth. At that age, I accepted mistakes knowing that they were a part of the process, while now the fear of making mistakes can hold me back from many things.
While I listened to the musicians, I was reminded of a recent podcast that I was listening to that posed the question – what makes a great musician “great” – is it raw talent, or hours of practice? Based on the report of the studies – deliberate practice while striving to improve is almost certainly the overwhelming factor, not disregarding talent, but simply that without practice, a talented person will never be as good. I have known Elan from our teen years until now, and I know that he has coupled his talent with relentless practice in the pursuit of producing fantastic music, and I am just pleased to see his hard work resulting in something that sounds beautiful, magical and effortless.
And listening to that podcast, as well as that CD from Jeanette gave me hope that as someone in her 40s, I can still develop skills and become great at them, if I am willing to put in the time and dedication. Perhaps I will even pick back up the flute.
I will keep you posted.
I send you big love from a small island.