How to Get Better at Anything?  Practice!

#133, April 26, 2017

 Read on for 
   *  a Tip for planning your wedding & party music, 
   *  details for our next Public Event. 
   *  and another quick Video. 

If you need wedding or party music right now
and tell me about the mood you're looking for.

But first, let me tell you a little story.

"Tom, would you like some coffee? "

I was chatting with a legend. 

Living history.

If I'm lucky, I'll have another one or  two more
opportunities like this i n my entire life.

Many evenings back in the late 1970's found
the two of us chatting in t he  back room  at 
Preservation Hall, in  New Orleans.  

Me and Kid Thomas Valentine.

We talked about making a living as a musician 
and  about managing a band.

I recall one night when his Algiers Stompers 
were   playing at the  Hall.

After their first set, the band took  a  break.  
I joined them in that back room, sipping on 
my   styrofoam cup of coffee.  Kid Thomas was 
enjoying a sandwich he brought from home.

Short, slim, and already in his eighties, 
Thomas still played his hot, bluesy, percussive 
trumpet just like he did in his twenties.  

This was the style young Louis Armstrong learned, 
before he popularized a more colorful style of 
playing that focused on bold harmonies and 
his rapid-fire solo technique.

Armstrong's newer style swept the jazz world, 
but Thomas clung to the old way he played so well.

It's the way of the world, you know:  Everywhere 
you look, fads become  trends, which become 
standards that spawn new fads. 
Change is everywhere.  How many of us do work 
today that didn't even exist a generation ago?

I knew this: Thomas was one of the earliest jazz 
pioneers in New Orleans.  And his old, rough style 
still thrilled fans worldwide, me included.  

Thomas was  one of the last men to play that 
old style,  and he  still had it!  

I wish I knew then what I understand now!  
What questions I'd ask Thomas!  

To hear stories  that now I'll never hear.

Instead I started this evening's conversation with, 
"Tom, how did you begin playing in a band?"

How lame!  But that was the best I could do.  
How would YOU talk with a god?

Here's what he told me (in my own words, 
not his,  of course).

" Well, I got together with a few kids.  We barely 
knew how to play, and we knew only one song.  
So we practiced.  And practiced.  We played that 
song over and over.  We played it fast.  We played 
it slow.  We played it loud.  We played it soft.  
We practiced it so much we'd never forget it."

Curious, I asked, "Tom, what  was that song
you practiced so much?"

And he replied:   "WHAT?  THAT WAS SO LONG AGO, 

Hmmmm, I said to myself, a good sense of humor.  
I don't know how much of the story is true, but 
it contains an important lesson.

So here's that Tip I promised you: 
Whatever we practice, THAT'S  what we'll get better at.

Why am I talking about PRACTICING?

Simple.  Whatever you want to get better at,
THAT's what you need to practice.

This lesson has helped me through the years 
and I rely on it every day.  To enhance some 
of my good habits and to stop reinforcing my 
bad habits.

You do it too, I'll bet, whether you realize it 
or not.  So we all need to be thoughtful about 
what we work on and how we do it.

It's not brain surgery. I'm sure we all know this.
It's just that shortcuts are tempting, so errors 
always lurk around the corner.

Keeping that always in mind, I'm playing music 
nearly every day.  Helping people celebrate and 
always practicing.  Practicing.

Mostly at private events like weddings and parties.
And occasionally at public festivities somewhere 
in the San Francisco Bay Area.

And now that we're talking about 
wedding & party music...
Mothers Day and Fathers Day are just ahead, 
and you might be involved with planning an 
exciting holiday celebration.

And if you or a friend are engaged to get 
married, you might also be involved with 
planning the wedding.

Perhaps both. 

So the next time you or a friend 
are  looking 
upbeat, elegant music
played the way you want, 
think of us.

Where can you preview us?  Here  (see details below,
and call 408-245-9120 about last-minute additions.)

Friday, May 12, 6:30-8:00pm
" Women at the Center Honors Patron Cocktail Party,
San Francisco Junior League major fundraising event,
Ritz Carlton Hotel,  600 Stockton, at California , San Francisco
Prepaid Reservation Required.   RSVP

Caterer? Wedding or Event Planner? Bride? Groom? 
Enjoy the festive mood we'll create.  You'll  hear the
popular standards, jazz classics, and Latin favorites. 
Please stop by and say Hi.

So whenever the time is right for you, please  
and tell me about the mood you're looking for.

Back in 2012 I spoke about practicing a daily routine. 

Let's chat soon.  


Robbie Schlosser | Magnolia Jazz Band
"Elegant, Upbeat Music for Weddings and Parties"  

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