Leaving Music?



Thoughts from my journal have been a constant throughout this blog's history. I continue to urge you to have a journal of your own and use it whenever you hear or see something that inspires you. Or use your journal to plan your life, business, or vacation If you don't have your journal with you write down the idea on a napkin or put it on your smartphone. With our busy schedules you may remember the quote or idea for a while, but unless you write it down it is not permanent.




Reed players are entirely dependent on a short-lived
vegetable material of merciless capriciousness,
with which, when it behaves, are wrought
the most tender and expressive sounds.
......Anthony Baines


I was happily watching the Bermuda Philharmonic Orchestra
when the guy on the Triangle disappeared.
......Tom Nagano


You have two ears
and one mouth


We cannot live only for ourselves,
A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men
......Herman Melville


It is not that people don't like classical music,
It's that they don't have a chance to understand
it and to experience it.
.......Gustav Dudamel


Listening to classical music is like reading
Philosophy books. Not everyone needs to do it.
......Krzysztof Penderecki


Classical music is for listening,
but Rock and Roll is to have fun with.
......Dave Clark


Don't worry about being a Star,
worry about doing good work.
And the rest will come to you.


If a song was ever good,
it is still good.
.....Willie Nelson


If you really want to get along with somebody,
let them be themselves.
......Willie Nelson


To live is to suffer.
To survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
......Fredrich Nietzsche


You can read all the textbooks
and listen to all the records,
but you have to play with musicians
that are better than you.
......Stan Getz


When you get your cue,
say your line.
......John Koenig
.......The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows


Other articles in this series, such as the one below can be found at

Leaving Music?

We all leave music at some point. It may be the grim reaper has come to take us or an accident may take our abilities away. It could be a 4th grader that finds out that it is actually time-consuming and not a team sport. That there is actually practicing or perhaps a better word would be study involved. Or computer games are more fun.

Let me start with the professional musician and move backward. I know many professional musicians that when their age is at let's say 65 years old, or as the business changes, they put the instrument down and retire. They may find another career, or if they have saved their money and invested wisely might just have a couple of homes in beautiful places, and or, travel the world until they must go into assisted living. Let's face it the body does finally fail us all. It was just a way to make a living and they walk away content to move on in life.

Then there are those people like me who play for a living as long as we can and then continue to play until our body fails us. For me, music is my religion. For others, it is one of their religions. At any rate, it is something we must continue to do. I am 75 at the time of this writing and fight certain frailties as I age but I don't quit. I hope to finish a jazz album and a classical album by the end of the year, and I am three-quarters through writing a book about music and life. I also continue to write these blogs but have a tougher time finding new ideas to discuss. So if you know of something that I have missed of importance please tell me.

Then there are music teachers, the angels in our lives, that get to the point of whether to continue teaching or not. Or they may be told by their contract or the schools they work for tell them it is time to retire. They too may be leaving because they must, or it is their choice to enjoy the “golden years.” We all know there are many jokes about the golden years.

Many musicians in high-stress jobs, like playing a principal chair in a great symphony orchestra. just can't take the heat of preparing new music constantly and visiting the war horse pieces the audience loves so much. They too know when it is time. Their relationship with music may continue or they may just decide to relax. We all know the commitment to the art and craft of music is a long arduous journey. And there are always the young players that keep getting better every generation knocking on every door.

There are well-trained musicians in colleges and conservatories who realize that the commitment is not what they really want to continue. Many times, these people who have come so far will find a music-related field, and there are many, that they are more comfortable with. Some will give up music altogether and only keep an appreciation of the arts. That is important too. Others will find another specialty that they either enjoy or that pays an immense amount of money.

Younger students may find out it is just not what they had envisioned or are interested in doing. Then there are the very young students that are doing it because their parents thought it would keep them off the streets along with karate, etc. Or perhaps they just wanted to introduce them to music and the arts. Then there is the brave young person that just thinks they might enjoy playing music and then after a while just decides it's not for them.

Then there is the big decider. The business changes.

No matter what genre we have decided to pursue the business will change. Usually, in classical music, it changes the slowest, but it still changes. Pop music is the most volatile as every generation has its own music that was developed in a garage somewhere and becomes the accompaniment for the story of their life.

For whatever reason, we leave music and whenever we leave music, it is my hope that our time will be remembered fondly. I have a physical trainer who said he played the flute for 6 years when he was young. He said it as if it was a great experience. He smiled when he said it. That is what I hope for all of us. A smile and a love of music.

Always be happy with where you are at, while you are trying to get to where you want to be.