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Live your life like a Jazz Musician

Thought provoking words…but I believe words to live by. These were shared by Jason Moran, the 38 year old Jazz piano wizard that heads up the Jazz program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He was addressing a group of music makers and music and arts advocates as we readied to storm Capitol Hill the following day in support of funding for school music programs. He began by giving us a brief story of his childhood, how he began to play the piano at age 6, and studied it without enthusiasm until he was 13, and how his life changed forever that day upon hearing a track by Thelonious Monk. Jazz music is all about Improvisation, but it is NOT about lack of preparation. Moran has spent a lifetime of intense study at the piano. Yet, even with all of that preparation, a true jazz musician needs to accept the notion that you can’t always know what is coming next. Once the song begins, where the journey takes you, and where it ends, can’t be known. We had spent two days of intense preparation for our meetings, refining our message, and preparing our delivery. We were ready, we thought, but Moran advised us, “when you enter the offices of your Members of Congress, you don’t know how you will be received, or how the meeting will end up, but may you embrace the task as if you were a Jazz Musician.” The meetings the next day were tremendous, and the mission so important, but a part of me entered every meeting with Jason Moran’s words resonating in my head. I knew I was ready to improvise. *photo above - Left to Right   Bernie Williams (Yankee Center Fielder), Secretary Dick Riley (former Secretary of Education to President Clinton), Stuart Chapman (Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy), Brian Reardon (Owner, Monster Music), Joe Lamond (President of NAMM)

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