The shocking proof that your jazz ability is all in the mind
Here’s a little story about an intriguing conversation I had today with a fellow musician, that I hadn’t met up with in years.
Today I went with my son to a local music shop to inquire about piano lessons for him. (It’s quite hard finding a good piano teacher as it turns out.)
I got a nice surprise to see Kayla, a jazz violinist that I’d done a number of gigs with years ago, but haven’t heard from much since then.
“Kayla! So nice to see you again. How’s your music going?”
“Nice to see you Greg. Yes, the music’s going well, I’ve been doing a lot of symphony orchestra gigs lately, and other bits and pieces.”
“Nice one!” I replied. “And how’s your jazz playing coming along?”
Momentarily, I noticed her eyes turn down to the floor before she responded.
“Well…I actually stopped playing jazz a few years ago,” she replied. “Hehe…it came to a point where I had to stop pretending that I could play that kind of music.”
I departed the music store, reflecting on that strange comment.
You see, we both got into jazz roughly around the same time, and from similar backgrounds, i.e. transitioning from classical music.
And it made me wonder…
Why did Kayla ditch jazz entirely, while in the same space of time I was able to build one of the largest jazz guitar education websites in the world?
It didn’t make sense. I was impressed with her playing those years back, and I remember thinking how far she was going to go with jazz.
The clue to this puzzle is when she said: “It came to a point where I had to stop pretending that I could play that kind of music.”
This indicates that, deep down, she had a fixed idea about the kind of music she could play. She believed she didn’t have any ability as a jazz player.
But it wasn’t true. She was a rising talent in jazz, with a promising career ahead of her.
The moral of the story:
Regardless of what technical obstacles you might face on the instrument, how much practice time you’re able to get on the guitar, or what kind of connections you have to other musicians or lack thereof….
There is one thing, above all else, that will make or break you as a jazz player.
What you believe about yourself.
This is by far the most important thing you need to make sure is sorted out.
There was only one thing I did differently to Kayla:
I believed in my ability to learn, and my ability to progress (whereas Kayla didn’t).
I got results, and nowadays I’m enjoying playing jazz every time I pick the guitar up.